NTT project uses metaverse to tackle issues facing remote island residents

Models generated by NTT’s 3D point cloud data

Japanese telecommunications provider NTT has launched a project using the metaverse to help expand the community size attached to remote islands in southern parts of the country that have seen a declining population.

The “TENGUN Ogijima Project” targets Ogijima Island in Takamatsu City, located in the Seto Inland Sea, and will use the metaverse to solve issues faced by the region, especially the remote islands.

NTT and its local branch in West Kagawa will be collaborating with the NPO Ogijima Life Institute and Kenohi in the project.

With the nation’s declining birthrate, aging population and urbanization, the companies said people living on remote islands are in need of information and telecommunication technology to deal with logistics, nursing care and education. Back in 2019, NTT Group launched the IOWN concept, a network and information processing infrastructure concept that can provide high-speed, large-capacity communications and vast computing resources. NTT West also established the “Regional Creation Co-Design Institute” to support local revitalization initiatives by local governments, companies and other organizations. In 30 prefectures in western Japan, NTT West is working with local partners to bring about solutions to local issues. In Kagawa Prefecture, NTT West is working to create new businesses using  information and telecommunication technology to help maintain the survival of Ogijima and other remote island communities.

Ogijima has a population of about 160, of which about 60 per cent are elderly people. There are growing expectations that its community development should lean towards creating a “related population” – people from outside areas who have attachment to and interest in the island and are involved in various aspects of the community.

The TENGUN Ogijima project will use 3D point cloud data and other technology to recreate Ogijima in a highly immersive cyber space. It aims to promote exchange between Ogijima residents and people from other parts of the country by experiencing Ogijima’s nature in the metaverse.

At the “NTT R&D FORUM – Road to IOWN 2022” to be held online from November 16 to 18, NTT is showing a model of the “Ogijima Metaverse” reconstructed with 3D spatial media processing technology. Afterwards, it will also discuss with local officials to study how best to use the space.