‘Innovation differs from invention where it has a direct impact upon the
society. This is what we want to do. We want to create new products that
will bring about changes to the society and to her people!’ said Mr. Yasuaki
Onishi, the Corporate Vice President, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.
Revolutionization of the World with ICT
Wave of innovations started from Xerox Corporation in US, Fuji Xerox’s lineage. It began with Mr. Chester Carlson who gave birth to ‘Xerography’.This led to the democratization of information in 1938. Forty years later, Mr.Alan Kay made the world’s first personal computer (PC) and by combining a mouse and graphical user interface, our pens were replaced with word processing software and publishing became a mere touch of a print button. Since Fuji Xerox’s establishment, we have focused on providing document services and communication solutions to offices in the Asia Pacific region. Our recent works include the ‘Denshi-Pen’, which can convert handwritten works directly into recognizable data. The other notable creation is the scan-translator service which can do translation and printing of a document in four languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean). One can even include another language in the same document and still there will be a natural transcendence in communication. This could ultimately resolve the language barrier in communication. The key word is ‘people’ and the bottom line in all these innovations is to support the activities human beings want to do and provide a platform or environment for us to achieve our goals and missions. This is the spirit Fuji Xerox holds.
In R&D, People are the Key!
In our spirit to research and develop these ground breaking technologies, we emphasize two main factors. Firstly, we provide researchers with as much freedom as possible. Every Friday, for example, the researchers have F10-time in the afternoon where one can investigate on whatever topic they want to tackle. Actually, the audio guide service ‘Kikitabi’ was developed as a result. ‘Kikitabi’ ,which loosely translates to “listening journey”, works as follows. When one reaches the place which has been pre registered, the GPS would respond and activate the voice guide of the location providing information on its history and attractions. The inventor, Mr. Hiroyuki Hattori, saw a kid studying about insects using software instead of the butterflies around him and felt that this learning process should be done at and from the actual natural environment. Based on his experiences, ‘sound’ and ‘travel’ is a good combination. Hence, he met with travel associations and NPOs to further explore its business potentials. Three years it took for the product to be finally launched! Secondly, we stress upon the research theme. It has to be people-centered, client-centered and highly advanced. Although, the R&D process is similar to other companies, how the theme is selected is unique to Fuji Xerox. Like in Mr. Hattori’s case, we listen to our client’s problems and start a research topic to help to solve these problems. Conventionally, it would be important that initial plans were made for product and service sales. However, in Fuji Xerox, this ‘sense and respond’ culture takes precedent. Moreover, we offer our staffs a supportive environment for them to do what they are more interested in. It is even common for our staffs to call out to the CEO like friends when they meet along the corridors. This is the innovation nurturing culture we aspire to offer.
Implanting a Sensor in South East Asia
‘In the field of ICT, ‘sense and respond’ is especially important. However, if we were only to stay in Japan, it is not possible for us to sense what is going around in the world.’ Mr. Onishi explained. ‘We need eyes and ears in Asia too,’ he added. Hence, in April 2013, a research and incubation space was set-up in Singapore. We have planned to develop multi lingual technologies for efficient use of document and have already started collaborated research with I2R and NUS. Another interest to us is to optimize communication environment in Southeast Asian countries. ‘If one wants to dynamically sense and respond, one can’t just depend on one’s own competency. We need to seek wisdom from the locals in order to gather new ideas and technologies which would lead to innovations. Talents with acute sense and instincts for advanced technologies and people who can reach out to venture companies, university research centers to gather this wisdom are those we are proactively seeking,’ summarized Mr. Onishi.
Forging Our Future Through the Golden Alliance
Fuji Xerox has concentrated on document but is moving to research and develop on innovations that change the way we work and even change the entire social system in businesses, market, and employment. Resources from Japan (language and image processing technology) and America (multimedia and human interface technology) will be pulled together. In Singapore, we aspire to find new paths with collaborated research in mutilanguage and communication area. With the strength of these three countries combined, we quest for ground-breaking innovations that can change the world. Join us and make a difference!
Mr. Yasuaki Onishi, the Corporate Vice President, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.
Corporate Vice President
Executive General Manager of Research and
Deputy General Manager of Minatomirai Center