Communication Technology Is Taking a Quantum Leap Opening Up New Markets, Developing New Technologies, and Offering New Solutions Murata’s Communication and Sensing Technology Help Shape a Bright Future

Norio Nakajima Executive Vice President (Board Member) Director, Communication & Sensor Business Unit


After joining Murata in 1985, Nakajima was appointed General Manager of the Multilayer Module Products Dept., Components Division 3 in July 2004, Director of the Communication Module Products Div., Module Business Unit in July 2006, and Vice President in July 2010. In June 2012, he became the Director of the Module Business Unit (currently Communication Business Unit) .
Nakajima is also Statutory Representative Director and President at Komatsu Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Kanazawa Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and Okayama Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. In June 2013, he was appointed Executive Vice President (Board Member) .

Sensors are designed to detect specific objects and parameters and feed the data back to the control system.
Communication technology is used to send the information collected to distant places.
Murata has long developed both technologies, to which it continues to attach importance today.
The 5G wireless technology, which will likely be widespread by 2020, will achieve a data rate 100 times as high as the current generation, heralding an age of information and communication technology (ICT) .
The widespread use of IoT, which connects various physical items via the Internet, will lead to a sharp increase in demand for electronic components.
Industrial experts believe that plants will experience “Industry 4.0” or the fourth industrial revolution, in which their production and supply systems will be automated.
By making a quantum leap, communication technology has the potential to transform our society.
Against this backdrop, Murata has come up with groundbreaking products that stretch the existing concept of filters.
Murata aims to build a new culture through the social contributions it makes while supplying electronic components to its customers. We are now seeing the beginning of innovation focused on communication and sensor technologies.

"The 5G technology will achieve a transmission rate of 10 Gbps, 100 times the current level."
"With the evolution of ICT, IoT or the Internet of Things will spread rapidly."
"There is increasing demand for technologies that can instantly process data from sensors installed in every nook and cranny of society."

During the Analogue-Digital Shift,
Electronic Components Undergo Rapid Downsizing

Murata first worked on communication technology in the 1980s. Cordless phones were just being accepted into homes, while the first cars to be fitted with phones were introduced. The term “mobile” had yet to be used in its current sense. In the 1990s, Western countries entered the age of analogue mobile phones. In Japan, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) established the high-capacity telecommunication standards named “analog mova,” ushering in the so-called first generation (1G) of mobile communications. In those days, analogue technology involved complex specifications and required large components, preventing it from being miniaturized to satisfying levels.

In the mid-90s, we entered the age of digitalized second generation (2G) mobile communications. This digitalization process triggered the rapid downsizing of electronic components. In addition to NTT Docomo, DDI, and IDO, the mobile communication businesses that then entered the market included Digital Phone and Digital Tu-Ka. Manufacturers of home electric appliances joined the market to supply terminals, leading to intensified competition and laying the groundwork for the widespread use of mobile phones. These were followed by the launch of the simplified personal handyphone system (PHS) services, which spread primarily among young people due to reasonable call rates and terminal prices. This is how we can summarize the evolution of the communication technology that connects people existing at separate locations—the process that began in the 80s.

Digitalization Ushers in an Age of Data Communication

With the advances in digitalization, communication technology accelerated the process of increasing communication capacity, leading to the development of technologies that enabled concurrent data transmission. In 2000, Japan was the first country to embark on the age of third-generation (3G) mobile communications and W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) . With 3G mobile phones, it was possible not only to use additional videophone functions, but also to exchange data at high speed by connecting your phone to a computer. The initially limited use of the Internet on mobile phones was expanded to include web and image search from the same portal sites as those available for computers and posting comments on blogs and electronic bulletin boards.

The year 2010 saw the beginning of the shift toward 4G (LTE: Long-Term Evolution) , heralding the age of smartphones. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are expected to trigger a further step in 5G evolution. Information communication has gained momentum and will gain more momentum in the future. Traffic has increased tenfold over the past five years, and will likely soar tenfold in five years and even thousandfold by 2020.

2020 Will See the Dawn of the 5G Age,
Opening Up the World of IoT

The 5G technology is aimed at achieving a transmission rate of 10 Gbps, 100 times the current level. It will allow the super-high-speed transmission of high-resolution images and large amounts of information to smartphones and other mobile terminals. The key will be the evolution of ICT (information and communication technology) leading to the rapid spread of IoT (Internet of Things) . So there is increasing demand for technologies that can instantly process data from automobiles, railroad cars, robots, production equipment at plants, and sensors installed in every nook and cranny of society.

Depending on the “thing,” the data transmitted vary in content, and it may be prepared either manually or automatically. Murata is expected to help establish the infrastructure that increases the reliability of connections between people and between things and raise data transmission rates via such connections. Communication per se will become part of infrastructure in the world of 5G technology.

With communication established as such, all connections will be established automatically and unnoticed.
In Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution, for example, the development of intelligent monitoring and autonomous systems will combine with IoT implemented inside and outside of plants to prevent equipment failures. Aimed at creating new values and a new business model, this Industry 4.0-based concept will leave all users unaware of the communication taking place when they upload data to the cloud and perform remote operations. This is how IoT works completely unnoticed.

Further Growth Potential for High-Performing and Reliable Components

One of the requirements for increased communication reliability is RF (radiofrequency) technology for digitalizing radio waves (analogue signals) received by antennas. Murata’s strength here is that we offer all products used along the RF conversion path. Being capable of RF design and measurement, we can deliver reliable products by covering all phases of manufacturing from design to production. Here, in addition to the obvious need to increase the performance of separate products, it will also be necessary to modularize them and/or combine them with software. This is why we will need to take an integrated approach to communication and sensor technologies going forward. Sensing alone does not make sense. Additional value can only be created by transferring the sensor information via communication channels, storing it, and processing it for use.

I believe that today component manufacturers like Murata are favorably positioned for further growth. While smartphones are now mature in terms of quantities, in the world market, the number of components used per terminal grows with each generation of technology, just as is the case with 5G. The number is also increased by upward compatible products, which, despite having upper standards of functionality and performance, are compatible with lower level products. This is precisely where Murata is very good—producing high-performing and highly reliable products in quantities and supplying them in a timely fashion.

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