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Oct. 19, 2017
Sumitomo Corporation
Asmik Ace, Inc.

Developing VR-based Methods of Conveying Information for Local Governments and Companies

Starting off with production of VR content introducing a project for expanding renewable energy use on Koshiki-shima Islands

Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Kuniharu Nakamura) and the film production and distribution company Asmik Ace, Inc. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Masayuki Sano; hereinafter, “Asmik Ace”) will be jointly developing next-generation methods of conveying information for local governments and companies, and their initial effort has been the production of content introducing a Sumitomo Corporation project using virtual reality (hereinafter, “VR”) technology.
 
The approaches to conveying information continue to evolve day by day. The printed word was followed by audio and then video as means for disseminating information, and VR is now gaining traction. VR is a technology allowing users to enjoy a realistic computer-generated virtual world through audio-visual content, and VR is generally experienced by putting on a device known as a head-mounted display. The user’s field of view moves horizontally and vertically to follow the motion of the user’s head, so the technology offers a strong sense of immersion. VR is primarily used in the entertainment sector at present but, because visual displays of information and data allow for intuitive understanding of complex phenomena and circumstances, it is expected to be adopted for a broader range of uses as a means of conveying information in business activities.
 
Sumitomo Corporation decided to begin utilizing VR content to accurately and quickly present information on its diverse global businesses. In its first such endeavor, it has focused on a demonstration project currently underway to expand renewable energy use on the Koshiki-shima Islands (Satsumasendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture) using spent storage batteries from electric vehicles (EVs) (hereinafter, “the Koshiki-shima Islands Project”), providing users with an experience that simulates an actual on-site visit to offer an overview of the project and its significance. For the time being, Sumitomo Corporation plans to utilize this VR content in investor briefings and recruiting activities, and to produce similar content mainly for other projects in remote locations.
 
Asmik Ace has long been engaged in producing/distributing films and planning/producing video content. Its previous forays into VR have mostly been for B-to-C projects – e.g., utilizing VR to promote the film “March Comes in Like a Lion” – and the VR content introducing Sumitomo Corporation’s business activities represents its first B-to-B VR project. With the production of this content as a start, Asmik Ace intends to step up its involvement in VR projects for private companies and local governments.
 
This latest content was produced in collaboration with Dynamo Pictures, Inc. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Hiroshi Hirokawa; hereinafter “Dynamo Pictures”), a long-established VR production company, and this teamwork successfully achieved visual representations unique to VR.
 
The reverberations of the digital technology revolution could well change the workstyles of people around the world. Sumitomo Corporation and Asmik Ace are looking to combine their respective resources and know-how to consider and develop next-generation methods of conveying information and thereby help private companies and local governments make their operations more efficient.
 

<Reference>
■ VR content
・Title VR Koshikishima “Islands of the Future” Project
・Video production Asmik Ace, Dynamo Pictures
・Time 5 min 35 sec
・Description Introduction to the Koshiki-shima “Islands of the Future” Project being implemented jointly by Sumitomo Corporation, Satsumasendai City (Kagoshima Prefecture), and Nissan Motor Corporation. As part of this project, demonstration testing of a large battery storage system comprising reused EV batteries is ongoing, and 40 EVs have been deployed to the Koshiki-shima Islands to verify the effectiveness of energy management in revitalizing local communities and expanding the use of renewable energies. VR viewers will be able to observe the EVs and the reused battery storage system on the Koshiki-shima “Eco-Islands” as if they were actually there.

■ <Still images from VR>
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■Sumitomo Corporation’s Material Issues
Sumitomo Corporation Group positions “Six Material Issues to Achieve Sustainable Growth with Society” as an important factor in developing business strategies and in the decision-making process for individual businesses. Going forward, we will pursue sustainable growth by resolving these issues through our business activities.This VR project will prove useful in particular in “contributing to the development of local communities and industries” and “establishing a foundation for comfortable and enriching lifestyles,” while the Koshiki-shima Islands Project covered in the video content will help in “achieving harmony with the global environment” and “contributing to the development of local communities and industries.”

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Inquiries

Corporate Communications Department,
Sumitomo Corporation

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