Solutions for Supporting Disaster Countermeasures Developed Based on Voices from Disaster-Stricken Areas

[Fujitsu Forum 2016 Exhibition Report]

Fujitsu Forum 2016, Fujitsu's largest event, was held for two days on May 19 and May 20, 2016 at the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho, Tokyo. Here we will report on the Social Infrastructure zone in the exhibition hall.

Developing solutions useful in supporting disaster-stricken areas by incorporating on-site opinions

Is there anything Fujitsu can do using ICT in areas hit by natural disasters such as earthquakes, heavy rainfall, and typhoons? Fujitsu provides solutions for collecting and sharing information in disaster-stricken and post-disaster areas which reflect opinions from the staff of the disaster response headquarters playing an active role at the sites of disaster-stricken areas, including the Great East Japan Earthquake. In this exhibition, Fujitsu introduced many solutions for disaster countermeasures.

In disaster-stricken areas, we gain insight on and find out about the peoples' needs resulting from challenges they faced, such as "lack of time to report the situation after arriving at the site," "difficulties in organizing and sharing data to develop countermeasures," and "underutilized disaster response headquarters systems."

With the digital business platform MetaArc, which incorporates the latest ICT, such as the cloud, mobile, big data, IoT, and artificial intelligence (AI), Fujitsu provides flexible, safe, and highly-scalable disaster prevention information solutions.

Information sharing in support of disaster-stricken areas

Analyzing regional information from meteorological information and quickly determining whether or not to issue evacuation warnings

The "FUJITSU Public Sector Solution Integrated Disaster Information System" is a system to support collection, sharing, and distribution of information on-site. The system automatically organizes collected information and records the situations and needs of disaster-stricken areas, movements of assistance forces including the Self-Defense Force and local government staff in chronological order, and converts the situations to numbers to help visualize and prevent omissions in disaster responses.

In addition, in combination with the information published from the Meteorological Agency, the system determines risk levels. It then issues and distributes evacuation warnings based on the risk levels using various media, such as emergency warning emails, SNSs, and TV broadcasting.

In the future, Fujitsu plans to link this system with external solutions. For example, by incorporating video analysis results from fixed cameras, instructions can be given to people on-site in response to certain information, such as the river water level reaching the flood danger limit or when a station is overwhelmed with people. With a structure that can easily link with various types of information, the system aims to serve as a core solution to support disaster prevention and reduction measures.

Fujitsu also exhibited the "Local Information Collection Service" that brings to our lives smooth and accurate communication between the disaster response headquarters and the affected sites. On-site staff members share site conditions through photos taken with their smartphones and the disaster response headquarters identifies their locations on a map from the location information of their smartphones.

Immediately sharing site information using smartphones, tablets, and PCs

Fujitsu started to provide this service in April 2015. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 15th Brigade employed this service in August 2015 for large-scale disaster response exercises in approximately 80 institutions in Okinawa Prefecture, such as local governments, police, and fire services, hosted by the 15th Brigade.

Supporting decision-making with a portable table-type display device

In the exhibition hall, a table-type display device installed in the disaster response headquarters was exhibited. At the response headquarters where diverse, vast amounts of information is concentrated at a time, small screens of notebook PCs and tablets are inconvenient to grasp the entire information.

Therefore, Fujitsu exhibited a sample foldable, portable display device. A department in the Self-Defense Forces has already decided to install a floor-standing table-type display device, and the detailed design is now underway.

Assuming that they will be used in cases under extreme environments such as disaster sites, Fujitsu adopted electric parts and materials that are designed to stand high temperature environments such as a midsummer outdoor environment, strong impacts, the rain or sand without breaking down. The touch panel detects infrared rays, making it possible to operate while wearing thick gloves. Since multiple people are involved in developing measures and making decisions, the touch panel is designed to recognize up to six touch points. The highly evaluated device promotes interactive communication with on-site staff.

Table-type display device supporting decision-making (reference exhibit)

Portable, easy-to-use device equipped with wheels

Unique technologies enabling immediate and secure information sharing in disaster areas

When entering a disaster area, the most appropriate app is automatically distributed, and when leaving the area, the application and data are deleted to prevent the leakage of information.

Fujitsu also exhibited a sample solution that helps police, firefighters, ambulance staff, city and ward officials, and other emergency staff in disaster areas immediately and securely share site information.

When staff members who received an emergency call-out enter a disaster area, the most appropriate information sharing mobile application for the site is automatically downloaded to their smartphones, and when they leave the area, the app and on-site data are automatically deleted. This is a solution based on the technology of "place-service platform" announced by Fujitsu Laboratories in 2014. (A technology called "context switch" that, when detecting the specific location of a user, the app appropriate for the location is distributed, and deleted when it becomes unnecessary.)

User-friendly operability allows immediate information sharing in case of emergency

A demonstration introduced information sharing using an app that shares messages, including support requests, pictures of site conditions, voices, videos, and vital information, with the same usability as for messenger applications.
Fujitsu developed a mechanism to immediately share information between staff members who conduct on-site activities. It is also equipped with a security feature. When the staff members leave the area, all app and related data, including pictures taken at disaster sites, are deleted to prevent privacy information from being leaked to outsiders.

Contributing to the development of a wide variety of social infrastructures, from factories to space

Optical fiber temperature measurement system

Other than disaster countermeasures support, Fujitsu is contributing to building better social infrastructure through various technologies.

The optical fiber temperature measurement system is one of them. This system uses the optical fiber multipoint temperature sensing technology that allows measurement of the temperature of more than 10,000 points in real time by a single optical fiber wound around equipment and devices.

Learning normal conditions and abnormal conditions from the temperature distribution makes it possible to immediately detect the leakage of a plumbing pipe, the deterioration of a device, etc., and repair them before they seriously break down. A field trial was conducted at Tohoku Electric's Akita thermal power station, and as a result, it has been proved that this system allows more refined real-time detection compared to anomaly detection based on existing discrete temperature sensors. With previous discrete temperature sensor anomaly detection, each sensor required a communication cable, and because of the difficult constraints unique to thermal power stations, there were limits to the possible number and placement of sensors. It was therefore difficult to improve the accuracy of signal detection. This technology can solve such problems.

Other than the above, Fujitsu exhibited "Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)" and "Space Situation Awareness (SSA)" under the theme of "Protecting with Space Technologies."
In "Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)," Fujitsu introduced a solution to monitor suspicious ships by using satellite images and signals from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) sent by ships and picked up by satellites. The issue of poaching by foreign ships has been occurring in the surrounding sea areas of Japan. This solution is expected to be used for monitoring such ships.
In "Space Situation Awareness (SSA)," Fujitsu introduced a system to preserve the space environment by addressing issues such as space debris. Space debris are parts of defunct artificial satellites, parts of used rockets, etc. going around in orbit. The number of space debris objects continues to increase, which leads to collision and damage risks for operational artificial satellites. JAXA has entrusted Fujitsu with the development of a system to manage space debris orbits and forecast and analyze phenomena such as the fall of space debris to the ground and collisions with artificial satellites based on the orbit information.

The exhibition showcased that Fujitsu's ICT technologies are supporting social infrastructures, from the ground to space, to make people's lives better.