Leading Business to Success with New Digital Transformation Achieved through Co-creation (Part 1)

Amid ongoing digitalization in various industries, building an ecosystem for creating innovation through collaboration between multiple organizations by using technology is becoming an important key to solving diverse social issues. During the keynote speech "Human Centric Innovation Co-creation for Success" at the Fujitsu Forum 2018 held May 17-18, 2018, Fujitsu presented business results and customer case studies brought by co-creation.
[Fujitsu Forum 2018 Keynote Speech Report]

"Aiming to be a Company that Brings Happiness and Wellbeing to People through Technology"

Tatsuya Tanaka
President and Representative Director
Fujitsu Limited

At the beginning of the keynote speech, photos showing the Fujitsu American football team and a Japan's top league soccer team both being delighted in victory were put on the screen. Fujitsu Frontiers won the national championship for the second year in a row, while Kawasaki Frontale, which Fujitsu sponsors, had a long sought-after victory in the J1 League match. Then, Fujitsu President Tatsuya Tanaka appeared on the stage holding a Japanese wooden bath bucket with his hand, which Frontale players had raised to celebrate in place of the league's championship silver plate right after the victorious match.

Tanaka explained by saying, "People are impressed by sports because it is drama interwoven with the connection of people. The power of each individual player is maximized when it is connected with that of teammates, directors, coaches and supporters. The same is true for business. When people, companies, and other various organizations are connected with each other, the power of each person, company or organization is mobilized, making it possible to achieve great success." "This is why our theme for fiscal 2018 is 'Co-creation for Success,' which is filled with our strong desire to connect people, and to create success both for our customers, and for society as a whole," he said.

Tanaka stressed that: "Today, we are in the midst of great change known as the digital transformation. It is true that AI and IoT, which will help us achieve transformation, sometimes give a cold impression. But, transformation is always created by people and the connection of people is the power that drives digital transformation. Fujitsu will pursue connected services, work on co-creation projects and aim to be a company that brings happiness and wellbeing to people through technology."

He then continued to introduce an initiative to transform the ways people work through a co-creation effort with Microsoft Corporation. "By combining Zinrai, Fujitsu's AI platform, Microsoft's cutting-edge technology, and various services from both companies, we are trying to create more flexible and diverse ways of working, so that people can focus on more creative work and unleash their true potential, " he said.

Digital Annealer: The Next-generation Architecture that Solves Combinatorial Optimization Problems Quickly

The next Fujitsu initiative introduced by Tanaka has to do with taking on a challenge with cutting-edge technologies. There are high expectations for quantum computing as the next generation of computer technology. However, handling quantum particles is extremely difficult and it will still take more time before it is put into practice. Fujitsu has developed Digital Annealer, which is a new architecture that simulates the behavior of quantum particles on a digital circuit. As with quantum computers, Digital Annealer demonstrates astonishing capacity for the combinatorial optimization problem. Fujitsu has launched the "FUJITSU Quantum-inspired Computing Digital Annealer," a Digital Annealer cloud service, and "FUJITSU Digital Annealer Technical Service" on May 15, 2018.

During the keynote session, Shigeru Sasaki, Fujitsu CTO and Fujitsu Laboratories CEO who is in charge of the Digital Annealer research and development project, appeared on stage. Sasaki invited University of Toronto Professor Sheikholeslami, Fujitsu's R&D partner, as a special guest. Then, Fujitsu SVP Naoko Yoshizawa, who is in charge of commercializing the project, appeared on stage. She invited 1QB Information Technologies Inc.'s CEO Andrew Fursman, Fujitsu's business partner, as a special guest. They explained the details about Digital Annealer.

Shigeru Sasaki
CTO, Fujitsu Limited
CEO and Representative Director, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.
Naoko Yoshizawa
SVP, Head of AI Platform Business Unit
Fujitsu Limited
Ali Sheikholeslami
Professor, Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering, University of Toronto
Andrew Fursman
CEO, 1QB Information Technologies Inc.

Sasaki explained: "Digital Annealer can solve large-scale combinatorial optimization problems, which is not possible with today's computers. For example, calculating combinations of atoms takes an enormous amount of time in the development of new drugs. With Digital Annealer, they can be solved instantly, allowing us to find new drugs in a much quicker way."

Professor Sheikholeslami shared an experience from his joint paper presented with Fujitsu Laboratories 20 years ago when he was working there as an intern. He then introduced "Fujitsu Co-Creation Research Laboratory," which was established in cooperation with Fujitsu Laboratories and University of Toronto in March 2018. "In opening this lab, Fujitsu has now planted a new tree, that has Digital Annealer at its roots. This tree will grow by the breadth of research expertise among the 22,000 researchers at the University of Toronto, and will expand the applications for the Digital Annealer to many areas, including, medicine, neuroscience, economics, networks and environment," says the professor.

Mr. Fursman, CEO of 1QB Information Technologies Inc., a leading quantum computing software company based in Canada, explained by saying, "Fujitsu's Digital Annealer is the best hardware to demonstrate the power of software that we develop. Fujitsu Digital Annealer and 1Qbit software have the power to advance the future significantly."

Fujitsu SVP Yoshizawa commented that "Digital Annealer technology makes possible what was previously impossible. We also have plans to further enhance its performance so that it can generate unprecedented value."

After having introduced the two projects, Tanaka said, "The era where a company achieves success due to its own efforts has ended. From now on, co-creation will accelerate," and continued to state the company's policy by saying, "Fujitsu will improve its research and development capability for connected services, enhance its expertise to deliver value to customers and build an ecosystem with global companies, research institutions and other organizations."

In Part 2 of this article, we will introduce a lecture by Fujitsu SVP Yoshiteru Yamada. (To be released later)

(from the left) Yoshizawa, Mr. Fursman, Tanaka, Mr. Sheikholeslami, and Sasaki (the most right)