Technologies That Support RICOH360 Described by Engineers

Vol. 2 Style to Judge Qualities to “Connect Good Things”

 This series will introduce technologies supporting RICOH360 through interviews with  engineers involved in developing them in different fields over four articles.

 The second issue is about SaaS (Software as a Service) for RICOH360. Mr. Hosono, an engineer, says that he proactively incorporates even services provided by other companies if they are good for expanding the use of the cloud. Each of his actions reflects his flexible but profound style which he has always valued

Offering the Best, Quickly and Affordably



 First of all, let us briefly introduce the system structure of RICOH360. Both “RICOH360 Tours,” a virtual tour production service, and “RICOH360 Projects,” a collaboration platform for sharing construction site information, are comprised of three sections: a mobile app, web app, and backend. What makes them unique is the group of services (SaaS) they use in common. While Ricoh has been developing the image processing technology related to 360-degree images in-house as one of its strengths, it has deliberately not developed other services in-house but rather combined SaaS services widely available. These SaaS services include billing and e-mail distribution services. How was such a system adopted?

 — The answer is “quality and efficiency.” Mr. Hosono says this is the most efficient approach for offering good products quickly.


Eiji Hosono

RICOH360 System Development Leader


Joined Ricoh in 2011 following a career in other companies including a foreign company.

He has been in charge of the software architects of RICOH GR, and engaged in cloud development since 2016.

He enjoys exploring ramen shops with his elementary school son on his days off.

 “Rather than trying to develop everything on our own, better leave it to a specialist. For example, billing services are very difficult to develop, so we believe that a better service can be made using services that are already well established in society.

 Our strength lies in our 360-degree image processing technology so we have been developing it in-house. As for various other backend functions, we make good use of services provided by other companies. Such a system is called ‘server-less architecture.’ This is the most current way to build a system, by creating only the part that connects the services available in the cloud. You could say that we are connecting computers around the world.”

 Selecting good services can make RICOH360 a good service. On the other hand, selecting a mis-fitting service makes the overall quality seem diminished. He says that he pays very close attention to “how to select services” as it directly influences the evaluation of the service.


Pursuing in Our Own Way

 Currently approximately 30 services have been selected. This is a lot as compared to other companies in Japan, and Ricoh is therefore confident about its capabilities to “judge qualities” developed through such operations.

 “‘How can we place trustworthy services at key positions?’ is important. We want to create the best possible services utilizing not only our knowledge but also the wisdom of experts from all over the world. Therefore, we have a policy to leave everything besides the 360-degree image processing technology itself to others. Then, how do we find companies that we can rely on?

 First, we pay attention to articles and blogs with our antenna always fully spread out. We also pay attention to the policy of the author and check the philosophy of individuals and companies as well as their other contents if any. Then we use services that catch our attention. My criteria is if I can feel ‘this is smart or dependable’ when I actually use the services.

 We also examine services that can be a model as a structure using comparative analysis and study about them more deeply while considering ‘what would be the best way for us?’ These processes are shared within the team so that they can lead to future development of human resources.”

 Mr. Hosono says he wants to try various services If other team members have suggestions for the services they would like to use, in addition to sharing his own know-how. His statement comes from a background where his superiors have accepted his proposals flexibly and supported him. He says seeing them involving other people and organizations toward the achievement motivated him to work harder. He wants to provide an environment where younger members can take on challenges if they express their intention to do so and a system to support them.

Attention to Detail for Manufacturing

 Mr. Hosono was involved in development in a computer department of a different manufacturer for approximately five years. Then, he was transferred to a department to develop DSLR cameras. After the change to a new career, he was in charge of the development of compact digital cameras, and thus was involved with digital camera-related operations for more than ten years. In March 2011, he joined Ricoh as he sympathized with the company’s professional attitude towards manufacturing. After working in a different division (currently “GR Division”), he has been in his current cloud development role since 2016.


 “I was not exactly an enthusiastic camera fan (laugh) but I had an extremely strong desire to create good products. Now, I feel that the essence of a camera and the cloud is very similar. The difference is what we connect is inside a camera or systems all over the world.”


 How well systems are connected is a fundamental of software development. Operations are always monitored to check for any problem in compatibility with services provided by other companies. The system availability of RICOH360 Tours and RICOH360 Projects has been almost 100%, remaining stable for the past several months.

Everything Is for Customers

 Ingenuity is exercised for the structure of RICOH360, in addition to selecting services.

 The mobile app, web app, and backend. Only JavaScript is used as the programming language to link each of these three sections with services. Although it is often used for development of web apps in general, it is a minor language in mobile apps and backend. Use of a single language however helped to establish a system to enable engineers to build tools across sections.

 Engineers who were involved in mobile apps can flexibly work on web apps and backend. In this system, Mr. Hosono's wish to “prioritize quick responses to customers’ problems and needs rather than attaining the ultimate in a technology” is applied.

 “My motivation is always to ‘satisfy customers.’ I believe there are more important points than perfectly operating functions or performance.

 I want younger engineers to attain abilities to feel how customers feel. To achieve this, I want them to experience development layers that are close to the surface in addition to deep layers to increase the opportunities where they ‘consider perspectives of users.’”


 Mr. Hosono says he plans to strengthen the connection between devices and services to create good technology in a series of processes including user support. Overall quality assurance and improvement in UX for devices as well as services will improve the satisfaction level for RICOH360. There is a vision to make both the API and SDK open to the public so that customers can use them freely.

 Products and people will connect without any fences. Ricoh believes that there is a world that excites everyone beyond that.


RICOH360 Tours

RICOH360 Projects