NEC tests quantum computing technologies in maintenance parts delivery

quantum technologies

Delivery vehicles loaded with maintenance parts. (Source – NEC)

2022 is supposed to be the year when use cases for quantum technologies start to roll out in some industries. While the pace of adoption of quantum technologies is still accelerating, more industry use cases are being developed to harness the full potential that quantum computing can bring.

Several quantum computing use cases are now being actively tested by technology vendors and organizations from various industries, from healthcare to battery technology. Universities and research institutes around the world are also developing more use cases with technology providers in hopes of implementing more tests in the near future.

In Japan, NEC Corporation has begun to demonstrate tests using quantum computing technology to improve maintenance parts delivery efficiency for NEC Fielding, Ltd., a leading provider of maintenance services for ICT equipment.

Quantum computing technologies will be used to formulate maintenance parts delivery plans in line with customer engineer (CE) shipment plans, especially with pending on-site repair work and equipment failures requiring attention urgent.

According to NEC, based on previous data on parts delivery in the Tokyo metropolitan area, it has been estimated 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 verification testing with a view to future applications on the site.

Currently, NEC Fielding provides maintenance services in which CE visits customers’ premises to carry out repair work in the event of failure of 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 according to prepared shipment plans based on CE skills and arrival times, taking into account traffic conditions.

However, in addition to various requests, such as emergency responses, periodic maintenance, and specific time requests, there is a huge combination of delivery variables, such as delivery areas, types and sizes of parts, use of trucks and motorcycles, and the number of the people who can formulate an efficient delivery plan are limited.

And this is where quantum technologies could help. The tests are using the NEC vector annealing service which 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 eliminating the need for staff to formulate delivery plans.

The companies are expected to begin demonstration testing 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 introduction to large scale next fiscal year.

Apart from this use case, NEC also plans to develop solutions for complex social problems. These include optimizing production plans and improving the accuracy of machine learning in the financial domain, as attention shifts more to quantum computing, which is expected to enable high-speed solutions to problems that could not. resolve in the past. From this initiative, NEC will promote the use of quantitative computing by companies and universities as part of helping to solve social problems.





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