The week of December 4 we participated in a quarterly business review at our headquarters in Massachusetts, USA. Stratus has a market coverage system in the United States (North and South America), EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), Asia, and Japan. So in addition to the executives at the headquarters, VPs covering each region will get together and hold a meeting.
While key topics in this meeting include future product planning and marketing strategies shared by headquarters, I personally find business trends in other regions the most informative. One is information on what kind of industries are being revitalized and what kind of businesses have received orders. Speaking from more than 30 years of experience in the ICT industry, new technology trends and adoption in projects by forward-thinking companies often start in Europe and the United States. Recently, there have been many cases in Asian countries adopting advanced technologies or starting new services ahead of Japan.
Second, and this is a very practical story, executives at headquarters are evaluated externally on a quarterly basis in the tally of global performance. These are both the performance forecast for the current fiscal year and the forecast for the next fiscal year. When the performance in other regions or the forecast for the next fiscal year is good, even if the performance and forecasts in Japan are moderate, the impact on the whole company is mitigated, and time can be obtained from the head office. Conversely, when business results and forecasts in other regions are severe, Japan needs to work hard to contribute. Therefore, it is important to exchange information with managers in other regions, such as at dinner the night before a plenary meeting.
If you are a foreign-owned company, you will find these things true in most cases. Whether it’s a large publicly-traded company or a company operating under private investors. Although there are differences between companies in terms of what region the market unit is constituted, whether Japan is independent and under the direct control of the head office, and whether it is a country in Asia.
Now, regarding orders received in other regions, we have realized that the degree of contribution of the Industrial Automation (IA) market, which we define, has increased. In the United States and Europe, the scale has become larger than or equal to the financial markets that we have traditionally been good at. Areas such as public safety in the public, building management solutions, highways, railroads, food, water and sewage, and oil & gas. In some cases, the high-tech manufacturing industry has also become a standard platform for production control. Well, it’s subtle whether the Jockey Club (horse racing) falls into this category.
I feel that many of these individual cases will be IoT or edge computing under the widely accepted definition in Japan. An environment in which data generated at the site can be collected, analyzed and judged close to the site. It may work with a data center or the cloud, but that is not the primary thing, and in some cases, it is a system that is used in an environment that is isolated from the external network. High availability is a common denominator across all projects, as this is the case with Stratus.
To change the subject, this time I stayed in New York City for two nights on the way back from a business trip. I could only use it for one day, but it was a very analog trip. Take a photo in front of Dakota House on the day of John Lennon’s death on December 8 or join the singing ring at Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Visit the 9-11 Memorial Museum and look back on the situation at that time. (I felt much better about Bush than President Trump.) Watch a musical called “Beautiful” about composer and singer Carol King.
I tried to be as analog as possible, but in reality, it is not so. I thought I would spend my time just on paper maps and asking people for directions, but if I didn’t get there, I would inevitably rely on Google Maps. If you wait a little on the subway, you will check the operation status on the screen installed on the platform. Personally, I didn’t use Uber, but when I gave up using the bus or subway and called a taxi because it was snowing on the way back, the hotel used an Uber-like system. In Japan, we will increase the number of Free Spots by the time of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympics. In addition, it is expected to increase the number of services that travelers find convenient. I thought it would be good if we could realize as many services as possible that have been realized in Europe, the United States, and in Singapore and Shanghai in Asia, but not in Japan. You don’t have to be the best. Japan has already become a follower in many fields, and it has been so in history.