Japanese innovations in the spotlights at CeBIT 2017
From 20th to 24th March 2017, the CeBIT in the German city of Hannover welcomed 200,000 people and 3,000 companies from 70 different countries to present the digital transformation in its entirety, showcasing real examples and best practice.
This year, Japan is the show’s partner country. For the occasion, German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared the stage with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, in order to foster ties between the two countries in innovation and high technology.
For Shinzo Abe, it was the opportunity to promote his new concept of Japan’s society 5.0. This program involves taking advantage of the power of digitization to create more efficient and smarter ways to live and work. That should help Japanese society to face it main challenges : the country’s aging population, pollution and natural disasters.
Contrary to European governments who may be fretting over the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on employment, Shinzo Abe explains that “Japan has no fear of AI. Machines will snatch away jobs? Such worries are not known to Japan. Japan aims to be the very first to prove that growth is possible through innovation, even when a population declines.“
The robot revolution is part of his strategy. Japan is the world leader in humanoid robots and they are already working throughout society, for example as helper in service industry or for the elderly. And the japanese have no problem with that.
Few Japanese innovations on the CeBIT
118 Japanese companies went to Hannover for the CeBIT. Many of them presented products which are already on the market in Japan but are making their debut in Europe.
For example, Epson produced a machine called Paperlab which can recycle used paper into new blank paper in a matter of minutes with no added water. This device is very useful because it allows companies to permanently erase their old documents that bear company secret.
Another product making its debut is the tracking system from Hitachi. Lasers gather anonymous data on where people walk, in what direction and how quickly to help better manage crowds in public spaces.
Finally, the innovative company Cyberdyne showed the world’s first cyborg-type robot called HAL. This exoskeleton can improve, enhance and support a person’s bodily functions. It is intended to be used in the welfare field, as assistance for heavy work in factories or for rescue activities on disaster sites.