From SIM Card Vending Machines to Floating Solar Power Plants, Japan Using Technology to Lure More Visitors Ahead of Olympics


Tokyo city, which is set to host the Olympic Games in 2020, is expecting millions of foreign tourists to visit during the mega event. In view of this, officials helming the event are harnessing technology to make for a smoother and more convenient visitor experience.

In 2014 alone, the Japan National Tourism Organization said that it saw a record 13 million foreign tourists descend upon the city. With Kansai International airport receiving the bulk of foreign tourists in the country, officials are making every effort to make efficient use of the technological acumen as well as available natural resources to create a more fulfilling experience for visitors. 

A case in point would be a SIM card vending machine installed at the airport by NTT Communications Corporation. According to the company’s Network Services Division’s senior manager, NatsukoTabata, the SIM card called OCN Mobile One holds the largest market share in Japan. The company claims that its SIM cards offer a stable connection, which makes them a popular choice with Japanese customers. For this reason, the company is also trying to get more foreign tourists on board. 

The vending machine dispenses SIM cards that can be conveniently activated by visitors using their passport and credit card. The touch screen operation enables users to get a clear picture of what each type of SIM card offers, then choose the best. The vending machine operates 24/7. The company now plans to install the vending machine at other locations as well.

Besides airport-specific facilities, Japan is also using the Olympic Games to expand its current renewable energy ecosystem. To this end, the country has deployed specialists to make use of the abundant water bodies available – the result has been a highly innovative fleet of floating solar power plants. 

The idea of a floating solar power plant was introduced by Kyocera TCL Solar LLC. This concept is unique in that it helps generate more power than similar systems that are mounted on the ground or on roof tops thanks to the cooling effect that water has.

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