The Japanese construction and real estate firm announces the launch of its metaverse during the topping out ceremony of its regional HQ, The GEAR, located at Changi Business Park.
On June 17, 2022, Kajima unveiled The GEAR Metaverse, a virtual environment where people enter a digital re-creation of The GEAR building as online avatars. The GEAR Metaverse allows individuals to experience hyper-realistic surroundings that match the physical surroundings of The GEAR building. As Kajima’s state-of-the-art regional headquarters and R&D hub, The GEAR: Kajima Lab for Global Engineering, Architecture and Real Estate, will be equipped to serve as an open and collaborative platform aimed at facilitating experimentation, exploration, and co-creation, on both physical and digital mediums.
The GEAR Metaverse will enable Kajima to stay connected with the wider built environment community in a seamless, convenient, and high-touch manner – regardless of where these stakeholders are physically located.
“Even as we move into an endemic state, social norms and practices have invariably been influenced by what we have become accustomed to with lockdowns and social distancing. It is therefore incumbent upon us embrace new modes of communication, mimicking as much as possible a physical connection in a virtual world,” said Keisuke Koshijima, EVP, Kajima Corporation, in a virtual address delivered in The GEAR Metaverse.
In conjunction with the launch of The GEAR Metaverse, Kajima topped-out The GEAR building, with Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth as Guest of Honour at the Topping out Ceremony. Notwithstanding the unprecedented challenges from the pandemic, the project remains on target to obtain TOP in the first quarter of 2023 as planned. Kajima, in part, attributes this to its adoption of robotics and automation in the construction process. “We went into this project with our eyes wide open – we broke ground on the site at Changi Business Park in August 2020 at the height of the pandemic, knowing full well that we had to adopt innovative solutions to lessen our reliance on lower-skilled workers undertaking manual labour and replace them with higher-skilled workers operating more sophisticated tools,” said Shuichi Oishi, CEO, Kajima Development.
One such example on display at the ceremony was the Concrete Finishing Robot developed in partnership with JTC, Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Polytechnic, and Mega Plus Technology, a local SME robot manufacturer. Based on deployment data in The GEAR project, it was substantiated that this robot could potentially reduce manpower and labour cost by up to 30 percent, in addition to improving quality and safety.
Mr Heah Soon Poh, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Engineering and Operations Group, JTC, said “Kajima’s anchoring of The GEAR within Changi Business Park is testament to the confidence in Singapore’s drive for innovation, sustainability, and resilience in the built environment sector. It will also strengthen the estate’s ecosystem and help to catalyse new innovations and partnerships between companies. JTC is constantly looking for partners like Kajima to testbed technologies using our new developments and estates to propel the transformation of the sector.”
Beyond the construction site, Kajima’s commitment to robotics and automation was further reinforced with its engagement of ELLA, Singapore’s first robot barista launched by Crown Digital. Keith Tan, CEO and founder of Crown Digital said, “Our contactless barista provides a coffee experience of the future – perhaps one day in both The GEAR building and metaverse as it pioneers the future of real estate.”
“Innovation in the real estate sector is ever-evolving – everything that enhances occupant well-being and engagement is an opportunity for us,” said Mr Koshijima.