First in-person partner event in three years
November is a busy month for Stratus Japan. Not only is it the close of our third quarter, but it is also the month our teams plan for the next fiscal year. For the first time in three years, we could host our valued partners in a live event, which was a great experience to get everybody back together in the same place. I also took part in an event called “Nenrin Pick 2022”, which is a senior national sports event. My second daughter also recently got married, and we celebrated her wedding and reception on Thanksgiving Day. The COVID-19 pandemic is still here, and unfortunately, we’re not able to let our guards down just yet. Thankfully, it is now a daily occurrence for people to get together and work in a proper environment, whether that’s for business or in private.
On November 30th we held Stratus Partner Day 2022 at the new Kudan Kaikan Terrace, which just recently opened in October of this year. Our room overlooked the Japan Budokan, where we invited executive partners to a luncheon. This was the first event we’ve hosted in person for the last three years, as the prior Partner Days have been virtual events. This year, Stephen Greene, VP of the United States Marketing Teams, visited to report on global business trends and performance as well as explain more about the recent SGH acquisition. I also spoke about the current status and future direction of Japan’s business. Our partner, iCube Digital, and end users gave interesting lectures. There were also exhibits by six partner companies. Stratus Partner Day 2022 was an extremely informative event and a tremendous success. I personally want to express my sincere gratitude to the many who attended.
Business fixed investment is expected to increase
According to some economic reports, the economic recovery trend has not been broken. Japan’s economy is expected to continue to recover, moderately led by domestic demand. The upward trend in private consumption seems to speed up as the recovery begins, mainly in service-related demand. Although inflation will exert downward pressure on households’ purchasing power, the government’s measures to address higher prices are expected to mitigate adverse effects. Business fixed investment is said to continue an upward trend, as corporate profits, particularly by large firms, have remained at high levels. There is also a robust appetite for digitalization-related and environment-related investments. It was great timing to hold this partner event and have these discussions.
Watching the Soccer World Cup
I’m writing this blog on December 5th, and things may be different by the time this is published. Today, the Japan National Team will play against Croatia in the final league of the World Cup. I’m hopeful our team will pull through and win, making it to the top eight – something we have never experienced before. During the qualifying round match against Spain, there was a lot of talk on whether Mitoma was inside or outside the goal line. I learned the differences of various ball sports rules, and, in rugby, the line is treated as outside. In soccer, even if the contact patch is outside, it is projected from the top. If part of the ball touches the line, it is inside. Tennis and volleyball are different – if the ball is on the line, it is inside, and is judged by the contact plane.
Luckily, we can be confident that Mitoma’s turnaround and Tanaka’s goal are good, as the video assistant referee (VAR) judged them. The technology leveraged for the VAR is not only video technology that judges by a camera, but also a tracking system that accurately identifies the position using a chip embedded in the ball. With the antenna, it’s possible to measure whether it is on the line in units of 1 mm or less. I was surprised to find that IoT and edge technology are also being used in sports, and that artificial judgment is no longer based on just video alone.
My business trip to California
For the first time in two years, I’m heading to the United States for a business trip. Although it’s exciting, there’s a good chance I’ll miss the highly coveted game against Croatia in real time, especially with the Wi-Fi connection on the airplane. I have not been to the Maynard, MA office – where Stratus is headquartered – for two years, but on this trip I’m venturing to Milpitas, CA, where SGH headquarters are. Milpitas is north of San Jose and apparently means “cornfield” in Mexican Spanish. When the city was founded in 1954, it had a population of 800. Now, on the corner of Silicon Valley – where many high-tech industries and technology companies are thriving – the number of residents exceeds 60,000. Many engineers gather here from all over the world, and the number of people of Asian descent seems to be about the same as the number of people from the United States.
The meeting comprised two parts: a summit for SGH department heads and a quarterly business meeting within Stratus. The latter is something that I have taken part in many quarters, so I have a good idea of how they flow, but the former is my first experience, and I am looking forward to it. I would also like to learn about technology areas such as high-performance computing and AI that complement Stratus’ business. I hope to write another blog about this in the future, and I encourage you to keep an eye out.