Kintetsu International Co. showcases its “smart tourism” technology, allowing users at sightseeing spots to see what the places looked like in the past using special goggles.

Exhibitors are focusing on IoT (Internet of Things) devices at the Ceatec Japan 2015 expo at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba.

While fewer electronics makers are utilizing Ceatec as an opportunity to announce new product releases, IoT technology exhibitors are out in force at the annual expo, which is centered around cutting-edge Internet and digital home-use appliances.

A special section was set up this year for companies and organizations handling IoT products.

In this section, Kintetsu International Co., a travel agency also known as Kinki Nippon Tourist, introduced technology featuring a goggle-type gadget allowing users at sightseeing spots to see how the places looked in the past.

Rakuten Inc. is showcasing a shopping system that enables visitors to purchase items shown on an electronic display by connecting it to their smartphones. This marks the first time for service industry exhibitors to participate in the expo.

The IoT market is expected to rapidly expand. According to research company International Data Corporation Japan, the global IoT market is projected to reach $1.7 trillion (about ¥205 trillion) in 2020 — 2.6-fold the market size in 2014. The government held the inaugural meeting of a special council last month as part of its bid to strengthen national efforts under a public-private partnership.

The Ceatec events used to be popular among electronic makers as a chance to showcase the release of home-use appliances like new TVs, but sluggish business amid fierce competition with overseas rivals has forced many Japanese makers to bow out. This year saw a record-low number of firms and organizations participating at 531, down 16 from last year.

Among the major exhibitors, Hitachi Ltd., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are absent this year. Panasonic Corp. was featuring products it announced in September at a Berlin expo.

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