Advancing research while making the most of tonari’s low-latency video communication
How national institute NICT is measuring the psychological benefits of low latency through experiments with Local 5G

National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

Yokosuka ⇄ Yokosuka
start date

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) is the only public research institute in Japan specializing in information and communications. Together with the Kokuyo Innovation Center, they have jointly established an experimental facility testing out Local 5G inside the Yokosuka Research Park. There they are using tonari to carry out various experiments around latency.

Mr. Murakami of NICT excitedly told us about how 5G has a huge potential to change many industries — and improve human communication.

Compared with 4G, 5G offers 20x faster connections with much lower delays, opening up the potential for big improvements in communication technology. Think about a car being steered by remote control, and you’re watching it about to slam into an object. If you press the brake button with 4G, it would take 100 milliseconds to reach the car, and it would probably be too late to avoid a crash. But with 5G, the signal only takes a few milliseconds, and the car would brake on time.

Most tonari are set up to foster better connections between remote teams, but NICT has installed two tonari — right next to each other in the same test lab! These two tonari are set up almost back-to-back to test the exact latency of communications with 5G. They chose tonari for its low-latency video, because they’re especially interested in whether there would be improved psychological effects.

Inside the Yokosuka Research Park

Kokuyo’s Mr. Shimakura noticed during the pandemic days of remote work that even a little video delay in his connection caused anxiety and stress. 5G has the potential to reduce those lags and make communication with others much smoother.

Since the pandemic, I've felt anxiety and stress due to slight delays in video communication. Assisting in NICT's facilities design, I wanted to examine firsthand how these delays impact us. This almost invisible difference can alleviate remote workers' anxiety. tonari is more than a tool; it has a unique design. Companies struggle with office returns, but tonari creates a comfy, flexible workplace. Communication technologies and offices will enter a new phase of technology hand-in-hand.

The tests are done in a room with glass walls dividing the two sides and tonari also linking the two rooms. In the tests, you can see the person across the glass in real life as well as the person on the tonari. This allows for both practical experiments, and a lot of silly and playful ones too.

With enhanced connectivity, advanced telepresence capabilities, and strengthened security, tonari on 5G may unleash a new era of seamless, immersive, and secure remote communication experiences, bringing people closer together regardless of their physical locations. We look forward to learning more from NICT’s research and experiments.

About NICT

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) is Japan's only public research institute specializing in the field of information and communication. The Institute aims to help realize a prosperous, safe, and secure society by promoting research and development of information and communication technologies (ICT), which are the driving force of Japan's economic growth. It also makes extensive efforts to promote industry–academia–government collaboration and help stimulate the industry.

About Kokuyo

KOKUYO is engaged in manufacturing, purchasing, and selling stationery and furniture products. Its segments include Spatial Value Domain, Business Supplies Domain, Global Stationery Domain, and Others (outsourcing services and antenna shops). Founded in October 1905 by Zentaro Kuroda, the company is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.

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