[Flash Report: Part 1/2] Co-creation Generating a Stream of New Value! What's Hot at FF2017

Fujitsu Forum 2017 was held May 18-19 at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan. This year's theme was "Human Centric Innovation: Digital Co-creation." At the forum, Fujitsu introduced its "co-creation" initiatives as well as cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the digital business platform "MetaArc" through keynotes, conferences, exhibitions, and demonstrations.

"Digital Co-creation for New Business and Society" Area

The exhibition hall is divided into roughly two areas: "Digital Co-creation for New Business and Society" and "MetaArc for Supporting Digital Transformation." The former enables participants to experience new businesses and the near-future lifestyles Fujitsu has realized through co-creation with its customers and partners.

The "Digital Co-creation for New Business and Society" area's themes are "Manufacturing," "Retail/Logistics," "Community Building," "Finance," "Urban Infrastructure," "Agriculture," and "Sports." The approximately 50 exhibitions and demonstrations introduce a number of advanced solutions and technologies.

Manufacturing Zone

The first thing customers see as they enter the exhibition hall is the large intelligent dashboard screen, which is where the "Manufacturing"-themed exhibition booths begin. In the "Using AI & IoT to Optimize Entire Factory Operations" area, one can witness a case study introducing the "Intelligent Dashboard," which visualizes entire factories, at INESA, a leading electronics components manufacturer in Shanghai, China. Nine screens on a large monitor show how the manufacturing process was visualized using IoT.

Worker safety is an important concept at manufacturing sites. In the featured "Preventing Industrial Accidents by VR and IoT" area, customers can put on a head-mounted display to realistically experience falling at a work site via VR and sensory devices.

Retail/Logistics Zone

An eye-catching exhibition offering a glimpse of the near-future can be found in the "Next Generation Vending Machine Directing Co-creation Space." This exhibition introduces how innovation in workplace communication can be achieved by staging a co-creation environment in a space for purchasing beverages with large digital signage for viewing news and trends that also supports in-house networking by incorporating smartphones. Additionally, customers can experience making a purchase with a smile or other gesture from a vending machine equipped with "Intel Real Sense."

The society in which people co-exist with robots is just around the corner. In the "Future Store Working with Robots" area, the stylish robot "MATEY" takes photos while sliding along the shelves of a store. Based on such image data, it analyzes product display errors and shortages and then informs staff members on-site. This is expected to significantly improve the efficiency of shelf-filling verification tasks performed by staff members at large stores.

Meanwhile, the logistics field makes use of the latest IoT and AI technologies. In the "Increasing Work Productivity at Warehouse by an Automatic Tracking Cart / IoT" area, an automatic tracking cart that detects and follows human movements using a sensor is on display. This cart does not require a human to push it when picking delivery items at a warehouse. Customers can see how the cart drives itself to the shipping area once picking is complete.

Additionally, AI is being used to streamline logistics. The "Passing on Vehicle Dispatch Experts' Know-how through the Use of AI" area introduces Fujitsu's efforts to teach AI the know-how of experienced dispatch personnel. Manufacturers hoping to streamline their logistics can reduce necessary time and effort while achieving optimization.

Community Building Zone

Fujitsu is working on digital co-creation in community building as well. The "Digital Service to Improve Living Standard for Community Residents" and "Comfortable Living Community Using IoT" areas present a case study on the adoption of "Town Map," a service platform for providing local information, by NANWA ENERGY, a power company in Kagoshima prefecture. Also introduced are "Karada Life Walking Support" for helping promote local residents’ health as well as solutions utilizing smartphones for local governments.

Finance Zone

At a booth modeled after a financial institution’s reception area, when attendees select "housing loan," "insurance consultation," or "inheritance consultation" from a touch panel, the AI-equipped mediator robot "RoboPin" handles the inquiry by asking questions and responding to the answers.

The "Future VR Shopping & Financial Service" area introduces financial services utilizing VR offered by Mizuho Financial Group and Fujitsu. Attendees can experience new ways of purchasing, such as making a product transparent with VR in order to view its internal structure, 3D fitting, and so on.

Urban Infrastructure Zone

The latest technologies such as IoT and AI are widely used to prevent and mitigate disasters. The "Preventing / Mitigating Disasters by Use of IoT" area references an imaginary city called "Fujitsu City" to enable customers to use a dashboard to view how warning levels or danger level forecasts may change based on various information.

Agriculture Zone

In the "Co-creation Style Agriculture" and "Strong Regional Agriculture Realized by Digital Innovation" areas, learn about how today's agriculture is evolving with the latest digital technology.

Additionally, Fujitsu is introducing "Smart Agriculture Iwata" from Iwata City, which aims to achieve agriculture-based regional branding by growing kale and coriander in addition to lettuce. Also being exhibited is the "Grand Bouquet OTAKi" from Otaki Town in Chiba, which aims to realize agricultural co-creation as a service in cooperation with people from various industries and types of businesses.

Sports Zone

The "Creating New World of Sports with Gymnastics Nippon" area introduces how ICT can be used in the scoring system for gymnastics, a sport in which Japan is strong. A 3D sensor scans the athlete’s body 2.3 million times per second during his or her performance. Based on this data, criteria for determining the score, such as the gymnast's number of rotations and accuracy of hands and feet on the pommel horse, are measured in detail. The performance can be viewed from various angles as well as from a judge's point of view. This initiative for automating scoring in a highly accurate manner via co-creation with the Japan Gymnastics Association has led to high expectations for its adoption at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Moreover, the sports zone proposes a new style of watching sports in a near-future stadium setting. Referencing basketball, a fast-moving sport, new ways to enjoy it are proposed, such as following a particular player or shifting the viewpoint to a spot above the goal during a shot to make the image more impressive.

At the "FUJITSU App Counter" near the entrance, on exhibit is "fipick," which allows information to be exchanged directly between devices such as smartphones and tablets without requiring a cellular connection. Fipick can be used at the exhibition booths to quickly download materials and videos used in demonstrations to smartphones.

The second half of the flash report will discuss the keynotes as well as the "MetaArc for Supporting Digital Transformation" areas, such as those for AI / IoT and security.