Overview Today, the information and communication technology (ICT) industry is witnessing increasingly intensifying competition. A company in the industry therefore must consider the customer°«s point of view at all times and steer a course through a red ocean market—highly competitive and with defined limits—by making full use of its core strengths. We asked Tetsuya Funabashi, NTT Communications Senior Executive Vice President, about the mindset and strategy that the company must adopt to navigate these rough waters.
Feature Articles: New Developments in Communication Science
Abstract Basic research gives rise to innovation through new discoveries and inventions, and this can lead to changes in the structure of industry and our lifestyles. However, it is also true that such success stories are rare, and basic research carries a high degree of risk. This article analyzes the historical evolution of technologies born from the activities of NTT Communication Science Laboratories and clarifies the future strategy for the promotion of basic research and some issues that should be addressed based on previous cases.
Abstract Successful retrieval of multimedia such as images or videos often involves utilizing their textual metadata. However, adding such metadata information to all multimedia of interest is far beyond our capability. We are therefore pursuing an effective and efficient content-based search methodology based solely on the multimedia content itself. Our research group has been actively advancing multimedia identification technologies for more than 15 years, and our latest search method makes it possible to search for and find specific objects in many kinds of movies. A specific object, person, or place, is called an instance, and the retrieval of an object is called an instance search. In this article, we overview our instance search methodology.
Abstract Speech signals recorded with a distant microphone inevitably contain reverberation, which degrades speech intelligibility and automatic speech recognition performance. Even though reverberation is considered harmful for speech-oriented communication, it is essential for the music listening experience. For instance, when an orchestra plays music in a concert hall, the generated sound is enriched by the hall°«s reverberation, and it reaches the audience as an enhanced and more beautiful sound. In this article, we introduce a novel reverberation control technology that can be used to enhance speech and music experiences. We also describe how it is utilized in actual markets and how we expect it to open up new vistas for audio signal processing.
Abstract We have been investigating a way to create a sensation of being pulled even when there is no actual physical pulling. We have found through our studies of the characteristics of human force perception that asymmetric oscillation can create this sensation. Prototype devices to achieve this have been developed, although some early prototypes were as bulky as the receiver of a conventional fixed-line phone and were therefore not suitable for mobile use. We have recently succeeded in creating a thumb-sized prototype device containing a linear actuator that can effectively provide a pulling sensation. We achieved this by focusing on the high tactile acuity of human fingers. This article introduces the innovative prototype and its possible applications.
Abstract Our research confirms that the human visual system recognizes a liquid and its viscosity on the basis of image motion and image deformation. This scientific understanding enables us to alter the impression of materials in movies and prints by manipulating several characteristics of image motion and image deformation.
Abstract Recent studies in cognitive science have repeatedly demonstrated that human behavior, decision making, and emotion depend heavily on the implicit mind, that is, automatic, involuntary mental processes that even the person herself/himself is not aware of. We have been developing diverse methods of decoding the implicit mind from involuntary body movements and physiological responses such as pupil dilation, eye movements, heart rate variability, and hormone secretion. If mind-reading technology can be made viable with cameras and wearable sensors, it would offer a wide range of usage possibilities in information and communication technology.
Abstract Quantum computers are novel computing devices that make effective use of quantum-mechanical phenomena, and they are expected to emerge within the next few decades. Extensive studies on them have revealed that they will be able to solve many problems significantly faster than current computers or their possible extensions. This article briefly outlines the theory and applications of quantum search to show the potential wide applicability of quantum computing.
Abstract We envision the future of sound sensing as large acoustic sensor networks present in wide spaces providing highly accurate noise cancellation and ultra-realistic environmental sound recording. To achieve this, we developed a real-time system capable of recording the audio signals of large microphone arrays by exploiting the parallel-data transmission feature offered by free-space optical communication technology based on light-emitting diodes and a high speed camera. Typical audio capturing technologies face limitations in complexity, bandwidth, and the cost of deployment when aiming for large scalability. In this article, we introduce a prototype that can be easily scaled up to 120 audio channels, which is the world°«s first and largest real-time optical-wireless sound acquisition system to date.
Abstract NTT FACILITIES has had a research and development (R&D) framework ever since it was established, and we have honed our fusion technology by crossing information and communication technology with energy technology and building technology. We give an overview in this article of our R&D activities and describe the opening of our new R&D base in July 2014. We also explain our objectives in relocating our R&D Headquarters and our efforts underway toward fusing the above technologies at our new base.
Abstract To address the problem of reducing the power consumption of information and communication technology (ICT) buildings, NTT FACILITIES has been developing strategic technology for power and air conditioning systems from the equipment level such as highly efficient rectifiers and air conditioners, to the system level such as high voltage direct current power supply systems and task ambient air conditioning systems. Here, we introduce our power supply technology, air conditioning technology, and integrated control technology for ICT equipment, power supplies, and air conditioning systems that have been developed as part of our efforts toward reducing power consumption.
Abstract Various energy-saving efforts are now being made throughout Japan not just to put a brake on global warming but also to stabilize the supply and demand of electric power and to reduce the escalating energy prices in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In particular, the construction and arrangement of smart communities is now being promoted as an effective energy-saving solution. A smart community must be able to perform integrated management of electric power and other energy sources including thermal energy and untapped energy for various types of consumer facilities such as homes and office buildings. This article introduces key issues surrounding the smart community and essential elemental technologies and presents a case study of an actual implementation.
Abstract Environmentally conscious efforts in corporate activities are a natural consequence of a society and government whose environmental awareness is growing. Such efforts are particularly important in the architecture and construction industries, whose activities and processes can have a major environmental impact. Ongoing efforts are being made to develop energy-saving designs for the diverse elements that make up buildings and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in business operations and manufacturing processes. This article introduces the environmentally conscious activities based on advanced cross-domain technologies developed by NTT FACILITIES, which is known for its expertise in architecture and power technologies from design to operation.
Abstract NTT FACILITIES has established three unique earthquake resistant techniques used for observations, experiments, and analyses in order to provide a reliable telecommunications infrastructure. We aim to realize a resilient society and are therefore working on developing new technology for earthquake disaster prevention by further advancing and linking these existing techniques. We introduce in this article an overview of these techniques and also describe the concept of structural health monitoring that has been a recent focus of development.
Abstract NTT FACILITIES has accumulated a massive amount of data through the longstanding implementation of planning, designing, construction, and maintenance management services for telecommunication power systems, air conditioning systems, and buildings. In recent years, we have been developing technologies for applying this data to establish faster and more efficient ways of responding to malfunctions, deterioration, and fault prediction of buildings and facilities. In this article, we describe how we intend to use this collection of data on buildings and facilities to strengthen our services.
Abstract This article describes a burst-mode receiver that is a key component of 10 Gigabit Ethernet passive optical network (10G-EPON) systems. In addition to coping with a burst signal, the receiver can operate at data rates of both 10.3125 and 1.25 Gbit/s to meet the need for coexistence of future 10G-EPON and existing Gigabit Ethernet PON (GE-PON) optical network units. The receiver sensitivities are -30.3 and -35.6 dBm at data rates of 10.3125 and 1.25 Gbit/s, respectively, when the receiver settling time is 400 ns. These results meet the 10G-EPON and GE-PON specifications with sufficient margins.
Abstract The technical issues that are important for the business development of smart home technology are being addressed through cooperation and solution-sharing with telecom companies around the world in international standardization activities. These activities include the sharing of technical requirements by telecom companies in the Home Gateway Initiative and the use of requirements documents for standardization in the ZigBee Alliance. This article reports the current states of these activities.
Abstract Line Spectrum Pair (LSP) technology was accepted as an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Milestone in 2014. LSP, invented by Dr. Fumitada Itakura at NTT in 1975, is an efficient method for representing speech spectra, namely, the shape of the vocal tract. A speech synthesis large-scale integration chip based on LSP was fabricated in 1980. Since the 1990s, LSP has been adopted in many speech coding standards as an essential component, and it is still used worldwide in almost all cellular phones and Internet protocol phones.
Abstract Open House 2014 was held at NTT Communication Science Laboratories in Keihanna Science City, Kyoto, on June 5 and 6. Over 1000 people visited the facility to enjoy 6 talks and 29 exhibits introducing our latest research activities and efforts in the fields of information and human sciences.
Papers Published in Technical Journals and Conference Proceedings