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Attaining Sustainability by Digital Transformation

Sustainable Brands Symposium Tokyo (SB Tokyo 2017) Report

Main visual : Attaining Sustainability by Digital Transformation

Overview of the Sustainable Brands Symposium

US-based Sustainable Life Media (SLM) has been running the Sustainable Brands Symposium (SB) since 2010 with the themes of "Sustainability" and "Brand Value Improvement." Currently, SB is held in 12 cities in 11 countries around the world. This year, business leaders and professionals gathered at SB Tokyo 2017 to engage in a variety of discussions under the theme of "Activating Purpose."

On March 8 and 9, 2017, this international symposium was held for the first time in Japan at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, Tokyo. As a Gold Sponsor, Fujitsu Limited participated in BREAKOUTS (conferences) and PLENARIES (keynotes).

Most Digital Transformations Born and Achieved by Co-Creation with Customers

In the Plenary Sessions, business leaders and other professionals, including Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, gave addresses and presentations. From Fujitsu Limited, Norihiko Taniguchi, Director and Corporate Executive Officer, gave a presentation entitled "Sustainable Solution of Fujitsu / Power of ICT" and talked about how Fujitsu hopes to contribute to customers and society to realize a sustainable society.

First, Taniguchi described the "waves of digitalization" that began with the spread of computers in the 1960s, which took the form of mainframes and client servers before greatly changing with the advent of the Internet in the late 1990s. "In this era, it is almost like users are carrying what used to be supercomputers in their pockets," he said to illustrate how fast technology has been advancing. Now, we live in the era of the third wave, the "Internet of Things," where various types of devices are independently connected to the Internet. Connecting everything to the Internet has caused an explosion of data. As the fourth wave, Taniguchi introduced AI and robotics as a means to control this data explosion.

Taniguchi continued: "Digital Disruption (creative destruction in the digital age) will occur, driven by AI and robotics. Meanwhile, people will enjoy brand new services that enable them to live more convenient, prosperous lives." He introduced technologies for autonomous cars, robotics, wearable devices, and automatic translation. He then explained Fujitsu’s vision: "Fujitsu has been working on these solutions in a human-centric way, which is an approach centered on people. Without becoming dominated by machines, we want to provide solutions designed by focusing on understanding people's needs and thoughts."

He also talked about Fujitsu's various initiatives to bring about a prosperous future using the Power of ICT, including its Akisai Food and Agriculture Cloud, which enables the sale of aseptic vegetables (in Iwata City and Finland); the Intelligent Dashboard, which monitors production line status in real time (at INESA in China); a tsunami warning system, which estimates the inundation area within 10 minutes after an earthquake occurs; a smartphone-based disaster information sharing system that aggregates rainfall amounts by measuring river water levels (Jakarta's Regional Disaster Management Agency, BPBD DKI Jakarta); a sharing economy platform that supports small-lot production of many kinds of products (shitateru); and an AI-based "chatbot" financial service solution (Sony Bank Inc.).

Norihiko Taniguchi, Director and Corporate Executive Officer, Fujitsu Limited

Taniguchi concluded his presentation as follows: "What is important is that many of these digital innovations were born and realized through 'co-creation' with customers. As social problems are wide-ranging and complex, it is important to co-create solutions rather than working to address them as an individual person or company. Now that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been clarified, it has become easier for us to make our activities more consistent with the goals. Together with our customers, Fujitsu is determined to continue contributing to the realization of a sustainable society through its digital technologies and knowledge."

Solving Sustainability Problems with the Power of Human Connections

In BREAKOUTS, three panelists—Hideyuki Kanemitsu from the Corporate Environmental Strategy Unit of Fujitsu Limited, Hiroyuki Matsuzaki from Takenaka Corporation, and Takatoshi Ohkubo from 3M Japan Limited and facilitator Shinichi Takemura, Professor of Kyoto University of Art and Design, took to the stage to hold a conference under the theme of "How will environmental technologies accelerate business?"

Hideyuki Kanemitsu, VP, Head of Corporate Environmental Strategy Unit, Fujitsu Limited

To start the conference, Kanemitsu gave a presentation entitled "The Power of ICT: Fujitsu's Approach to a Sustainable Future." In this presentation, he stated: "The SDGs were set to address major social challenges. In particular, solving environmental problems is an essential task. Fujitsu wants to promote innovations in society and business towards its vision of Human Centric ICT."

He next presented possible applications of IoT and AI, such as Fujitsu's smart mobility solution SPATIOWL and its AI-based City Monitoring solution. He also introduced the DLU (Deep Learning Unit), a dedicated deep-learning processor specializing in AI, and expressed his aspiration that "We would like to contribute to society by incorporating power-saving technology with the parallel technology cultivated in supercomputers."

After his presentation, a discussion was held among Mr. Matsuzaki, Mr. Ohkubo, and facilitator Mr. Takemura. The first theme was "How to discover and solve social problems." Kanemitsu commented that "Action is what is really necessary. Beyond just knowing the number of environmental problems, it is important to consider how to solve them in practical terms."

In response to this comment, Mr. Matsuzaki replied: "Now that the SDGs have been set, various pieces of information have been gathered and a large framework has been created under which we can work together toward the goals while sharing values. Since ICT is a powerful tool for sharing information, we hope to use it effectively to contribute to the world through co-creation with all of you." Mr. Ohkubo stated: "The connections between people are weakening compared to 30 to 40 years ago. I think that activities to strengthen connections via the Internet are important to solve various sustainability-related problems."

From the left: Mr. Takemura, Kanemitsu, Mr. Matsuzaki, and Mr. Ohkubo

To conclude the conference, facilitator Mr. Takemura noted the following at the end of the discussion: "We can change the future 10 to 20 years from now considerably by fundamentally reviewing and resetting how we use energy, water, and urban infrastructure."

The conference was attended by many participants from various countries who speak different languages, and the hall was filled with an international atmosphere.

A scene from the conference