The two companies, Mitsubishi Estate and tech giant Fujitsu, are working towards offering blockchain secure data sharing in hospitality outlets, including restaurants and hotels, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. The hope is that the shared data, protected by blockchain’s security, will allow tourists to enjoy shorter wait times at restaurants, better hotel stays and a smoother experience traveling abroad.
Mitsubishi Estate manages 30% of buildings in Tokyo’s business district. Senior Manager Hiroyuki Okuyama pointed out that until now companies have been reticent in sharing information, due to concerns about data being leaked.
A trial is underway in Daimaruyu, a business district in Tokyo made up of three suburbs. There are about 100 buildings in the area. The area houses 16 businesses from the Fortune 500, which puts it on par with New York and London, according to Okuyama.
Construction has already begun on sports venues for the upcoming Games, and Okuyama is confident that the new technology is going to make for a better experience for visitors from all over the world, and should be fully functional before the event’s start in 2020. According to Okuyama, the collaboration with Fujitsu now allows the company to store, share and use data with confidence.
“The general user will not realize the technology behind this, whether it is blockchain or something else,” he said. “What type of tech is used is irrelevant (for the user), it should be irrelevant.”
He suggested that visitors lose valuable time at large events, such as lining up at restaurants when they should be able to immediately verify at any time how much seating is available, and alternatives if full. He commented:
“For us, we believe that people who visit the city, a comfortable and smooth stay is most important. Rather than going after that short-term return, we believe there is more we can do.”
Fujitsu senior manager Eiji Ikeda said blockchain would keep the data in the hands of the owners. “The problem with the cloud is that it is difficult to release,” Ikeda said. “With blockchain, companies can inject their data [while keeping control].”
Reports at the end of last year excited many crypto hungry Japanese, when it was announced that the Bank of Japan had backed a scheme for its own cryptocurrency to be up and running before the Olympics.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020.