NEC Corporation (TSE: 6701) today announced the beginning of demonstration tests using quantum computing technology to improve the delivery efficiency of maintenance parts from NEC Fielding, Ltd., a leading provider of maintenance services for ICT equipment.
Specifically, when customer engineers (CE) are dispatched to perform on-site repair work due to equipment failures, quantum computing technology will be used to formulate delivery plans for maintenance parts in line with CE dispatch plans. Based on past data on parts delivery in the Tokyo metropolitan area, it has been calculated that delivery costs can be reduced by approximately 30% by reducing the number of delivery vehicles and shortening travel distances. Going forward, both companies will continue with verification tests aiming for future on-site application.
NEC Fielding provides maintenance services in which CE visit customer sites for repair work in the event of a breakdown in ICT equipment and non-ICT equipment manufactured by NEC or other companies. There are several hundred maintenance operations each day in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and parts are delivered from parts centers in accordance with the dispatch plans prepared based on CE’s skills and arrival times, taking into account traffic conditions. However, in addition to various orders, such as emergency responses, periodic maintenance, and requests for specific times, there is an enormous combination of delivery variables, such as delivery areas, part types and sizes, truck and motorcycle use, and the number of people who can formulate an efficient delivery plan is limited.
In these quantum computing technology tests, which are utilizing the NEC Vector Annealing Service that provides ultra-high-speed processing of large-scale combination problems, NEC and NEC Fielding aim to reduce costs and CO2 by improving delivery efficiency, and to eliminate the need for personnel to formulate delivery plans. In February of this year, the companies will began demonstration tests by applying quantum computing technology to some on-site maintenance services, and aim to continue improving the accuracy of delivery plans while verifying operational aspects in preparation for full-scale introduction next fiscal year.
In response to increasingly complex social issues, NEC is working to develop a variety of use cases, such as optimizing production plans and improving the accuracy of machine learning in the financial domain, as attention becomes more focused on quantum computing, which is expected to enable high-speed solutions to problems that could not be solved in the past. Beginning with this initiative, NEC will promote the use of quantitative computing by companies and universities as part of helping to solve social issues.