March 1, 2019
On February 27 (Wed.), 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the IoT Acceleration Lab held the Sixth IoT Lab Selection, an event where awards are presented for outstanding projects that take advantage of IoT-based technologies. The companies and entities that undertook the most outstanding projects were selected and presented with the Grand Prix award and other awards.
Summary of the event
With the advent of IoT, big data and AI, industries and society as a whole are seeing significant changes all over the world. In response to this situation, it is necessary for Japan, as well as other countries, to create new IoT business models, uncover and develop IoT platform creators, and use them as a driving force for new growth.
The IoT Acceleration Lab was established to cultivate and select advanced IoT projects and provide the selected projects with thorough support in terms of collaboration with enterprises, finance and regulations, and develop environments in which the results of the projects can be implemented on a large scale, including regulatory reforms or the creation of new systems. As part of the efforts, the IoT Acceleration Lab called for a broad range of applicants and, on February 27 (Wed.), 2019, held the Sixth IoT Lab Selection event.
At the event, the five finalists which had passed the earlier first and second rounds of selections made presentations before the public and the winners were selected. The IoT Acceleration Lab recognized the winners of the Grand Prix and Semi Grand Prix as follows.
Winner: Hinata Designs Inc.
Title of project: Service for recommending products to customers taking advantage of data on size and purchase history
Outline of the project: The company established a size-based product recommendation platform. On the platform, customers are able to check pictures of target products (clothing and home appliances) which the company offers for sale through e-commerce. In particular, using augmented reality (AR), the customers are able to view the products as they would appear in real life circumstances so they can determine if the products are suitable to their body or living space dimensions before they purchase the products. Centering on the platform, the company has been accumulating information from purchase histories of customers, such as data on the physical dimension of customers (e.g., height and shoe size) from purchased clothing, and data on their living environment (e.g., sizes of rooms and storage space) from previously-purchased furniture and home appliances. Through this effort, the company aims to provide quick, quality services in which it sends information and recommendations to customers on products that are considered suitable to such customers.
Semi Grand Prix:
Winner: Novars Inc.
Title of project: MaBeee, a battery-shaped IoT product that facilitates development of other IoT products
Outline of the project: The company developed MaBeee, a new battery-shaped device. Using this device, companies facing challenges such as power-saving design and down-sizing in developing IoT products, such as built-in wireless equipment, are able to solve the problems and users are also able to make one device communicate with other devices. If users operate MaBeee by smartphone or another device, they are able to remotely turn on or off battery-driven products or make the operation of such products visible through an application. The company aims to introduce MaBeee into all products in people’s daily lives to further advance IoT.
- Hachi Tama Inc.
Title of project: A cat toilet that helps detect urinary sickness in cats at an early stage
- Z-Works Inc.
Title of project: Ganbaranai Kaigo, a project for supporting caregivers in maintaining and improving their quality of life
- Singular Perturbations
Title of project: Crime Nabi, a system for forecasting crime with the world’s highest accuracy - Toward development of a control tower that monitors IoT terminals to prevent crimes -
In collaboration with government-related organizations, financial institutes, venture capital businesses and other support organizations, the IoT Acceleration Lab will provide the winners of the two projects and the finalists of the three projects with financial support, escorting-mentors’ support, and support for regulatory reforms and standardization.
Moreover, METI and the IoT Acceleration Lab aim to promote the creation of business models in which organizations utilize IoT, AI, or big data in rural areas; and new businesses that an existing company or other entity has established by mobilizing its technology and changing employees’ working styles. To this end, they called for applicants engaging in projects and recognized outstanding organizations from those applicants for the following two awards:
- Regional Vitalization Award: This award aims to recognize an outstanding organization engaging in a project that contributes to solving regionally-unique challenges or vitalizes the regional economy; and
- Entrepreneur Award: This award aims to recognize an outstanding organization engaging in a project that encourages employees to execute leadership in a new, pioneering internal business that takes advantage of existing internal human resources, technologies, knowhow and other elements; or promote innovations in a newly established organization that takes the form of a spin-off, carve-out or split-off.
Regional Vitalization Award:
Winner: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Title of project: Measures for regional vitalization through a project titled “Agri-innovations Lab @ Yamanashi City”
Outline of the project: The company established a public-private collaborative body in collaboration with Yamanashi City and JA Fruits Yamanashi as major members of the body. The body installed IoT-based sensors and other equipment in fruit fields in Yamanashi City, a region with agriculture at its core industry, and advanced efforts involving farm work, such as reduction of heavy work or labor saving, simplification of steps for succession of skills and leveling of quality. Through these efforts, the company aims to establish a social foundation on which people involved in agriculture can establish sustainability and achieve profitable agriculture that bolsters the community.
Winner: SB Innoventure Corp.
Title of project: conect+ project
Outline of the project: The company was established based on the approval of SoftBank Group Corp., a company promoting efforts for discovering and fostering international entrepreneurs, through an internal start-up project titled “SoftBank InoVenture.” SB Innoventure Corp. promotes the development of products and related projects in a rapid manner, a business style that is different from other large companies in Japan, and has been advancing business efforts with other cooperating companies in a variety of fields. It has developed a new application and a cloud computing-based service collectively known as “conect+.” Through this service, users who wish to start using an IoT technology are able to easily create an IoT-based application. Hoping to enrich society through IoT, IT designers and developers at the company provide a service in which users are able to create a functional, visually-beautiful IoT-based application with no programming or design skill.
For details of the IoT Lab Selection, visit the following website: