Globalizing the Value of RICOH360
Worked in the service and other business fields in the IT industry before joining Ricoh in 2013.
Responsible for new services at an overseas sales company and has been involved in the RICOH360 overseas market since 2020.
Is most happy when he can sit at and appreciate a table made from a single cutting of wood.
The appeal of Creating Something
Could you start by telling us about your career?
When I was a student, I majored in information engineering and conducted research into such areas as neural networks, voice recognition, and natural language processing. The first time I started working was in 2000. I worked in the service business at a foreign IT company for about 13 years where I mainly worked as a project manager and consultant. I came to work for Ricoh in 2013 and worked as a project manager on a project to implement a document solution for a major overseas company. I was sent by Ricoh to work in the U.S. for a time. When I returned to Japan in 2020, I transferred to the Smart Vision Business Group, where I currently work.
Specifically what kind of work did you do in your previous job?
At my previous job when working at the foreign IT company, I was involved in design and development tasks after I first joined the company. In my 3rd year there I became a project manager and was responsible for projects that developed and provided systems to various major clients. During my final years at the company, I shifted my focus to helping clients solve their problems from an upstream position and worked in a consulting role.
Could you tell us about any memorable success stories or hardships you encountered in your previous job?
The most memorable event among the various difficulties I faced was when I was the project manager of a project to build a defined contribution pension (401K) system for a trust bank. It was a multi-billion-yen project that took around 3 years. This type of project size required about 100 people to work on it, and we collaborated with around 10 vendor companies, which I had to manage. Development of the base system also required coordination between many companies and functional departments such as design, development, support, and quality assurance. The financial service sector has very strict requirements concerning security and quality. I was under a great deal of pressure to successfully lead a multi-billion-yen project to its completion.
The companies that collaborated on the project each had their own expectations about the project, so it was hard work to hold daily discussions and coordinate with them. However, the various people from different companies each had specialized knowledge and meeting with them was a rewarding experience. It is very interesting to cooperate with a diverse range of people and work hard to create something.
Does the RICOH360 project development you are currently working on share any similarities with your previous job?
Yes, one of the similarities is that I have a lot of opportunity to talk with the people in charge of RICOH360 partner companies. For example, it is very enjoyable and I feel rewarding to work on the process of creating a service together with the people in charge of companies that provide services to customers in the construction and real estate business, while also asking them about their ideas about the project and vision of their company.
Ricoh has created products and services that use its optical technology and image processing technology, which have been its strengths since the company was first founded around 87 years ago. Using these strengths to create services together with partner companies to make the world a better place is the best thing about working for a manufacturer.
By the way, why did you choose to work for Ricoh?
I previously worked at a foreign IT company so what I wanted to experience next was to combine Japanese technology and products with IT, and work in a job where I can develop projects on a global scale. Ricoh has a long history since it was founded in 1936. It is a company that has grown its business over a long period while maintaining its strong technological capability, so it makes me confident about the company’s future. With its strength in optical technology, it is also a global company that has over 60% of the overseas market, centered on its MFPs, printers, and cameras. I chose Ricoh because I knew it would allow me to work in a job that provides value on a global scale while being involved in manufacturing at a Japanese manufacturer.
I also knew that Ricoh works on quite interesting projects and has experience in projects such as developing their own PC at a time when computers were first starting to appear for consumer use, and creating DVD players, karaoke machines, and print club machines (vending machines that take snapshots and print them out as stickers). Ricoh is an advanced and unique company. In 2013 when I joined Ricoh, it was the time when the world’s first 360-degree camera RICOH THETA was released. This camera was both easy to handle and use for consumers. This left a lasting impression on me.
Joint Development with Partners to Make RICOH360 a Global Standard
What do you feel aboutRICOH360’s potential?
Well, you know. It’s becoming a buzzword, but I think a “digital twin world” will become commonplace in the future. Within this world, RICOH360 will use digital twins to provide a platform (an infrastructure environment required for services, systems, software, and customization) involving 360-degree images so we can expect its use to spread.
Almost 10 years has passed since the 360-degree camera RICOH THETA was released in 2013. Although the market for using 360-degree technology has grown to a certain level it has not yet experienced explosive growth. I believe for this technology to experience explosive growth it requires not only each product and service to be easily implemented and used, but it also requires the value of a platform that can provide the full package, including integration with services from other companies, image sharing, and device management. I know that Ricoh can currently provide this type of platform.
RICOH360 is currently being used mostly in the real estate and construction industry. However, situations where 360-degree images are already being used in the education sector and tourism is on the rise. In the near future, we will likely see a world in which it is commonplace for people to view and use 360-degree images due to the spread of RICOH360.
What value do you think RICOH360 brings to corporate customers?
We have created a full lineup of products and services required to use 360-degree images and I believe this is a major strength. This includes cameras that can shoot 360-degree images, apps that provide functions to use 360-degree images, digital twins in the cloud to share and manage these images and cloud APIs that allow service vendors to freely use them.
For example, the U.S. values expertise so it is very important that Ricoh has an expert level of knowledge in 360-degree image technology.
To handle specialized images such as 360-degree images, I believe that U.S. companies will require expertise and image processing technology for 360-degree images as well as technology to integrate these images in the cloud with services from other companies.
Finally, could you tell us about the future outlook?
I have experience in creating and providing systems and services while working together with people from partner companies since my previous job. I feel it is worthwhile to use this experience and Ricoh’s strengths to work alongside global partners so that we can create services that use RICOH360.
I feel that we are just around the corner from being a world where it is commonplace to use 360-degree images. From March 2023, I will move to the U.S. where I will be based and closer in the field to promote the value of RICOH360 and work on expanding the 360-degree world with all of our partners.
Universal value created by RICOH360