NTT East, a subsidiary of NTT, is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies. Heavily involved in local communities, NTT East recently partnered with a local women’s university to promote tourism for Sendai Morning Market, an open-air market invaluable to locals that has been in operation since 1945. To support the local economy and preserve the important piece of history that the market has become, NTT East looked to Bluetooth® technology to support a network of beacons to help them understand the flow of pedestrian traffic across campus.

Q&A With Ms. Yuuko Satou From NTT East

Location Services 2

Why did you choose Bluetooth technology for the Sendai Morning Market revitalization project?

This project was created to promote the revitalization of the central Sendai area. Sendai Morning Market, a long-established shopping district eager to attract more young customers; Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University Faculty of Contemporary Business, which aims to provide students with a practical education in the basics of business; and NTT East, which wants to drive ICT use in the city, together held a total of three workshops to identify issues and come up with measures for improving navigability and convenience within the Morning Market and the surrounding area.

This led to the launch in October 2022 of a shopping district revitalization project aimed at attracting new customers and increasing sales at the Sendai Morning Market. We chose AIBeacon, a Bluetooth® enabled analysis tool, to help collect and visualize accurate visitor demographic data and stay time before and after project launch. AIBeacon monitored and analyzed foot traffic trends across the entire marketplace.

What kind of issues has Bluetooth technology helped resolve?

We already knew that Sendai Morning Market was not attracting that many young people, but we had no idea exactly how many were visiting the market. We chose Bluetooth® technology as a very effective means of understanding the real-time behavior of smartphone owners without collecting any personal information.

What is the next step for this location service solution?

We are currently focusing just on Sendai Morning Market, a single shopping district. Moving forward, we hope to identify and resolve the issues faced by other Sendai shopping districts too by applying this technology to various locations in Sendai to get a better idea of the flow of people over a wider area and identify trends in each location.

We believe that Bluetooth®︎ technology is a very effective means of collecting attribute data and other desired information in places such as shopping malls and tourist attractions where many people gather, as seen in this project.

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NTT東日本は、世界第4位の規模を持つ通信事業者であるNTTの子会社の一つです。地域社会との関わりも深く、最近では、1945年から続く地域住民にとって大切な青空市場「仙台朝市」の観光促進にも地元の女子大学と連携して取り組んでいます。地域経済の活性化を促進し朝市の歴史を守るため、NTT東日本はBluetooth®︎技術ならではのソリューションに注目しました。その領域内を行き来する通行人の流れを把握したいと考えたからです。

NTT東日本宮城事業部ビジネスイノベーション部、佐藤裕子氏とのQ&A

 

仙台朝市の活性化に向けた取り組みにBluetooth技術を選択した理由は何ですか?

このプロジェクトは、仙台市中心部の活性化を促進するための取り組みとして生まれました。仙台朝市は老舗の商店街ですが、より多くの若年層の顧客の増加を強く望んでいました。一方、宮城学院女子大学現代ビジネス学科はビジネスの基礎を実践的に学ぶ狙いがあり、私たちNTT東日本は街のICT化を推進していきたいと考えていました。その3者で3回に及ぶワークショップを開催し、仙台朝市並びに仙台朝市周辺における回遊促進と利便性向上に向けた課題の整理や施策の検討を行ってきました。

その活動が商店街活性化プロジェクトとして2022年10月に実現したのです。プロジェクトの目的は、仙台朝市の新たな顧客を獲得し、売上を拡大することにあります。そのために私たちが選んだのがBluetooth®︎対応の分析ツールであるAIBeaconです。これにより、プロジェクト開始前後にわたる来訪者の正確な属性データや滞在時間の収集と可視化が可能になります。実施したのはAIBeaconを用いた仙台朝市全体にわたる人流のモニタリングと分析です。

Bluetooth技術はどのような課題の解決に役立ったとお考えですか?

仙台朝市を訪れる若年層の顧客が少ないことは既にわかっていました。しかし実際に朝市を訪れる若年層の割合が正確にどのくらいなのか、全く把握できていませんでした。そこで私たちは、個人情報の収集を行うことなくスマートフォン所有者のリアルタイムの行動を把握するための非常に有効な手段、Bluetooth®︎ 技術の活用を選択しました。

この位置情報サービスソリューションについて、今後どのような展開が考えられますか?

現時点では、仙台朝市という一商店街に対し、限定的にこの技術を活用しています。将来的には仙台市内のさまざまな場所にこの技術を導入することによって同様のデータを取得し、広域での人の流れをより深く理解して、仙台市内の他の商店街が直面する課題についても特定し解決していきたいと考えています。Bluetooth®︎技術は、今回のプロジェクトのように、多くの人々が集まる商店街や観光地といった場所で属性データやその他の欲しい情報を収集するための、非常に効果的な手段であると考えています。

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