The Early Bird Gets the Worm! Digitalization that Begins with IoT - Structural Change and Business Opportunities in an Age where Everything is Connected

[Fujitsu Forum 2016 Event Report]

Fujitsu Forum 2016 was held for two days on May 19 and 20, 2016 at the Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho, Tokyo. The conference held on May 20, titled "The Early Bird Gets the Worm! Digitalization that Begins with IoT - Structural Change and Business Opportunities in an Age where Everything Is Connected," introduced innovations brought about by IoT to society and the business world as well as successful case studies on new value creation that made use of sensing data.

Global Trends in the Digitalization of Nations

"The information age is already something of the past. In the future, the digital age will come," said Mr. Guy Diedrich, Global Innovation Officer, Office of the Executive Chairman, Cisco Systems, Inc. (a global provider network equipment) at the beginning of his presentation.
"In the next 20 years, we will come to live in an age where everything, including humans and things related to everyday life, is connected via networks. This means that not only the volume of data exchanged will increase enormously, we will become more connected to each other, and decision-making will increase in speed--moreover, the children of the future will experience a lifestyle that is completely different from our own and beyond our imagination. Digitalization will play the key role in the days to come," he continued.

To promote digitalization, state-level infrastructure is required, in addition to research and development, education, and new business initiatives. He pointed out the following issue: "The national challenge of how to proceed with digitalization is also a challenge for companies, as it is predicted that more than 40% of companies will disappear within 10 years."

"In the digitalized world, new business models always come out one after another," he said, giving examples of technology companies such as the taxi dispatch company Uber and Airbnb in the hospitality industry. "In the future, it is likely that large companies may have no employees other than the CEO and CIO. New business models could destroy many things and give rise to discontinuity. We must prepare for that and arm ourselves with strategies.

IoT is thought to provide unprecedented opportunities. "Opportunities worth 19 trillion dollars will be created in the next 10 years. Such a huge amount of value can be created by connecting as many as 50 billion things. Discontinuity and destruction can come to any industry in a completely different manner than in the past," he said.

"From 2015 onward, such break points will appear randomly and our surrounding environment will change dramatically. If we take measures now, we cannot expect remarkable growth. Which side would you like to be on, the side of growth or the side of no growth? The government must consider which side they want to be on," Mr. Diedrich noted as he concluded his presentation.

Co-creation of Customer Businesses with Human Centric IoT

Next to the podium was Shingo Kagawa, Corporate Executive Officer, Fujitsu. He started his presentation by announcing, "We would like to co-create with our customers and create new value together through human-centric IoT."

"Thus far, companies have defined the value and positioning of their products, and then made appeals to consumers. Going forward, the time will come when companies will be kicked out of the market if they do not understand how their products are used, evaluated, and defined by consumers," he explained. "Now, information around the world can be transmitted and accessed in real time due to the spread of smart devices. It is not enough for companies to build relationships with customers as they did in the past. Unless they understand consumers' ideas in real time, mismatches will occur. That is why digital innovation and IoT are necessary. IoT involves connections from people to people, people to things, and things to things. We can therefore grasp how products are used and evaluated instantaneously," he said as he emphasized the necessity of IoT for digital innovation.

What its customers require Fujitsu to do is to realize digital innovation, optimize systems, and provide goods and services, new value, and new moving experiences created from such systems. "Fujitsu must create value for its customers and the consumers that are their customers. For that, we have MetaArc," he said as he introduced a digital business platform Fujitsu released in 2015.

Mr. Kagawa concluded his presentation by stating, "Fujitsu can connect people, things, and information safely through network, IoT, security, and other services. The data so collected is analyzed using big data analysis and other means, then transformed into value through AI. Fujitsu can also control the data and give feedback by making full use of its security, IoT, and network technology. Fujitsu's strength is that it can offer a cycle to maximize value for users in all fields."

Aiming at a Public Transportation Business for Sustainable Communities

Mr. Machio Kataoka, President and Representative Director, Tosaden Traffic Co., Ltd., which is developing bus services in Kochi Prefecture, presented a bus location service developed by Fujitsu as an initiative for public transportation for sustainable communities.

Due to the decline in population and the spread of private cars, 90% of local bus services are said to be in the red. In addition, inconveniences for users such as "routes are too complicated to find one's destination," "bus stop arrival times are uncertain," and so forth hamper the use of local bus services.

Therefore, Tosaden Traffic worked to increase convenience by means of a smartphone bus location service. Using the smartphone app "Bus Kocchi," users can easily identify bus stop locations, the current locations of buses in service along each route, and information on approaching and delayed buses.

This app also benefits the bus company because it visualizes the number of users and bus operation statuses on each route. "Our company previously relied only on experience and intuition, but data visualization has enabled us to realign bus routes and improve service for users. In the past, we took measures based only on our many years of experience and intuition. However, with this service, when we discuss how to handle money-losing routes with local government officials, for example, all members can consider measures by sharing an awareness of the problem," he said.

This bus location service is based on Fujitsu's location-based information service SPATIOWL. Location information can be collected in the cloud through a smartphone installed in each bus, without having to install any special device. Doing so allows the company to distribute information on the busses that are approaching bus stops as well as other bus-related information to users' smartphones.

Mr. Kataoka concluded his presentation as follows: "Tosaden Traffic returned to profitability under a management strategy of using this smartphone app, and we are now working to realize sustainable public transportation. We would like to demonstrate the future direction of the route bus business and work to further improve convenience for users."

The Drama Unfolding from Visitor Services Developed with IoT + Sports

Last at the podium was Yoshihiro Warashina, President and Representative Director, Kawasaki Frontale, J-League. Kawasaki Frontale is promoting the use of IoT at soccer stadiums. They are the first J-League team to provide Wi-Fi services at their home stadium and they distribute various soccer-related content to visitors' smartphones.

Against this backdrop, Kawasaki Frontale, in collaboration with Fujitsu, conducted a demonstration experiment of a visitor-participation-type service using IoT. When spectators who have installed the dedicated app on their smartphones arrive at the stadium, a beacon automatically detects them and starts to provide service. Video game information is automatically delivered before the game starts and at half time so that spectators can enjoy the video game by competing with each other. The video game automatically ends when the preset time arrives.

"Connecting, collecting, and analyzing information to create new value--it is important to develop such a cycle. Kawasaki Frontale aims to develop businesses using IoT, starting from simply attracting guests at the stadium," said Mr. Warashina as he concluded his presentation by expressing his wishes.

Panelists:
  • Guy Diedrich Global Innovation Officer
    Office of the Executive Chairman
    Cisco Systems, Inc.

  • Shingo Kagawa Corporate Executive Officer
    Fujitsu Limited

  • Machio Kataoka President and Representative Director
    Tosaden Traffic Co., Ltd.

  • Yoshihiro Warashina President and Representative Director
    Kawasaki Frontale Co., Ltd.

Experiencing Various Usage Scenarios with IoT

At the entrance to the exhibition hall, Fujitsu placed a sensor beacon for customers to offer visitors hands-on experiences of solutions useful for customers' IoT businesses, such as "indoor location," which visually displays the congestion situation in the hall on a monitor in real time; UBIQUITOUSWARE; and IoT usage examples from manufacturing and agricultural sites.

Indoor location

At the hall's entrance, Fujitsu set up a monitor to allow visitors to view the current congestion situation in the hall at a glance. This indoor location service uses location information on humans and things provided by the location-based information service SPATIOWL as well as big data. By linking the beacon placed at the entrance with customers' pre-registered information, customers from overseas were checked in on by staff members who spoke their languages who had been assigned to the necessary locations within the hall.

Sensor beacons (left photo) distributed to visitors were used to display the hall's congestion situation in real time (right photo)

Intelligent Dashboard

Fujitsu showcased "Intelligent Dashboard," which supports optimal factory management by integrating various types of factory data that previously could not be collected until sensing technologies evolved. Visitors expressed great interest in the process of solving a problem that occurred at a factory through dialog between a human and an AI (digital assistant Anna). This process consisted of understanding the situation, finding the cause, and then solving the problem in a step-by-step manner.

When a person speaks to AI agent Anna, Anna analyzes past data, speaks the optimal answer, and then leads the person to solve the problem within the factory. (Anna: lower right)

FUJITSU Cloud Service IoT Platform

The dynamic resource controller efficiently processes data in real time by adjusting the volume of data to process based on the situation.

This is a component product of Fujitsu's MetaArc business platform. Necessary IoT functions are provided as cloud services, so customers can use them without having to develop them on their own. This enables customers to develop businesses using IoT quickly while reducing costs. By using the dynamic resource controller, a characteristic function of MetaArc, customers can process massive amounts of sensing data that have been accumulated in the cloud while flexibly responding to on-site changes. The exhibition included a demonstration of a technology that can adjust processing based on the load of video camera data. This technology is expected to be used to monitor theme parks and predict natural disasters.

UBIQUITOUSWARE

UBIQUITOUSWARE analyzes sensing data using the Human-Centric Engine, Fujitsu's proprietary algorithm, which converts data into information that customers can quickly put to use, such as to implement fall detection or body-posture detection. UBIQUITOUSWARE can easily be integrated with customers' existing equipment and systems. In addition, Fujitsu will offer UBIQUITOUSWARE-embedded devices to enable customers to achieve speedy deployments.

Vital-sign sensing band

Mannequin wearing a vital-sign sensing band on the wrist

This vital-sign sensing band remotely grasps the condition of the human wearing it, the environment, and its location. The band contributes to realizing workplaces and living environments that ensure people's safety by informing wearers of poor physical conditions due to heat stress and upon entry into dangerous areas.

Location badges/tags

These devices detect the current locations of workers and equipment as well as record routes of movement as tracks. These devices also identify location information with high accuracy in real time in addition to analyzing flow lines of individuals based on accumulated acceleration and location information. This can be used to visualize human congestion and to optimize flow lines.

A location badge (left photo: badge on the chest) tracks the movement of people and goods (right photo).

Remote monitoring station

This is a service for analyzing changes in living conditions of residents based on sounds in daily life (speech, coughing, snoring, etc.) and people's movement. It can remotely monitor elderly who are living alone (as the number of such people is increasing) and it can also increase the value of the residence.

Remote monitoring station

Demonstration of the control screen when the emergency button is pressed

Wandant 2

Exhibition of Wandant 2

Fujitsu's proprietary movement analysis algorithm specifically for dogs enables users to monitor and perform health management of their dogs while away from home. This tool is also available to monitor elderly people who keep a pet dog that wears a Wandant Charm.