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CSR Report 2011
We provide a global communications network with advanced network technologies to support a sophisticated information society while our high-quality maintenance systems contribute to a society that is disaster resilient.
NTT Communications uses its advanced network technologies and maintenance systems to provide telecommunications services both in Japan and globally. We ensure network reliability even in disasters or other emergencies.
Specifically, we ensure telecommunications reliability and provide stable services through capacity increases and reliability enhancement of our communication routes, redundant and decentralized equipment and facilities, and monitoring around the clock throughout the entire network.
NTT World Engineering Marine Corporation (NTT-WE Marine) helps install and maintain not only domestic telecommunications cables in Japan but also international telecommunications cables in the Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean regions.
Our technology to install submarine telecommunications cables has been utilized to install submarine seismometer cables in water at depths of more than 1,000m, right from the time when NTT-WE Marine was known as “NTT Submarine Cable Engineering Center”.
In order to provide our customers with appropriate services that invite their trust and satisfaction, NTT Communications endeavors to implement process innovations and service quality improvements.
In the area of corporate data communication services, we provide a one-stop management service that centrally monitors the entire route from our network to the equipment installed at the customer's site, detects failures and notifies the customer, and implements recovery measures. We are also making our one-stop maintenance service available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as well as expanding the maintenance targets for which network failure notification and recovery measures are dynamically carried out.
Previously, the NTT Communications Customer Network Service Center in Japan and the Global Network Operations Center for overseas locations were situated on different floors. Operations performed by these two service centers include establishing alternative trunk routes, duplicating or decentralizing telecommunications facilities, monitoring service status, and receiving error reports. However, in fiscal 2010 we combined our domestic and overseas operation floors. As a result, for customers who use a combination of domestic and global circuits, we are now able to provide a one-stop service where both centers work together, literally side-by-side, to solve any problems that may arise. In April 2011, we moved a step closer to seamless operations by integrating the duties of service managers, which include overseeing operations and quality, and devising improvement plans.
When the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, both support services responded swiftly, drawing on know-how acquired from disaster drills and previous earthquakes. Operations staff contacted customers’ facilities departments as well as overseas subsidiaries of Japanese corporations.
They were able to swiftly ascertain the extent of damage and even adopt measures to bypass damaged infrastructure.
Going forward, in addition to our reception desk, we will adopt an integrated approach involving control services for business breakdowns and service manager functions.
With our hands-on seminars and certification systems, we are also continuing to develop professional human resources who, by implementing continuous-improvement and management proposals, enable us to provide our customers with the best possible maintenance services.
We are striving to provide high-quality maintenance services and powerful support to our customers' businesses by offering the following four benefits: Fast and easy operation for customers, complete one-stop operation, highly skilled technical support, and global operation that takes advantage of ICT.
To support our advanced information society, NTT Communications is providing high value-added total ICT solutions that combine networks with data centers, security, and server management.
NTT Communications has taken a full range of measures to ensure that its data centers offer top-quality and highly secure and reliable services. For example, our data centers have acquired ISO 27001 (information security management system) certification and ISO 9001 (quality management) certification. They have also acquired Statement on Auditing Standards No. 18 after a successful evaluation of the compliance of NTT Communications’ internal controls with the Japanese version of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as PrivacyMark accreditation that recognizes the protection of personal information.
On March 17, 2011, the scope of NTT Communications’ certification for the international standard for IT Service Management (ISO/IEC20000-1:2005/JIS Q 20000-1:2007*) was extended to include the co-location service provided by the Yokohama No. 1 Data Center. We had previously acquired this certification for our hosting services and private network maintenance services.
NTT Communications has many customers in Japan and overseas who use its disaster recovery solution service. Companies use this service as part of their Business Continuity Plans. The service backs up important data on customers’ servers at remote data centers and creates backup sites.
In April 2011, we launched a service at the Tokyo No. 5 Data Center that offers greater reliability and peace of mind in the event of a disaster. We introduced the service to meet the diverse ICT outsourcing needs of corporate customers. The Tokyo No. 5 Data Center is a world-class data facility that boasts advanced seismic isolation and delivers highly energy efficient and innovative green ICT. The Center received the Grand Prix Award in the Data Center section of the 5th ASP-SaaS-Cloud Consortium (ASPIC) Awards in 2011.
As of June 2011, NTT Communications had data centers in 21 countries and regions worldwide. All of these data centers implement rigorous quality control in accordance with our own unified global standards. We work hard to protect customers’ systems and data, which are both valuable assets, by improving the quality of data centers and enhancing their facilities. In Asia, we have hubs in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. We are working towards linking data centers in these countries a high-speed network in this “Asian Triangle” that will serve as a cornerstone for cloud-based services. We have commenced construction of new data centers in our buildings in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia as part of efforts to reinforce infrastructure for our data center services.
We will continue meeting the needs of customers with global business operations through the provision of meticulous support services based on our integrated global operations.
* ISO 20000 (ISO/IEC 20000-1:2005) is the international standard for IT Service Management established by the ISO based on BSI 15000, the British standard. Certification is issued by a third party organization when it deems that IT Service Management is performed in accordance with the standard’s requirements.
A sensor network connects multiple sensors to obtain various data, which are when combined produce even more useful information. Sensor networks that gather meteorological, hydrographic, earthquake, and other data from a wide area including mountains and the sea hold great promise in helping create a safe and secure society through their use in disaster prediction and recovery applications.
In fiscal 2006, NTT and NTT Communications began building a sensor network that utilizes satellite communications for a project funded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications under the name “Research and Development of a Highly Efficient Frequency Utilization Technique for Communication Satellite Transponders *1.” The two companies developed a “hyper-multipoint data gathering satellite communication system” that enables low-cost aggregation of various observation data streams from sensors located throughout Japan by efficient utilization of the limited bandwidths of existing satellite transponders. Field experiments using the Kiku No. 8 (Engineering Test Satellite VIII) *2 to collect various kinds of sensor data from oceangoing vessels was successful.
The field experiments’ success marks a substantial advance in the concept of utilizing satellite communications to build sensor networks, which have a fundamental role to play in disaster prevention and the creation of safe and secure communities.
We will continue considering ways to tap new markets and create new businesses using satellite sensor networks.
*1. Research and Development of a Highly Efficient Frequency Utilization Technique for Communication Satellite Transponder
This research project addresses expanding needs for satellite communications, such as satellite support of sensor networks. It is also aimed at developing access control and channel spacing reduction technologies for enabling more effective frequency utilization.
*2. Kiku No. 8 (Engineering Test Satellite VIII)
Kiku No. 8 was the 8th engineering test satellite and was launched in 2006. It was developed jointly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT), and NTT to test platform technologies for supporting future mobile satellite communications and positioning services.
Now, more than ever, companies advancing their global business regard a reliable communications infrastructure as the lifeblood of their business activities. In this context, they have come to expect provision of seamless network services both domestically and overseas as a matter of course. Accordingly, NTT Communications is working constantly to build environments allowing customers to access global networks with peace of mind, even after earthquakes or other disasters.
To address sharply increasing international communication traffic and strong demand for highly reliable, minimal-delay cable in Asia, in fiscal 2010 NTT Communications teamed up with Telekom Malaysia (headquartered in Malaysia), PLDT (Philippines), and StarHub (Singapore) to commence construction of Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), a new, high-bandwidth optical submarine cable connecting the Asian region.
The existing cable, which goes through the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan, is vulnerable to frequent earthquakes and typhoons. In order to avoid problems associated with potential damage to that cable, we have designed a route from Japan to Hong Kong, Singapore, and elsewhere that will minimize latency, and we will install optical submarine cable that maximizes reliability.
NTT Communications has adopted Disaster Policy Fundamentals for addressing disasters. Based on these policies, we work to maintain critical communications and swiftly restore communication services.
For some time, we have also conducted annual training exercises aimed at allowing swift responses to disasters.
In fiscal 2010, we conducted two such exercises. The second, done in February 2011, based on the scenario of an earthquake striking directly beneath the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, involved quick-response rescue exercises by our disaster response team. The scenario envisioned major damage to the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, to the extent that it ceased to function as a capital city. Under this scenario, we established an Initial Response Headquarters in the Kansai region of western Japan. It was assumed that the Tokyo disaster response team could not travel by normal means and thus had to commute on foot from their homes, and that the disaster response headquarters function would be taken over by the Kansai headquarters.
We also conduct annual disaster response exercises for employees. In such cases, we use “Safety Confirmation,” a service offered by NTT Communications. In fiscal 2010, we introduced “Safety Confirmation Exercises” involving not only full-time employees but all other employee categories as well.
By conducting regular training exercises in these ways, we are helping raise awareness about disasters throughout the Company.
Our Earthquake Early Warning Service delivers information such as epicenter location and magnitude, immediately following an earthquake. It is designed to reduce earthquake damage by forecasting the magnitude at the location of each customer.
The warning service was launched in July 2007 and has been adopted widely by diverse enterprises, including operators of large commercial facilities, condominiums, offices, factories, and schools. In addition to the obvious benefit of being forewarned of an impending tremor, these customers can ensure swift evacuation and confirm safety by, for example, linking the service to their internal broadcasting systems and control systems to shut down equipment such as elevators.
We have also begun offering this service to ordinary homes and individuals, providing solutions for both enhancement of safety and reduction of damage from disasters, in addition to helping corporate customers safeguard their continuity of their business.
We provide the MobileConnect Safety Confirmation and Notification service, which enables companies, national and local government bodies, and other organizations to check on the safety of employees and their families during disasters swiftly. The service notifies such employees of disasters by contacting them through cell-phone, landline phone, or the Web, and asks them to confirm their safety. By swiftly managing the aggregated information, administrators can effectively maintain business continuity.
This service can also be utilized during a pandemic. It allows administrators to identify infected employees, confirm whether a specific employee can report to work, and assess an employee's health condition before he/she reports to work, daily or on a continuous basis, thereby enabling administrators to easily obtain accurate updates on situations that change minute to minute.
Going forward, we will continue to offer a range of services that offer our customers peace of mind.
Biz Desktop Pro is a cloud-based virtual desktop service that creates a virtual PC in a cloud environment that can be accessed remotely by users anytime and from any location. The service was already in place when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, providing customers with access to their cloud-based virtual PCs from their homes and other locations during such times as rolling blackouts and commuting difficulties. We had positive feedback from many customers who were able to continue their business operations thanks to the service. Moreover, the need to reduce electricity consumption required many people to work from home, which further heightened interest in the service and prompted numerous inquiries.
Going forward, we will continue supporting business continuity in times of emergency through a variety of ICT solutions aimed at protecting our corporate customers’ information assets.
Sapporo Business Continuity Center
In June 2008, NTT Com Technology inaugurated its Sapporo Business Continuity Center, designed to constantly monitor and operate system networks, in Sapporo City, where relatively few natural disasters occur. In addition to monitoring and operating information and communications technology (ICT) systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the Center handles customer inquiries, provides troubleshooting assistance, and supports business continuity planning (BCP).
Because ICT systems are crucial to corporate activities, data centers have been geographically dispersed as a countermeasure against potential major disasters and terrorism in Japan. However, the manned operation centers that constantly monitor and operate the ICT systems have tended to be concentrated in major metropolitan areas in order to attract a highly skilled workforce, frequently resulting in a single center monitoring dispersed systems. As corporations have come to recognize the importance of integrated BCP, the demand for dispersed operation centers for corporate systems has increased to cope with major disasters and pandemics. It was in response to this demand that we inaugurated the Sapporo Business Continuity Center.
Since then, the Center has introduced and entrenched an IT Service Management System (ITSMS). The aim of the system, which is based on ITIL®*, is to enhance service quality, increase value for customers, and boost customer satisfaction levels, while improving efficiency and productivity. As a result, in December 2009, the Center acquired ISO 20000 certification, an international standard for ITSMS. At the same time, we introduced ZABICOM, an ITIL-based open-source monitoring system allowing easy customization.
In February 2011, NTT Com Technology received the 28th Special Award (Service Management Award) from the Japan Institute of Information Technology (JIIT). This award recognizes NTT Com Technology’s companywide activities and track record aimed at reforming the system integration operations of the Sapporo Business Continuity Center and raising its service quality.
We have commenced full-scale introduction of virtualization technologies and, going forward, will continue to deliver ongoing operational support services with high quality and at low cost as part of our drive to increase customer satisfaction.
* ITIL®: Systematic guidelines regarding the operation and management of computer systems formulated by the U.K. government. The guidelines are compiled into several volumes of books. ITIL® (IT Infrastructure Library) is a registered trademark of the Office of the Government Commerce (OGC) of the U.K. government.