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2019

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ANA HOLDINGS INC. and Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. to Begin a Joint Urban Installation Project for Avatars in the Nihonbashi Area

November 27, 2019
ANA HOLDINGS INC.
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

  • Aiming for introduction of 100 units of ANA HD’s original avatar robot “newme”around the Nihonbashi area in the fiscal year 2020
  • ANA HD will undertake promotion activities as part of installing avatar technology in social infrastructure
  • Mitsui Fudosan positions avatar technology as a project that ties into new business creation in the 3rd Stage of the Nihonbashi Revitalization Plan

ANA HOLDINGS INC. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; President and Chief Executive Officer: Shinya Katanozaka; “ANA HD”) and Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., a leading global real estate company headquartered in Tokyo, announced today that they will be starting a joint urban installation project for avatars*1 in the Nihonbashi area from December 2019.

The project will transform the avatars that ANA HD is promoting into social infrastructure, and accelerate the creation of diverse uses for avatars in the Nihonbashi area, which has a collection of city functions such as offices, residences, MICE, and other facilities.

ANA HD will provide its original avatar robot “newme” and the platform “avatar-in” (http://avatarin.com/en) for avatar services, as well as knowledge regarding how to introduce the avatars to society. Aside from locations in the Nihonbashi area, Mitsui Fudosan will provide opportunities to introduce the avatars that make use of the Mitsui Fudosan Group’s broad value chains.

Both companies will cooperate with promoting urban installation of the avatars, aiming for introduction of 100 avatars in the Nihonbashi area in the fiscal year 2020.


ANA HD’s original avatar robot “newme”

< Examples of Avatar Introduction >
Shopping

As the first project for the business, “newme” will be featured in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district, starting with the limited pop-up shop “avatar-in store” in December as a shopping experience. Avatars enable long-distance shopping for customers who are unable to go to Nihonbashi or who cannot leave their house.


Concept for a “newme” installation

Offices/Conference Rooms

Avatar technology will be used in business environments for participation in conference calls and communication with remote areas. For conferences and other events, avatars will make it possible for extremely busy lecturers to participate in workshops remotely without stepping foot in Nihonbashi.
From March 2020, multiple “newme” will commence operations at X-NIHONBASHI, a base for players in the space business to gather and exchange information and plan for their use in business communications. At the same time, Mitsui Fudosan will promote the setup of avatars in other offices, innovation bases, and conference facilities.


Concept for introducing “newme”

Entertainment

Mitsui Fudosan is introducing avatars at various entertainment events being developed in the Tokyo metropolitan area. From December 2019, after experiential trials where users can enjoy experiencing the service at multiple locations within Tokyo using projection mapping by controlling the avatars, Mitsui Fudosan is also using the avatar technology at the interactive art exhibition “FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 -SAKURA-,” where visitors can enjoy flowers using all five senses that is expected to open in Nihonbashi from January 2020. Visitors would be able to experience the exhibit from their computers through the avatars along with the fusion of digital and real productions.

Education/Community Creation

Avatars will be used in education and the creation of regional communities in the multi-purpose space Flatto*2, where office workers and residents in Nihonbashi can undertake community activities. For example, an instructor can use an avatar to teach children in the region’s educational programs from a remote location, and avatar technology will be encouraged for business people to participate in business circles and activities.

For ANA HD, this project is part of its promotion of installing avatar social infrastructure toward realization of the ANA Group’s Society 5.0 vision (an ultra-smart society).

Mitsui Fudosan has positioned the space field as one of its strategic categories for the creation of new business in the 3rd Stage of the Nihonbashi Revitalization Plan*3, and has established the space business base X-NIHONBASHI to promote the building of a business ecosystem as part of the space innovation partnership J-SPARC*4 promoted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The X-NIHONBASHI business has allowed Mitsui Fudosan to partner with ANA HD, which has also been participating in J-SPARC, and is positioned as a co-creation project to implement solutions on the ground for space activity.

Going forward, ANA HD and Mitsui Fudosan will plan other ways to create new business in Nihonbashi aside from the above, and are planning to introduce avatars in a variety of places in the Tokyo metropolitan area, while connecting to diverse players and accelerating the installation of avatars in social infrastructure by showcasing them in Nihonbashi.

- Terminology/Supplemental Explanations -

  • 1 Equipment that uses cutting-edge technology such as VR, robotics, sensors, haptics (sensory), etc. to connect to remote avatar robots that have been set up in many different areas to represent a person’s presence in that area, and can physically move around and touch items in their stead
    URL:https://avatarin.com/en/
  • 2 A community space that can be used by a variety of people in the Nihonbashi area such as workers and residents
    URL:https://www.flatto-nihonbashi.jp/ (Japanese)
  • 3 Please refer to the press release listed below to learn more about the 3rd Stage of Mitsui Fudosan’s Nihonbashi Revitalization Project that promotes unification of public-private-community initiatives in the Nihonbashi area
    URL:https://www.mitsuifudosan.co.jp/corporate/news/2019/0829_02/
  • 4 A co-creation research and development program that started in May 2018 in which private companies striving to enter the space business have held dialogues with JAXA while both gain commitment to commercialization of the industry, and jointly investigate business concepts and carry out technological research and trials as an outlet for aspirations to create new businesses
    URL:https://aerospacebiz.jaxa.jp/solution/j-sparc/ (Japanese)