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  7. Fujitsu Launches New "Akisai" Cloud for the Food and Agricultural Industries

Fujitsu Launches New "Akisai" Cloud for the Food and Agricultural Industries

Utilizing ICT to ensure plentiful food supplies in the future

Fujitsu Limited

Tokyo, July 18, 2012

Fujitsu today announced the launch of its new "Akisai" cloud for the food and agricultural industries, which will be available from October of this year. Based on Fujitsu's field testing over the past three years on the use of ICT on the front lines of agriculture, the Akisai cloud achieves rapid improvements in the efficiency of agricultural management by employing ICT.

With the concept of "utilizing ICT to ensure plentiful food supplies in the future," Fujitsu's new service is the first of its kind worldwide that has been designed to provide comprehensive support to all aspects of agricultural management, such as for administration, production, and sales in open field cultivation of rice and vegetables, horticulture, and in animal husbandry. With the on-site utilization of ICT as a starting point, the service aims to connect distributors, agricultural regions, and consumers through an enhanced value chain.

Beginning in October, as the initial stage in its release, Fujitsu will provide an SaaS-based solution for agricultural production management, which is designed to support management in both agriculture and food-related industries, while also offering an innovation support service that promotes on-site ICT utilization and supports systematic management practices in farms. These services allow farmers to visualize the entire production process, while enabling management leading to revenue growth through utilizing comprehensive data. Food-related companies, such as food processors, wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants, will also be able to establish a process for regulating supply and demand adjustments as well as quality control with their contracted producers.

Background

In recent years, issues such as improving food self-sufficiency, stimulating local economies, and expanding employment are becoming very important challenges facing Japan. A key to overcoming these challenges will be to expand earnings in the agricultural industry and improve international competitiveness, while at the same increasing the number of young agricultural workers.

Over 60% of workers in today's agricultural field are over the age of 65, and since many farmers embrace a strategy of selling only finished products, management consists simply of comprehending the revenue generated and production costs incurred by all products together as a whole. Moving forward, however, a new management technique is required that is based on a mindset of producing only profitable items through visualizing the cost structure and profitability of each individual crop, information that previously was not easily grasped. With such a system, there is a need to employ data, such as the results of daily on-site operations as well as planting information, and manage operations to increase earnings.

On the other hand, efforts to differentiate products between competitors, improve costs, and strengthen quality management are required for companies in food-related industries, such as food processors, wholesalers, retailers, and restaurants. As quality control methods and growing techniques differ between each supplier, there is a need to adjust production on an individual basis. As the number of suppliers increases, the cost of managing this process increases, and miscommunication can result in supply excesses or shortages. By strengthening supplier-management functions, these companies will be able to construct a fixed-time, fixed-quantity, fixed-quality, and fixed-price model, while strengthening food branding and achieving growth in earnings.

In working to solve these challenges, Fujitsu is launching its new cloud services based on results from its field testing over the past three years on the use of ICT on the front lines of agriculture. These services, which will be available beginning in October, are the world's first cloud-based services that have been designed to provide comprehensive support to all aspects of agricultural management. As the initial stage in its release, Fujitsu will offer both an SaaS-based solution for agricultural production management, as well as its innovation support service, beginning from October of this year.

By offering these services, Fujitsu intends to support movement toward a new enterprise management style that will bring improvements to agriculture and food markets, while bringing about a plentiful future for food, where safe, secure, and delicious food products are available at any time.

The name "Akisai" is a coined word that was created through a conjunction of the Japanese words for "autumn," which is the harvest season, and "coloration," for the different colors found on fruits and vegetable during that season.

Figure 1: Concept behind the "Akisai" Food and Agriculture Cloud

Overview of the Akisai Cloud for Food and Agriculture

The Akisai cloud for food and agriculture is a service that has been designed to provide comprehensive support to all aspects of agricultural management, such as for administration, production, and sales in open field cultivation, horticulture, and in animal husbandry. Fujitsu is also offering an innovation support service that promotes ICT utilization for enterprise-style agricultural management, while also supporting systematic management practices.

Figure 2: Product Structure of the "Akisai" Food and Agriculture Cloud

1. Fujitsu's SaaS-based agricultural production management solution for supporting management in both agriculture and food-related industries

(1) Visualizes on-site processes in farms, supporting improvements and enhanced efficiency (production management for large-scale farmers)
By using mobile devices to collect, store, and analyze data in the cloud, such as the results of daily on-site operations and planting information, Fujitsu's solution enables customers to visualize quality and cost figures for each of their planted fields. By leveraging this accumulated data, farmers can look back on the results of previous plans and modify the farming schedule in the future, enabling enterprise-style agricultural management that improves both earnings and efficiency.

Figure 3: Production Management Overview

(2) Supports the creation of a fixed-time, fixed-quantity, fixed-quality, and fixed-price supply model (intensive management for food-related industries)
By centrally managing data, such as production schedules, production history, harvest volume, and planting information, from the several hundred to several thousand contract farm product suppliers across Japan, the status of products can be ascertained from the production stage. This enables contract producers to engage in production management, supporting procurement based on a fixed-time, fixed-quantity, fixed-quality, and fixed-price model.

Figure 4: Overview of Aggregation Management

2. Fujitsu's innovation support service for aiding data-driven agricultural management while promoting on-site ICT utilization

Working together with farmers to establish targets and directly interviewing farmers has brought to light the various challenges facing workers in the field. Through proposed measures employing each type of data and by utilizing the PDCA cycle, Fujitsu's service will help support agricultural management.

Fujitsu's Agricultural Cloud Initiative

Since 2008, the Fujitsu Group has been conducting field testing of an agricultural cloud that leverages cloud computing to provide support for farm management and agricultural production sites. To date, in collaboration with companies such as Shinpuku Seika, Limited Co., Fukuhara Farm Limited Co., Sowakajuen Co., Ltd., and AEON AGRI CREATE Co., Ltd., Fujitsu has demonstrated substantial results through this initiative, leading to transformational changes in companies' work patterns, improved productivity, and the training of a new generation of farmers.

Fujitsu's food and agricultural cloud utilizes Fujitsu's FGCP/S5 global cloud platform service, which offers servers, storage, and other ICT infrastructure via a network from Fujitsu's datacenters. Furthermore, Fujitsu will continue to offer sales and support for its existing F&AGRIPACK series.

Target Sales

Cumulative sales of 15 billion yen by 2015. The target number of business operators is 200,000, including producers, food-related industries, local governments, and private organizations.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing and Availability
Product Name Pricing (excluding tax) Availability
Agriculture Production Management SaaS Production management From 40,000 yen per month * October 2012
Intensive management From 100,000 yen per month *
Innovation Support Service Individual Quotation

* In addition, there is a one-time start-up fee.
Note: These services are currently only available in the Japanese market.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$54 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.

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All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Date: 18 July, 2012
City: Tokyo
Company: Fujitsu Limited, , , , , , , , , ,

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