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Senior Executive Vice President CTO,
Representative Member of the Board
The 21st century world that we all live in today is facing major challenges on the way to achieving a low-carbon and sustainable environmentally-oriented society. The NTT Group views resolving issues like climate change as one of its key corporate activities in its goal of building a sustainable society and implements various initiatives in line with its "Your Valued Partner" management philosophy. The NTT Group is aiming to achieve sustainability based on technology with a key focus on the Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN).
Providing customers with reliable telecommunications services is the most important role for NTT Group to fulfill. As IoT becomes more widely used and the services that are essential to our daily lives diversify, the amount of traffic continues to grow, and we are approaching various limits in terms of data volume, latency, and power consumption. While the NTT Group initially aimed for commercialization of IOWN around 2030, a number of social issues have emerged, including the aforementioned rapid increase of network load, the global situation regarding carbon neutrality, the expansion of traffic due to a spike in remote usage spurred by COVID-19, and soaring oil prices. For these reasons, the NTT Group will move its 2030 target forward and start offering IOWN services during fiscal 2022. We are introducing these services to users who have a need for advanced services and planning to introduce services for specific applications and areas while achieving further advancements with technological demonstrations. We are already running a proof-of-concept for the "Urban DTCR" (DTC: Digital Twin Computing) initiative aimed at increasing comfort in cities using data on buildings, urban spaces and behavior of people, at the "Urbannet Nagoya Nexta Building" next-generation advanced office that opened in June 2022. After putting some technologies to practical use during fiscal 2022, we will also gradually be installing equipment in facilities of the NTT Group. We plan to showcase the results of our IOWN-related efforts at the 2025 World Exposition to be held in Osaka, Kansai.
In September 2021, we unveiled our new environment and energy vision, "NTT Green Innovation toward 2040" aimed at achieving zero environmental impact while continuing economic growth, by reducing the environmental impact of our business activities and creating breakthrough innovation. This vision was designed so that the NTT Group is able to achieve carbon neutrality in fiscal 2040 with IOWN, ten years before the 2050 goal for carbon neutrality set by the Japanese government.
Additional utilization of optical technology is important for implementing the IT infrastructure with both high performance and low power consumption that IOWN is aiming for. We will introduce optical technology, which can handle signals while using less power than electricity, not only for transmission, but also for processing. This will enable us to achieve advanced fusion of light and electricity (photoelectric merging technology), in which optical technology is applied in extremely close proximity to the parts where operations are performed. Incorporating this technology into semiconductors will fundamentally solve the aforementioned issues. Photoelectric merging technology is an area in which NTT excels, given the optical-related technologies it has amassed.
At present, Japanese companies possess significant technology and manufacturing capabilities in the semiconductor value chain. However, we have not yet achieved the kind of presence a global stakeholder should have. Our goal is for Japan to spearhead IOWN in collaboration with our global partners and become an indispensable global player in the semiconductor value chain. Established in the United States in 2020, the IOWN Global Forum has already attracted more than 100 members from Europe, the United States, and Asia. This forum is unique in that it is not limited to the IT and telecommunications industries, but also encompasses the automotive, plant, and financial industries, as well as academic institutions. We believe that we can work hand in hand with the members of the forum to create a value chain that utilizes IOWN in every industry.
Research and development at NTT involves approximately 2,300 researchers conducting a broad, diverse range of research, from basic research to R&D that underpins business development at operating companies, based on the principle of creating worldleading technologies and services and contributing to the development of society, industry, and academia. We are creating competitive technologies as part of the research and development that forms the source of growth for the NTT Group, and will go on to create new value through open innovation and collaboration with various companies, universities and research institutions. It is vital to view each and every employee as an independent researcher with a high level of market value. To facilitate this, we are supporting diversity-rich career formation, from basic research to technology management, in line with each individual's career plan. With even more rapid changes occurring today, we are regularly reviewing training programs to ensure they are up to date and optimized for nurturing researchers with a high level of market value.
Going forward, we will need excellent researchers in a wide range of fields such as encryption technology energy. To this end, we will aim to make NTT Group more attractive, not only in terms of compensation, but also in terms of prestige, the research environment, and many other aspects so that people wish to work here.