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NEC Journal of Advanced Technology

No.3 (Summer, 2004) Special Issue: Advanced Technologies and Solutions toward Ubiquitous Network Society

Special Issue: Advanced Technologies and Solutions toward Ubiquitous Network Society

IKUMI Koichi
Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation

New life styles and businesses have been produced by creating a more highly networked society. People freely communicate with each other in public places and offices via wireless LANs. In addition to email, communications using voice and video by VoIP are being utilized more. And the cellular phone is becoming a personal navigation system, e-wallet, personal ID, and any card that is necessary. In addition, the conveniences of life are improving due to intelligent home electronics controlled by one’s home server and due to real-time, bi-directional e-learning from home over broadband networks. However, some issues, such as privacy protection, the digital divide, and compliance with regulations, have become obvious. Nevertheless, the ubiquitously networked society is progressing steadily forward as these issues are being tackled.


This paper describes the prospect of a ubiquitous society and the concept of the ubiquitous system on which it is based. Integrating ubiquitous networks and ubiquitous computers, the system, will provide many application services, some of which are introduced in this paper.This paper also explains the basic technologies needed to implement ubiquitous services, such as RFID and its middleware, security technologies, mobile IPv6, and fast IP handover technology.



We describe a real-time communication middleware system that enables solution providers to construct various applications, such as web conferencing systems and IP-based call centers. The middleware platform, called Communication Door, is a web-based application platform for real-time groupware. It includes a real-time web sharing function implemented with an HTTP-based push protocol and an audio-video communication function. By using this middleware, many real-time groupware applications can be customized by rewriting their designs and functionalities through a server-side web application while utilizing thin clients. Solution providers can customize the user interface design and the functions of real-time groupware by revising their server-side web applications. In this paper, we describe the architecture of the middleware and its applications.

ICHINOSE Noriyoshi

A technology called LightHolder capable of expanding real world services for mobile phones has been developed. LightHolder enables a mobile phone to automatically access service functions on the spot, so it is a very useful real world service for mobile phones such as e-tickets and e-coupons. This paper describes two service provided by LightHolder.

TSUJI Toshiyuki, KOUNO Seiji, NOGUCHI Jun
IGUCHI Masao, MISU Narihiro, KAWAMURA Masao

NEC is introducing an asset management solution making full use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification.) This policy will be aimed at the enhancement of information security, software license management and improvements in job/asset efficiency. The integration of asset-related information, updating the latest information and identification of the locations of assets will be thus enabled. In particular, the use of RFID will provide solutions for the possibility of identifying information regarding the location of assets and the movement of goods. In systems terms, the information on the RFID tag is captured by the RFID reader, and this information is sent through the RFID Manager to the Location Information Middleware. The Location Information Middleware then converts the RFID reader’s information into location information; the location information and the RFID tag information are sent on to the Integrated Asset Management Database. Here the location information is tied to the asset information so that the asset location information can be identified in real time.


Worldwide ITS goals for safety and environment have recently been set to quite a high level, such as zero fatalities or zero delays. In order to achieve these high level goals, we have to think ITS with the “ubiquitous” point of view, which aspires that human, road and vehicle are connected to the network organically. NEC is now developing ITS solutions not only to support customers in achieving these goals, but also to bring about a ubiquitous network society.

R&D Topics

NIHEI Katsumi

When a ubiquitous society is realized, various types of sensors will be ubiquitous in the real world. The sensors will enable us to obtain information concerning the state of people, objects and environment (context). The importance of “context-aware services” that provide services to users according to their context information is increasing. By sharing context obtained by sensors set up by various types business, a new service that utilizes context information can be created. NEC is conducting research and development of context sharing technology to enable various types of businesses to share context. A context sharing platform is a system that incorporates context sharing technology.

TONOUCHI Toshio, FUJITA Norihito, MAEDA Naoto
IGAKURA Tomohiro, KIRIHA Yoshiaki

A huge amount of service components will soon be deployed to ubiquitous networks. Each will provide a simple service, but compositions of service components are expected to be highly valuable to users. Because it is hard for users to find and combine adequate service components. We are developing a service navigation architecture in which a composite service is assembled from service components autonomously. We point out four issues to be addressed in the architecture: autonomy, efficiency, security, and reliability. In our architecture, these issues are handled by integrating management of applications and the management of networks. In this paper, we explain the technologies we are developing for this integrated management.


A drop in prices of wireless LAN equipment has promoted its diffusion in various areas including private businesses, households and in the public domain. However, unlike the mobile phone network that develops under the management of mobile carriers, wireless LAN is under the independent management of a large number of LAN carriers. Consequently, the terminal setup for connection varies between access points and the users are required to set up their terminals according to the type of access point. Although the emergence of roaming carriers has changed the situation with some access points in the public domain by improving the ease of connection with the use of dedicated software, this improvement is still not available widely, such as for intra-corporate and household networks. In this paper, we describe the features and functions of wireless LAN access permission control middleware that allows users to setup the terminals using the same framework regardless of the control systems of access points. This middleware can also determine the possibility of terminal setup information downloading and restrict the downloaded information according to the personal information of the users.

YAMADA Keiji, SENDA Shuji, ASAHI Toshiyuki
HIROAKI Toshihiko, HATTORI Hiroaki, OKUMURA Akitoshi

This paper describes ubiquitous information interface, which consists of an input function, an output function, and an interactive function. These functions have to be designed under the criteria such as real time, adaptability, and personalization in addition to the basic user interface design rules. As examples of ubiquitous information interface, it describes a camera-typing interface, a speech interface, a semantic web browser, a fast document image browser, and an automatic spoken language translator. These examples demonstrate that the ubiquitous information interfaces can overcome the problems which may occur in the ubiquitous society and make ubiquitous systems be easy to use and efficient.


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