Future Scenarios Envisioned by RICOH360 Vol. 2: Imagining a New “Predestined Relationship” that Connects Producers and Consumers
This series features future scenarios envisioned by RICOH360.
It features how technology that records and analyzes the entire 360 degrees range can contribute to society and the lives of people, and what kind of world will be achieved as a result of this technology.
This scenario was created during a workshop by next generation leaders who will examine the value of RICOH360 and its ideal situation.
This article is illustrated with actual workshop materials.
Recently, many people grow crops on shared farmland on the weekend while working in the city, create vegetable gardens on their balcony, and participate as a family in a hands-on experience in food education. Some people also have parents and siblings who work as farmers in the home where they grew up. Farming might be a surprisingly familiar topic for people working in cities, not a distance one.
We imagined a future five years from now and the challenges concerning farming.
What Are the Challenges Concerning Farming?
Population aging and declining industrial population are major challenges in the workplace of primary industries, such as farming, forestry, and fishing. The average age is 67. The reality is that 60% of people in these industries are over 60 years old. There are statistics that show that the population involved in primary industries has unfortunately declined by more than a third over the previous 20 years. The lack of human resources and people to take over the running of the business in farming has become a serious problem. “Efficiency” is required to increase productivity with fewer resources.
And what about in local government? Abandoned farmland increases to 1.4 times the area within the JR Yamanote Line per year in some years, and it is said that its total area is 5.7 times that of Lake Biwa. At the same time, tax revenue has diminished due to the population decline. People have moved to the city, and many local government bodies are left with the challenge of revitalizing farming despite their efforts in projects to renew towns through tourist attractions to compensate for the decline in people living there.
Finally, there is the challenge of us consumers. There are many things that we do not know about nature, farming, and the food we put in our mouths. There are also not enough education and hands-on experience opportunities to obtain this kind of knowledge. It is necessary to overcome various problems such as distance, time, and cost even before we search on our own for and participate in such things as activities in nature and hands-on farming experience.
Let’s Try to Change Our Thinking, Think about What We Can Do, and Imagine about the Future
What can we do to solve these challenges? Diverge our thinking. We want to imagine what can solve more essential social challenges. We tried to think about this. What are the real challenges in farming? We formed a single hypothesis.
“If consumers could learn more about producers, crops, and livestock products, it might lead to revitalizing farming.”
For example, when a consumer buys meat from the supermarket, recently there has been a gradual increase in stores that display information about where the meat was produced, the producer, and how the animal was reared. However, there are still many people who do not pay attention to these when purchasing products. They do not know where the food they and their precious family members eat comes from, who produces it, and how it is made. This situation may be more critical than you think.
Meanwhile, there are cases where producers are not in a position to be able to deliver sufficient information to consumers. If we could share information from producers using Ricoh technology, and bring producers and consumers closer together, we thought that this might lead to a solution for the challenges associated with farming.
360 Degrees + 5-en ("Go-en" or predestined relationship) = Service Connecting Producers and Consumers 365 Days a Year
If we use the 360-degree camera RICOH THETA, a RICOH360 device, and a service that makes use of the data shot with THETA, it will be possible to connect producers and consumers 365 days a year in 360 degrees.
For example, farmland and grazing land has certain natural land features and climate, and of course there are all four seasons, as well as both sunny and rainy days. Cattle are being raised in such an environment. Meaning, this is where cattle is born and lives its entire life, and events occur in its life on the land. At the end, these animals are processed to create livestock products and delivered to the consumer. With RICOH360, using video shot using the 360-degree camera THETA enables us to capture the reality of the farm from multiple and ongoing perspectives. Allowing people to view 360-degree video of the life events of producers and their livestock products 365 days a year will create an ongoing relationship between producers and consumers, and this is truly a “predestined relationship.”
We are also given the opportunity to study about the importance of nature and life at outdoor schools and during lessons involving hands-on experience at farms conducted during our childhood. However, even though we learn a great deal during these lessons, they usually end as a one-time event with no further opportunity to learn more. Through the use of 360-degree video with RICOH360 we can create a long-term connection between producers and consumers.
How to Connect in 360 Degrees (an example)
So how do we connect in 360 degrees? This is an example and we thought about how to achieve it using a 360-degree live streaming platform.
Consumers can view the channel as food education content whenever they like. It’s a wonderful idea to have such things as functions to chat and donate money to be able to provide financial support to the producers directly, and a direct sales store function so we can buy directly from the producer as a system to connect producers with consumers and build a relationship that will generate communication. You can also support producers by joining the hometown tax payment scheme.
Meanwhile, producers can also use this service as a “360-degree remote checking system” to remotely monitor livestock and the growth of crops inside green houses so this can be of some help to work efficiency.
A World Connected by 360 Degrees
Consumers will increase their knowledge and experience with food, and this will increase their perspective on food education. We are happy if we can create a place for people to notice aspects of animal welfare, food waste, and the fact that it is normal for vegetables to be misshapen and not have the perfect shape. It might even be possible for us to purchase meat from cattle that we have watched as it has grown large through 360-degree video streaming. Participating in local farming will probably develop how we look at foodstuff and our viewpoint about it, and change consumer behavior.
Not only can producers make improvements to their operation by such as solving the problem of labor shortage and making optimization using remote site management, but being able to directly sell their produce will lead to them growing unique crops that match their own farm and environment as they listen directly to opinions from customers.
As far as local governments are concerned, people who are interested in the local area due to RICOH360 initiatives may visit those places either during an actual trip or before moving to live there. Even if it doesn’t go this far, we can expect an increase in the number of people involved in buying foodstuff directly from the producer, and assisting and supporting the land.
Five years in the future from now that we imagined will have no barriers between producers and consumers and will use 360-degree video to create a future in which predestined relationships will continue to be formed.
We Will Continue to Imagine
This time we formed a hypothesis that there exists a challenge in the “relationship between producers and consumers.” This is not the only example. The real challenge for consumers might be the cost. The real challenge for producers might be productivity. We will continue to repeatedly hypothesize and verify into the future, and continue to search for a future made better by our products and services.
Author: Tommy (pen name)
This article featured ideas discussed in a forward looking manner and asked the question “How can RICOH360 contribute to society?”
We will continue to develop RICOH360 as a brand that contributes to society and the future.
Changing Industrial and Occupational Structure - Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Statistics on Agricultural Labor Force, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Number of workers by industry (primary to tertiary industries) 1951-2021
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Trends in abandoned farmland and promotion of farmland use accumulation to bearers