Message from the President February.2017

Message from the President February.2017

Contributing to Productivity Improvement

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest exhibition in the United States related to consumer electronics, was held in Las Vegas in the U.S. state of Nevada immediately after we entered 2017.

I feel the CES, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, began to change significantly around 2010. Until then, the CES carried the strong impression of a place where the latest consumer electronics, such as video cassette recorders, CD players, television sets and DVD recorders, as well as the technologies they used, made a debut on a stand-alone basis. In recent years, however, all products have been designed with a focus on “connection.” My impression is that the CES has changed its character to become a place where manufacturers propose “new values” generated through the interconnection of information obtained with multiple products and technologies.

There are many CES exhibitors among manufacturing companies in Japan that are MEITEC’s customers. Customers that actually took part in the CES told me that many companies unthinkable from this exhibition’s past status as a trade show for consumer electronics, such as automakers and housing manufacturers, are exhibiting their products at the show today. Products, equipment and technologies that make our lives more convenient are fusing into one across industrial boundaries, and an enormous volume of information obtained from their fusion is being analyzed for proposing to the market added value that satisfies the “sensitivity” of consumers.

I have the feeling that this fusion may contribute significantly to industry from the perspective of labor productivity, too. Japan has the third largest economy in the world. In spite of that, per capita labor productivity in Japan remains low compared with other major powers. Improving labor productivity is essential in view of the outlook that the ongoing trend toward smaller workforces will continue in Japan. To deal with this issue, manufacturers in Japan are now very much focused on developing technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and robots that can substitute for human labor force. They are shaping a trend toward automation and full automation by extension.

I’m convinced that engineers at MEITEC can press on to innovate technologies as partners for manufacturers in Japan in the midst of changes and continue contributing to labor productivity improvement in Japan. Taking an active interest in fields outside their individual area of expertise and gaining knowledge are extremely important for performing these roles.

I would also like engineers at MEITEC to be aware of the point that processes for developing technologies and manufacturing products are connected to each other no matter what category of business or industry they might be involved in. The “composite career” that each and every engineer builds based on his or her diverse experiences links with the innovation in customer technologies precisely because those processes are connected. That career will ultimately contribute to improving labor productivity at Japanese companies.

Engineers at MEITEC always bear on their shoulders “creative roles” no machine or robot can substitute for. I want them to have self-confidence and to take pride in the fact that those roles are sought by leading manufacturers around the world.

February, 2017