For Information
October 30, 1996

NTT to Provide Innovative R&D Geared to the 21st Century

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) announced that it will target new R&D to support innovation in the company's business for the mature stage of multimedia in the 21st century. Key targets of R&D are the Electrum Cyber Society for application technology, the Mega Media for network technology, and the Photonic Network for network infrastructure technology. These will be developed along with NTT's strategy of shifting from information communications business to information distribution business that realizes an information distribution system connecting suppliers with information demands.

NTT will also deploy R&D and standardization activities in cooperation with researchers and research laboratories in various fields worldwide, thus serving as a Center of Excellence. These activities will manifest themselves in the establishment of open laboratories, installation of a test bed for the electrum cyber society, opening of the photonic network forum, and contribution to national/social projects.

NTT will promote R&D serving customers' future needs and will continue making efforts to conduct the above-mentioned policies targeting the mature stage of multimedia.

NTT's R&D - Innovation Toward the Twenty-first Century

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation

I. Introduction

Information communications has been changed toward the development of multimedia and the multimedia era has been shifting from its incipient stage to the growth period. This is due to innovative technologies such as digital processing technology, optical transmission technology, and LSI technology, etc., combined with the rapid penetration of personal computers (PCs) resulting from their higher performance and lower price as well as the increasing demand for computer networks like the Internet.

NTT announced its "Basic Concept for the Coming Multimedia Age" in January 1994 and "Basic Idea on Management Toward Multimedia" in June 1995, and since then has been actively promoting activities for multimedia as the core part of its business management. In line with this, NTT announced two plans: 1) a plan to achieve fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) based on the "New Optical Access System ( system)" in July 1996; and 2) a plan to provide multiple multimedia services, represented by OCN services which were intended to facilitate the transition from the birth to the growth stage of the multimedia era.

With the promotion of these activities, NTT will undoubtedly see the maturity of the multimedia era early in the twenty-first century (about 2005 - 2010) and the emergence of a new society based on "information distribution,"which means smooth spread of information through networks.

To achieve this, however, there is a need for unceasing R&D efforts to provide an impelling force. Accordingly, NTT plans to announce its decision to proceed actively with R&D for the mature stage of multimedia.

II. Target of NTT's R&D

1. Target of R&D: supporting innovation in NTT's business

Keeping in mind the birth stage of multimedia that is characterized by integration of "Information" and "networks" and remarkable improvement of convenience, NTT is shifting the emphasis from 'telecommunications business' to 'information communications business.'

-Telecommunications business ---> Providing a "connecting line" between users

-Information communications business ---> Providing an "information-sharing system" connecting users and information --->Supporting various types of innovation (in society, business, life, etc.)

In anticipation of the mature stage of multimedia with a safer and more convenient communications environment, NTT will proceed from 'information communications business' to 'information distribution business' delivering an information distribution system to connect suppliers with information demands.

To achieve the above-mentioned business innovation, balanced development among applications, network services and network infrastructure technology is essential. The future target of R&D promoting such innovation can be summarized by the following three key words:

Electrum cyber society (application technology)

Mega media (network service technology)

Photonic network (network infrastructure technology)

2. R&D toward Achievement of Electrum Cyber Society

-Future affluent society distributing electronic information, commerce, and money-

NTT has promoted research and standardization of communication technology aimed at realization of services such as electronic commerce and mobile communications to a convenient and safe information society.

-Standardization of MPEG2 (received Emy Award)

-Highly practical electronic money system that uses both networks and IC card

-Multimedia communications conference system with virtual reality

-Wristwatch-type PHS phone using voice recognition technology

In addition to simply transmitting information, NTT will target realization of an Electrum* Cyber Society that achieves 'Encounter' and 'Discovery,' and 'Facial Expression' between business suppliers and users by providing attractive virtual-reality commerce spaces and play spaces. (*Amber gold used as money in Ancient Greece)

In addition to the common information platform as a means of information sharing, NTT will focus on R&D to promote an information distribution platform providing an information distribution system.

[Information-sharing platform]

Technologies related to security (cryptogram, certification, signature), transmission protocol (multi-cast, etc.), information compression, directory, database (cases, general knowledge base, etc.), and servers (such as inference servers), etc.

[Information distribution platform]

Technologies related to digital cash, safe commerce, mega libraries, virtual reality, intelligent agents, cyber space, etc.

3. R&D Toward Realizing Mega Media

NTT is to go ahead positioning with access opticalization in prospecting the development of multimedia from its incipient period to the take-off stage. To improve users' convenience in utilization of computer communications, NTT also plans to provide multimedia services through introduction of realizing various charging systems in line with different grades of services, as follows:

[Acceleration of optical fiber installation in the access network]
(July 24 announced)
-Development and introduction of new optical access system

[Future services planned]
(October 9 announced)
-OCN services (low-speed, high-speed)
-ATM leased line services
-Ultra-high-speed cell relay services

To enable users to easily participate in the electrum cyber society after the mature stage of multimedia has been attained, it will be necessary to realize mega media providing higher-speed and cheaper network services.

NTT will face the challenges of high technology with the aim of realizing mega media.

[Target of R&D]
- Promotion of R&D to realize next-generation multimedia network services capable of transmitting data size of 10Mbps at one second with monthly cost of about 10,000 yen. Achievement of this goal will be 2003 to 2005.
- Provision of various network services suitable for videos, servers, and mail
- Introduction of versatile menu at transmission speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 150Mbps

[Technologies to be newly developed]
- Shared-access technology by ATM Passive Double Star (PDS)
- High-speed and large-capacity ATM backbone (link/node)
technology - Network controlling technology such as self-sizing

4. R&D for Realization of Photonic Network

In the mature stage of multimedia, a network infrastructure technology replacing the telephone and serving as the main stream of traffic will be necessary to realize ultra-high speed and higher-capacity communications.

The next-generation network infrastructure technology is the photonic network, an all optical network technology at tera/peta bit level realized through lightwave communications.

[Current optical communications] [Photonic network] -Information transmission by light blinks -----> -Information transmission utilizing light as wavelength -Electronic signal processing at electronic level -----> -Implementation of all optical signal processings including signal amplification, switching, etc. at optical level

NTT will enhance its optical technology, which is already the highest in the world, and promote broad R&D activities from base to systematization level so as to establish the photonic network technology based on a new communications principle.

[Current R&D achievements]
-1 tera-bit optical transmission using wavelength division multiplexing  technology
-Optical ATM node prototype at ultra-tera-bit level

[Future R&D plans]
Realization of a photonic network needs interactive integrated promotion of the following categories:
-Optics theory --> Creation of a new communications principle including wavelength division multi/demultiplexing
-Optical device technology --> Optical amplification, optical add/drop, optical memory
-Systematization technology --> Optical ATM switches, optical information processing, optical transmission node, and optical lightwave access technology

NTT views the photonic network as a key link in building a new optical industry including optical information processing.

III. Policy Details

A change has taken place from information communications to the development of multimedia in the environment of globalization. In this environment, NTT plans to promote R&D aimed at realization of the electrum cyber society, mega media, and photonic network. Accordingly, in addition to advancing R&D that reflects users' requirements, NTT thinks it essential to develop R&D activities globally in collaboration with researchers and research laboratories in various fields as well as to standardize activities. This will lead to its becoming a core entity of multimedia research for researchers worldwide and a "Center of Excellence."

1. Establishment of Open Laboratories

To assist in the activities of academic fields worldwide, NTT will establish open laboratories in which researchers specializing in, communications, information, social science, psychology, and other fields can participate.

Key points of NTT activities:

Opening of Kei-Han-Na R&D Center and Musashino R&D Center, which serve as main sites of the open laboratory, to colleges and other research laboratories, and construction of a virtual and open joint research arena sustained by the world's most advanced technologies worldwide such as communications technology with virtual reality

*The open laboratory will be utilized as an engineer training center in association with Malaysia MSC. Facilitation of interdisciplinary research in communications fields including new laws, ethics, and customs in the electrum cyber society with participation of researchers in a wide range of fields such as social science, psychology, and law studies from different parts of the world

Efforts to establish an NTT multimedia cyber university which will conduct exchanges ofdifferent cultures

2. Test Bed for Electrum Cyber Society

It will be necessary to conduct R&D together with customers worldwide in order to create new multimedia markets. Taking this into account, NTT carried out a multimedia joint utilization test, VI&P comprehensive test, etc. In future, NTT will construct a progressive and global test bed and promote R&D with emphasis on practical trials.

Key points of NTT activities:

Construct an information-distribution test-bed for the electrum cyber society in cooperation with the Multimedia Communications Laboratories in California, U.S. (September 11 announced), Malaysia's MSC project, and Chili University's project, etc.

Integrate the most advanced technologies such as virtual reality technology, computer graphics technology, and audio visual technology. NTT will provide the technologies conveniently to customers, makers, potential entrepreneurs and companies, and will thus assure realization of the future electrum cyber society and the redesigning of the system.

Expand further test-bed-use areas including Europe, etc. in the future.

3. Photonic Network Forum

With the aim of creating a new communications principle and a new optical industry including optical information processing, NTT will found the photonic network forum as an arena to openly conduct research for the photonic network. NTT will also accelerate R&D and facilitate the penetration of technology globally.

Key points of NTT's activities:

Establish a forum with participation of major makers, carriers, and colleges.

Accelerate R&D of innovative network technology through the verification of photonic related technologies and interconnection test of the photonic network linking Japan, the U.S., and European countries to assure interactivity.

Facilitate defacto standardization of photonic related technologies through interconnection test and penetration of technology globally.

4. Contribution to National/Social Project

NTT is responsible for creative development of the nation's information communications. Based on its technological abilities, NTT will actively contribute to national/social projects for development of the information communications society.

Key points of NTT's activities:

Medical related technologies
-For public projects geared to networking of medical information
(i.e.-effectuation of medical systems, construction of highly reliable networks, expansion of utilization of high medical technology, enhancement of quality of remote diagnosis, etc.)

Related technologies for local governments
-For local government projects to realize local information societies
(i.e-realization of on-line administrative services, construction of disaster-relief networks, etc.)

Related technologies for world environment policies
-For public projects aimed at conserving the world environment
(i.e-realization of a system that is disaster-proof, clean, and energy-saving, and also construction of a world environment sensing network, etc.)

Related technologies for electronic commerce
-For public projects aimed at realization of electronic commerce
(i.e-security technology, electronic cash system, etc.)

IV. End Note In the multimedia era, technology has been rapidly developed and technology variation, diversification, and classification have been developed. In this environment, NTT will promote attractive R&D for customers' future needs by contemplating possible new services.

NTT will continue making efforts to conduct this policy so as to bring about a mature stage of multimedia as quickly as possible.