Fujitsu's Future Direction: Business Ecosystems to Address Social Issues
"The theme of this forum is Human Centric Innovation in Action and it is about experiencing what is happening right now" said Masami Yamamoto, President of Fujitsu Limited, during his keynote on the first day of Fujitsu Forum 2015 in Tokyo.
"This year marks Fujitsu's 80th anniversary and 'Human Centric Innovation in Action' was selected as the 2015 forum theme." Noting that "Fujitsu's 80 years of history overlaps the history of ICT in Japan," Fujitsu's President emphasized "I want our company to remember our corporate DNA, specifically, our spirit of challenge, and to accelerate innovation instead of just building on past achievements."
President Yamamoto continued by mentioning "Industry 4.0," a term referring to the fourth industrial revolution now taking place in Germany. He said, "Initiatives to establish a new manufacturing paradigm using the IoT and AI have begun in many countries. Success requires many business areas, including financial, logistics and agriculture, to strive for new achievements with digital technology. As an ICT company, Fujitsu will strongly support these efforts." He then described Fujitsu's future direction, "We will form business ecosystems that address social issues as Fujitsu cannot resolve them all independently."
Supporting Society with ICT: Co-Creation with Partners
Following Masami Yamamoto, Tatsuya Tanaka, Corporate Executive Officer and future President, shared his vision for Fujitsu stating, "What kind of a company do I want Fujitsu to be? I want it to be a human-centric company that creates value for people. I envision a future where people can live more prosperously thanks to Fujitsu's technology."
Highlighting Fujitsu's expertise in the medical field, Tanaka explained, "Healthcare is entering an era of wide-ranging collaboration. Using Wi-Fi sensor networks, we hope to build a society where elderly people and those needing regular care can enjoy more comfortable lives". He introduced an ongoing field test in Ireland, where sensors identify the condition of elderly patients and call their doctors if something happens. Sensors can also contribute to preventive healthcare by detecting potential health problems from someone's posture when opening a door, for example.
One of Fujitsu's strengths is supporting social systems with ICT. The provision of this kind of support, however, involves software, hardware, and networks in complicated ways and therefore requires advanced know-how in integration and management. While raising the issue that "Implementing ICT infrastructure, which is becoming increasingly complicated and advanced, requires more resources than Fujitsu has," Tanaka emphasized the importance of co-creation with global partners.
Three Co-Creation Models for Shaping the Future with Customers
Hiroyuki Sakai, Corporate Executive Officer, presented after Tatsuya Tanaka. Responding to Tanaka's emphasis of the importance of co-creation, Sakai stated that there were three co-creation models for innovation. These were ICT-based models for "making business changes," "generating new business with customers," and "resolving social issues" by building a business ecosystem.
To illustrate the ICT-based model for "making business changes," Sakai introduced Omron Corporation as an example. At its printed circuit board production line in Kusatsu in Japan's Shiga Prefecture, Omron connected data taken from individual processes to visualize the production line operation in its entirety. Then, he described the model for "generating new business with customers" by making reference to TechShop, an American organization based in San Jose, California. TechShop makes machining tools, including 3D printers and laser cutters, available for use to anyone for $125 (USD) per month. At the workshop facilities, venture entrepreneurs, students, and elderly people alike can enjoy access to everything needed to transform ideas into products.
Next Airbus' approach to supply chain streamlining in the airline industry was used to describe the "resolving social issues" model. In 2012, it was estimated 1.2 million parts were used to build an airplane. In 2017, this estimate increased to 2.8 million parts, thus requiring more advanced management. Airbus is implementing an RFID-based parts management system, including the parts lifecycle, and expects to reduce costs across the supply chain--including at the part suppliers, airplane manufacturers, airlines, and maintenance companies--by 20%.
Based on the three examples mentioned, Sakai noted that, "Innovation requires collaboration and co-creation as well as cutting-edge ICT, including cloud, mobile devices, big data and IoT." Fujitsu recently announced a digital business platform that offers value through the co-creation of innovation that will drive positive changes to business, as well as an integrated service for using it.
Fujitsu Limited will use know-how from the digital business platform and train employees to co-create innovation together with customers and contribute to business expansion.
Fujitsu has strong capabilities in leveraging ICT to contribute to innovation in business and society. This message was reinforced in the closing remarks of Sakai's keynote by announcing his determination, "We will focus on ensuring our employees' shape the future together with customers. We call this 'co-creation.'"
President Masami Yamamoto
Corporate Executive Officer Tatsuya Tanaka
Corporate Executive Officer Hiroyuki Sakai