PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT – a NEW JAPAN BUSINESS BOOK is arriving soon:
“Transforming Japanese Business: Rising to the Digital Challenge”
(from Springer Asia).
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“Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced on September 4, 2015 that it would invest approximately $50 million over the next 5 years to establish joint research centers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University to broaden its focus on computer science and human-machine interaction with an immediate goal of reducing highway injuries and fatalities.
As we age, mobility becomes more challenging; and larger segments of society are unable to drive or move freely. Also, the demands on healthcare systems and those who support the physically infirm continue to increase. Toyota believes the opportunities to improve every-day living through artificial intelligence supported technologies are boundless, with significant breakthrough potential for the development of life-saving intelligent vehicles and life-improving robots.” (Toyota Newsroom)
Is Artificial Intelligence Research the key to our future challenges? What is your take on this?
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“Google has launched a music streaming service in Japan, becoming the latest tech giant to push into the world’s No. 2 music market, despite mixed results among earlier arrivals.
The U.S. company said that its Japanese edition of Google Play Music features more than 35 million tunes available at a cost of ¥980 ($8) a month.
The launch came after similar services debuted in Japan this year by Apple, popular messaging app Line, and a joint venture by IT firm CyberAgent and Japanese music giant Avex Group.
Japan is the world’s second-largest music market, estimated to be worth $2.6 billion in 2014, after the $4.8 billion U.S. market, according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan.
But packaged media such as CDs account for about 80 percent of Japanese music sales, contrasting sharply with the U.S. market where digital downloads are soaring.”
(Global) Key players in Music Streaming seem to be late in entering the huge Japanese Music Market. Packaged Media (CDs) are still predominant and far more popular than digital downloads in the “country of the walkman”, where the latest electronics gadgets and mobile phones have always been welcomed! Is Japan’s huge Music Market behind? And for how long? What do you think?
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“NTT Communications Corp. has installed vending machines for prepaid SIM cards at Narita International Airport, offering an easy option for users to activate their mobile phones and other devices on arrival.
Users simply scan their passports to register identification information.
The machines operate around the clock. One is in the arrival lobby of Terminal 1 and the other is in the arrival lobby of Terminal 2.
NTT Communications installed the machines because of the continuing rise in foreign visitor arrivals.
Previously, SIM cards were only available at stores in the airport.” (The Asahi Shimbun)
In the country of convenience stores (“conbini” in Japanese) and of all kinds of vending machines, SIM cards can be bought now from vending machines: how more convenient can Japan be? What do you think?
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“Research institutes and universities in Japan are developing robots to play an active part in the primary industries of agriculture and fisheries, which are suffering from aging workers and a lack of manpower. The robots are intended to alleviate the farmers’ workload and improve the quality of crops.
The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry actively supports the move with the idea of “making good use of Japan’s robotics technology, which has long been utilized mainly in factories, now in the field of agriculture.”
The central government set a goal in January to quadruple the size of the robot market to ¥2.4 trillion by 2020, and the primary industries are positioned as a crucial field in which to utilize the robots.
The average age of farmers in Japan was 66.7 in 2014, with 64 percent of them 65 or older. Under the circumstances, there is great interest in using robots to make up for a shortfall in agricultural manpower.” (The Yomiuri Shimbun)
These are all great applications for Robotics Technology whose future seems bright. The next challenge is commercialisation! What do you think?
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“A growing number of convenience stores are offering a service that allows online shoppers to pick up their purchases at the stores at their convenience.
The service allows customers to conveniently shop online whenever they like without having to wonder when they will be at home to take delivery of the item, which appeals to those who are frequently away from home, as well as those who prefer to not be bothered with accepting deliveries in person.
By offering the service, major convenience store chains have successfully attracted people who tend to frequently be away from home, such as those who live alone or married couples who both work, according to the three biggest convenience store chains in Japan: Seven-Eleven Japan Co., FamilyMart Co. and Lawson Inc. They add that the service appeals to women who are uncomfortable speaking with deliverymen at their front door …..
The benefits of in-store pickup services are not limited to the customers who use them — both convenience stores and couriers also benefit. For instance, by expanding their in-store pickup services, convenience stores can expect to see an increase in their customer base.
And couriers and transporters can increase distribution efficiency if they curtail their redeliveries by focusing on delivering to convenience store locations.
Redelivery due to absent recipients was necessary in 20 percent of about 4.1 million items surveyed in 2014 by Yamato Transport Co., Sagawa Express, and Japan Post Network Co.” (The Yomiuri Shimbun)
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