Future Scenarios Envisionedby RICOH360 Vol. 3: RICOH360 Platform for Retail That Connects the Real andVirtual


This series features future scenariosenvisioned by RICOH360.


It features how technology that records andanalyzes the entire 360 degrees range can contribute to society and the livesof people, and what kind of world will be achieved as a result of thistechnology.

This scenario was createdduring a workshop by next generation leaders who will examine the value ofRICOH360 and its ideal situation

Retail = Existence of a“Place” as a Community

There is little need to explain theevolution of retail with such as Japan’s first convenience store opened almosthalf a century ago, Rakuten Internet shopping started a quarter of a centuryago, and globally, the marketplace started by Amazon with the goal of becomingthe world’s top place to buy books.


There was once a time in Japan when therewere no convenience stores, mail order, and Internet shopping in its longhistory of people “buying things.” At this time, local shopping districts andstalls opened during festivals and other events supported the consumption needsof ordinary people. These districts and stalls did not just let people to “buy things,” they brought a kind ofcommunity-like relationship, and were a “place” for seasonal events such as NewYear’s Day, cherry blossom viewing, Gosekku (the five annual ceremonies)including Tanabata (the Star Festival), festivals to celebrate an abundantharvest, and to celebrate young people coming of age.

Asakusa, considered to be Japan’s oldestshopping district

As time passed, the community hub has movedonline due to the popularization of technology such as the Internet and SNS.The connection between people has become weak, even among relatives. Along withthis, many once bustling shopping districts have become run-down shoppingstreets all over Japan and several events such as simple local festivals haveunfortunately disappeared. However, in recent years, it seems there are severalregions and shopping districts that have shed their once obsolete status andrecovered their former vitality. In fact, they are rapidly attracting customersand seeing favorable sales more than ever before.

Community Development ThatMakes Use of Things and Events Seen in Kawagoe

Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, is acastle town centered on Hatsukari Castle (currently the area where the cityhall is located) in the northern part of the old town since before the Edoperiod, and it prospered as a commercial town. During the Showa period,stations were built for the Tobu, Seibu and former national railroads in thesouthern part of the city. This caused crowds to move to this area of the cityand the old commercial area fell into disuse. However, activities began in 1980to restore the old commercial area. Widely publicizing the attraction of“things” such as famous places, historical spots, and ancient temples includingKita-in Temple and Hikawa Shrine located in the old town area, and “events” inthe form of experiences obtained from intangible cultural assets such asKawagoe Festival, which prays for a good harvest, through the media and the useof the Internet and SNS as activities to attract customers for “communitydevelopment” for its major activity has awakened the feeling in people of“wanting to visit the area to see what is there and have a fun time,” and hasled to attracting customers far away, not just within the city. As a result,the entire area from the new commercial area to the old commercial area hassucceeded as a “town (community)” that prospers.

Graph showing the numberof tourists in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Source: Kawagoe City Hall website, chartcreated by referencing the chronological events of Kawagoe’s history (figuresbelow 10,000 are rounded down)

Regional Revitalization andXR

In recent years, the national and local governments and shopping districts have been cooperating with IT providers and similar entities, and initiatives for regional revitalization and “town development” using XR (Extended Reality)* have increased.
According to the “FY2021 Collection ofKnowledge for Shopping District Development Aimed at Regional SustainableDevelopment” (Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, METI), the followinginitiatives are being used with the aim of strengthening services for localresidents and providing measures for the reduction in tourists in Kyoto’sNishiki Market.

• EC site “Kyoto Kitchen” was establishedin June 2021 as a new product from an LLC.

• The “Nishiki VR Shopping District”service was also started using VR (Virtual Reality)* technology to promote salesby enabling people to simulate the experience of buying goods from shops.

• This service enables people to lookaround the shopping district in every direction and buy goods from the EC siteof participating shops in VR.

“RICOH360 Platform for Retail” concept drawing

The progress in XR technology hascontributed significantly to a situation of increased activity. However, theseinitiatives combine XR with real activities to aim at increasing the number ofvisitors to the area and the time these visitors spend there.


* VR means virtual reality. It is a systemthat provides a simulated experience to people such that the virtual spacecreated by a computer seems real. VR is an artificial environment experiencedthrough sensory stimulus (vision and sound) provided by a computer. The thingsthat happen in the environment can be determined in part by human action.(Source: Wikipedia)

* XR means extended reality or crossreality. A general term for technology that combines both the real world andvirtual world to enable people to perceive things that are not really there.(Source: Wikipedia)

Events That We Can Help With

Regional development is one of the majorchallenges in Japan where there is a low birthrate and aging and decliningpopulation. However, is it difficult to develop a region without traditionalheritage or events such as those in Kawagoe City in the local area?

In recent years, there are also regionsthat have become the setting for Anime and are crowded with people on apilgrimage to such places. Furthermore, if you just look, a region might have arich natural environment and things or events that originate from this type ofenvironment.

Is it impossible for these regions to sendout information that attracts visitors without IT skills?

Using digital technology possessed by Ricohfor this type of challenge, we may be able to help in creating a “place(community)” where many people can come into contact. This is something weconsidered and then went on to investigate the use of a platform for retailthat can connect the real and virtual. We gave it a name and called it“RICOH360 Platform for Retail.”

Focused users are initially localgovernments and groups that want to support consumers, large, medium and smallretailers, and local shopping districts.

The Internet shopping environment is nowused extensively due to its infiltration into our new way of life brought on bythe spread of COVID-19 infections. Various services are expected to appear andgrow in the Internet shopping environment in the near future, and VR is onefield that is gaining much attention among these services. Using a system thatcan easily create VR images of things like products, stores, local specialtyproducts, and famous historic spots on the “RICOH360 Platform for Retail,” aservice that can rapidly actualize the VR world after quickly shooting imageswith the 360-degree camera RICOH THETA, will provide consumers with thefeelings of the information sender and also local experiences, which will leadto increased sales and more customers visiting shopping districts as well asthe revitalization of local shopping districts.


Various communicationconducted on the “RICOH360 Platform for Retail” will contribute to the creationof a real community. The innovating trend involving VR, avatars, and theMetaverse is expected to bring about the creation of a new community.

“RICOH360 Platform for Retail” concept drawing

The origins of the word “Retail” (“Re”meaning once more and “Tail” meaning to cut) refers to the act of selling“things” or rather consumer goods in partor pieces once again to customers. This simple act (event) of selling andbuying “things” during the long history of people’s activity as human beingshas went through various changes during the ages at a fundamental level, butdespite this we will help people to feel more excited and enjoyment for“events.”

Author: OKAOKA (pen name)

This article featured ideas discussed in aforward looking manner and asked the question “How can RICOH360 contribute tosociety?”

We will continue to develop RICOH360 as abrand that contributes to society and the future.


※The first 7-Eleven store in Japan opened in Koto-ku, Tokyo [May 15, 1974].

※In the U.S. in 1995, Yahoo!, Amazon, and others launched their services. In Japan, several companies started Internet shopping in 1996, and in the following year, 1997, "Rakuten Ichiba" started its service while many major companies entered the market

Microsoft Word - 07_Ichibangai Shotengai.doc (mlit.go.jp) Revitalizing a Shuttered Shopping Arcade in Just Three Years! How the "Community Revitalization Contractors" of Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture are doing it | greenz.jp Green's

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, FY2021 Know-how on how to create a shopping district for sustainable regional development 2022


Nishiki VR Shopping Arcade" service using VR (Virtual Reality) technology