The Japanese word dokomo means everywhere.  This is where the company NTT DoCoMo, Inc.  pawned their name.  Their motto of sorts is to deliver the best possible mobile technology everywhere in Japan.  The rough translation of their official name is actually the abbreviation of “do communications over the mobile network”.  NTT DoCoMo is the leading mobile service provider in Japan with over 53 million customers; currently over half the cellular market in Japan, and for good reason.  The technology that the company’s research and development, R&D, produces is top of the line and next generation.

In just the short time visiting NTT DoCoMo’s R&D facility, it is safe to say that they’re continuing the trend of extensive advancement into the mobile communications market.  Several of the technologies that our class demoed were far beyond our expectations.  If current cellphones in Japan are years beyond those in United States, then what we witnessed is surely decades away for America.

The first piece of technology introduced to us was that of the future of mobile phone interfaces.  In the demo, students were instructed to wear special glasses which could interpret the technology.  These special glasses presented the wearers with a 3D representation of a city.  In this virtual map, the users are able to interact and alter their positioning in real time.  This could very well be the next step for Google Maps: Street View.

Continuing on our tour, more student volunteers were able to demo the technology hands on.  The next piece of technology introduced to us was very futuristic indeed.  The inclusion of microchips, called ID tags, in clothes could allow shoppers to take a virtual closet with them on the road.  Sensors in your home’s closet could detect and transmit clothing information to you in a store.  This information would then be used by the stores computers to match clothing styles, colors, and trends.  The final aspect of this technology was the staging of a holographic image.  The hologram would display the user wearing the desired article of clothing interested in buying.  This technology may be years away from implementation, but rest assured it is coming.

In the next presentation, NTT DoCoMo explained to us their LTE, Long Term Evolution.  LTE’s primary purpose is to expand area coverage and increase the data speed there in.  The construction of mobile radio transmitters across Japan would greatly relieve traffic loads and improve data transmission.  These smart transmitters can expand and shrink area coverage depending on the traffic loads of the area.  The primary benefit of this technology was demonstrated to us by showing simultaneous real-time HD quality footage over twelve screens just using a mobile connection.

The amazing thing is that LTE uses existing 3G technology to provide data speeds of up to 300Mbps.  To put things into perspective, average fixed line broadband speeds in America are a mere 8Mbps.  LTE was originally proposed under the Super 3G designation.  This expansion is merely a stepping stone towards the introduction of a 4G network.  The LTE communications area will be expanded in stages by overlaying existing 3G areas.  LTE phone devices are also compatible with older 3G technologies, allowing for a seamless transition into 4G.  With future expansions into LTE this fall and 4G in the future, the NTT DoCoMo is sure to maintain and expand its user base.

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