TOKYO -- Japan's JFE Engineering will offer a low-cost remote monitoring service for public facilities around the world by setting up a center just outside Tokyo.
The center is being built at the JFE Holdings unit's headquarters in Yokohama and is expected to come online in March. The roughly 500 million yen ($4.45 million) center will supervise 60 or so installations at home and abroad, including power stations fueled by waste and renewable energy, as well as water purification plants.
The site will also remotely provide support for maximizing facilities' operations, warn site operators of signs of potential trouble and offer assistance during emergencies. The operations will utilize artificial intelligence and accumulated data.
About 50 veteran site operation personnel and data engineers will be staffed around the clock at the Yokohama center. A satellite office in Manila will provide support for overseas sites. JFE Engineering says on-site personnel at the plants being monitored could drop by 20% or more.
The company specializes in building bridges and environmentally friendly plants, but profitability at construction-related projects has been declining. To offset that trend, the company is pouring resources into site management. The remote monitoring center will boost cost competitiveness in that area.