On March 9, 2021, Panasonic hosted the "Preliminary Event in Mirror Field." This was a preliminary event in anticipation of the final presentation of the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS program, scheduled for August 23, 2021. Panasonic Center Tokyo was the main venue, but members of the press and media also attended through the virtual Panasonic Center Tokyo reproduced online.
At the start of the event, Yasuhiro Fukuda, the Panasonic project leader, explained the initiatives of the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS program. He stated, "Through this project, we would like to contribute not only to Tokyo 2020, but to the Olympic and Paralympic Movement and improve the value of sports as a whole. The project aims to realize a better society through sports."
Timo Lumme, Managing Director of the IOC Television and Marketing Services of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and project collaborator, commented, "The SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project uses technology to further engage young people in the future of sport and uses its power to break down barriers. The goal of this project is very much in line with the core mission of the IOC to use sport to make a better and more peaceful world. Working with Panasonic on initiatives such as the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS project is a great example of how our shared values enable us to go beyond the Games and collaborate in innovative ways to contribute to society."
Craig Spence, Chief Brand and Communications Officer at International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and project collaborator, commented, "I am so excited and supportive of Panasonic's outstanding SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS initiative which embraces the IPC's vision to use sport as a tool to make for a better and more inclusive world. Let's use the power of technology to make for a more inclusive world that is fully accessible for all."
Harry Kitajima, the technical director of the project, introduced the Mirror Field. He stated, "We anticipate the acceleration of digital communication, propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic and advancements in digital technology. We hope to promote this platform, which blends the real and virtual worlds, as a model case that can be used in the final presentation in August."
The way we work and live have radically changed due to the expansion of remote work from the Covid-19 pandemic and the accelerated provision of experiential values from the rise of digital technology such as 5G and extended reality (XR). On the other hand, how to convey a realistic and proximal experience remains a challenge in event execution.
One task for the final presentation is deriving a method to effectively communicate the students' passion to as many people as possible, despite restrictions placed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The "Mirror Field" platform model was developed for the event as a solution to transmit an experience beyond real and virtual barriers. The final presentation in August will also feature the Mirror Field.
A panel discussion moderated by IT journalist Nobuyuki (Nobi) Hayashi was held on the topic, "Can a synergy between sports and technology work to transcend barriers?" The participants included Kento Yokose of Kyoto Institute of Technology, a finalist of the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS program and regional representative for Japan; Mikako Kotani, Tokyo 2020 Sports Director; Yoshiaki Sawabe, Advisor for the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; and Yuka Kawai of Panasonic.
Preliminary Event in Mirror Field *Japanese version only
Mikako Kotani commented on the Mirror Field used in the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS program: "I felt a sense of proximity and connectedness to the people connected virtually through the platform because I could pick up on their emotions through their movements." Yoshiaki Sawabe addressed the theme of the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS program, that is, "GOING BEYOND BARRIERS" with sports and technology. He referenced physical disabilities and commented that "removing barriers for people with disabilities will provide a clue in developing a useful tool for many. I believe that sports will become the foundation to bring about such innovation."
The moderator Nobuyuki Hayashi concluded, "Technology helps open up new possibilities and overcome barriers, [while] sports excites and inspires people. Integrating the two would facilitate the creation of many new things. This August, we focus on how to actually use the technology to create new ways to enjoy sports."
The finalists of the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS program, the regional representatives for China, Europe, and the United States, expressed their strong determination for the final presentation scheduled for August.
Kento Yokose, the regional representative for Japan, physically attended the event at the venue. He explained a part of his idea, that he created something based on his own experiences to assist the children of the future to enjoy sports. "August is just around the corner. I expect to maintain my original concept and experiences, and build out the presentation to reach and appeal to more people," he said calmly and enthusiastically to close the preliminary event.
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