Future Scenarios Envisioned by RICOH360 Vol. 4: RICOH360 Town—Connecting the Unusual with the Ordinary
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.
Japan, Where Natural Disasters Are Increasing in Number and Intensity
Events such as earthquakes, typhoons, torrential rain, and volcanic eruptions occur almost every year in Japan such that it is known as a country prone to natural disasters. Natural disasters are on the increase worldwide, not just in Japan, so global-scale disasters are becoming an ordinary terrifying situation.
It is difficult to completely prevent natural disasters but it is important to provide rapid disaster information and promote evacuation measures in order to reduce damage and mitigate the effects of natural disasters even by a small amount. To “provide rapid disaster information and promote evacuation measures,” during a disaster, local government and disaster prevention-related agencies must be able to know the situation in towns so as to provide residents with the appropriate information and ensure the safety of its residents, and residents, who need to obtain information, must be able to access disaster information.
It Is Difficult to Know the Situation in Disaster Areas
Local government personnel involved in disaster prevention and response were surveyed on the challenges they face when responding to a disaster and the following graph is a result of these findings. 42% of personnel involved in disaster prevention and response answered that “We are unable to provide a rapid initial response” while 76.1% answered that tasks related to obtaining and communicating information (“It is difficult to know the situation as it changes every moment” and “It is difficult to verify the accuracy of information”) were challenges during a disaster. Furthermore, “Provide accurate and rapid information” was the top answer at 52% from a question about what residents required in the event of a disaster.
However, local government officials who are assessing the situation continue to be understaffed, especially in the areas of health and sanitation and also civil engineering. This means no staff are available to investigate the situation during a disaster, much less make improvements.
It is estimated that in 2045 the local government employee fill rate will be 80% for large-scale local governments and 60 to 70% for small to medium-scale local governments because of significant cuts that were made in the 2000s as part of local government expenditure cuts, a reduction in the work scope, and optimization due to ICT.
Young Residents Do Not Access Disaster Prevention Information—Awareness of Disaster Prevention
“Enabling residents, who need to obtain information, access to disaster information” is another factor necessary for mitigating the effects of natural disasters that was given during the survey. The survey showed that young residents in particular do not access disaster prevention information.
Local governments and local resident associations have created various initiatives to raise the awareness of their residents. However, there remains a problem in that only the same people come to attend meetings about disasters, the topic of disasters has become monotonous, and young people hardly ever attend such meetings.
RICOH360 Town—Connecting the Unusual with the Ordinary
We came up with “RICOH360 Town” as a concept to solve the above challenges.
- Ensure that necessary information can be obtained by understanding and analyzing the situation in a town extensively without human intervention using 360-degree images and videos.
- Have residents access information every day and ensure such information can be accessed when it is necessary by assessing the situation in the town each day and communicating ordinary risk and information in a way that is useful and fun for residents.
- In order to ensure that necessary information can be obtained by understanding and analyzing the situation in a town extensively without human intervention using 360-degree images and videos
360-degree cameras will be used to enable sites to be captured over a wide range without leaving out any areas of the town, using a small number of cameras. This will enable viewers to see the entire situation at sites as opposed to partial information captured and cropped by standard cameras. Furthermore, these 360-degree cameras can be combined with the use of RICOH’s AI image processing technology to recognize objects and provide measurement information using analysis technology and sensors. This setup can solve the challenge of “knowing the situation in disaster areas” by providing a detailed scan of what is happening on-site. Linking this type of information with a database that collects the information and SNS, etc., will enable residents to know various situations about areas of their town without the need of human intervention.
- In order to have residents access information every day and ensure such information can be accessed when it is necessary
We believe that also providing useful information for everyday life will lead to young people and also families with children accessing the information every day, which will solve the challenge of “young residents not accessing disaster prevention information.” For example, if we can share information with residents that also provides knowledge of risks during everyday life such as information about dangerous school routes and construction work in the area, families with children will also probably access this type of information regularly. This can also optimize local government operations. If we can also know and communicate information that makes life in the community more enjoyable for residents, this will probably make residents more interested in the information. Information such as the opening of a new store in a shopping district or when flowers are in bloom in a public park are examples. When residents know when cherry blossoms are blooming in public parks, they can go with their children and go outside with their friends to different parks each week depending on whether the flowers are in bloom in each park. It’s also convenient if residents know if the parks are crowded and how busy before they go.
Trust Required in the System
Situations ordinarily captured by cameras may create problems over privacy and emotional burden to residents. This is where technology comes in and solves these problems using object recognition technology. However, above all, we believe it will be necessary to gain the trust of residents in terms of how useful this system is in both everyday life and during a disaster.
As discussed, there are challenges involved in implementing a system that can provide residents with information collected from both the ordinary (everyday life) and the unusual (during a disaster). However, it is our hope that the use of 360-degree images and videos and the associated technology can help protect residents of Japan, which is a country prone to natural disasters.
We would also like RICOH360 to become a brand that earns the trust of its users while solving the challenges posed by both work and living with technology.
Author: Kawasemi (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.
・Osamu Hiroi (ed.), Disaster Information and Social Psychology, Hokki Publishing, pp. 153-173, 2004.
Osamu Hiroi was a leading researcher in the field of disaster information at the University of Tokyo at the time. He believed that there was no way to 100% prevent major earthquakes, but it was possible to reduce human suffering.
・"Current Understanding and Challenges of Manpower Shortages in Local Governments," JRI Review, 2021,
・Questionnaire survey on hazard maps by the Disaster Prevention Diorama Promotion Network (2019 )