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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Seeking a partner to realize "Construction DX" with Furuno Electric's in-house venture!

With sensing, information processing, and information and communications as its three core technologies, Furuno Electric is a global provider of marine electronic equipment such as fish finders and a variety of solutions that contribute to society and industry. The company is leveraging its technological capabilities to take on the challenge of digitizing the construction industry in a completely new area. By launching an in-house venture project, the company is actively developing communication and sensor devices suited to the on-site environment to realize digitalization and remote construction in the construction industry. However, it is difficult for a single company to realize "Construction DX," which solves various problems in the construction industry, so the "FURUNO Construction DX Accelerator" was implemented. We interviewed Mr. Shotaro Ishino, head of the company's in-house venture Construction DX business, to find out exactly what kind of co-creation they are aiming for.

Leveraging our technological strengths to promote new business ventures within the company.

--What is the nature of Furuno Electric's business?

Since its establishment, MHI has provided a variety of navigational and communication equipment for fishing and merchant vessels in Japan and abroad since 1948, when the company succeeded in commercializing the world's first "fish finder" in 1948.

We are also developing industrial electronic devices based on these technologies for healthcare, infrastructure maintenance, weather management, wireless LAN, GPS, disaster prevention, and surveillance solutions.

The goal is to,By making full use of the three core technologies of sensing, information processing, and information and communication, we make "invisible" things visible to the human eye, such as "conditions under the sea and around ships," "ground displacement," and "human health conditions.Things to do.Research and development for "realization of a safe, secure, comfortable, human- and environment-friendly society and navigationWe are also working on

--What is the background behind the introduction of the Accelerator Program?

Create value in new markets by leveraging technological capabilities cultivated in existing businessesThis is to do so. Therefore, I raised my hand in the system of internal ventures and launched a project to realize the "Construction DX" in 2019.

Although this is a challenge for a completely different market, the "Wi-Fi system for construction sites," which we developed by leveraging our strengths in communications and sensing technologies, has received a positive response and is beginning to penetrate the market, and thankfully, installations are continuing. The most recent example is the installation at a skyscraper in front of Tokyo Station.

However, even if we want to digitize the job site and solve the diverse issues facing the construction industry, there are limits to what we can do alone. We believe that startups have theIntegration with technologies, services and ideasWe wanted to create a new market together by doing so.

We want to transform construction sites with technology and services.

--You are seeking a partner to collaborate with an in-house venture company that is challenging a new area. Could you tell us why you launched your in-house venture?

I joined Furuno Electric 11 years ago as a new graduate,Taking on the challenge of entering new areas by utilizing Furuno Denki's technologies and resourcesI thought that we needed to In addition to the existing markets where we had market share, we needed to expand our business in new markets. The company's new management vision set a goal for new business expansion, and the opportunity arrived in 2019.

Among them, I specialized in the construction industry because I exhibited at a trade show with a prototype to explore which markets could benefit from the wireless communication technology in which I specialize.

At the time, I was interested in a variety of fields, and one of the people who listened to me most attentively was a person in the construction industry. It was a person in the construction industry who listened to me and encouraged me to go to the construction sites more often. Indeed, I became strongly interested in using our technology to help solve the many problems in the construction industry, and I decided to take on the challenge of working in the construction industry.

--What do you hope to achieve with this accelerator?

There are two major ones, one being.Construction innovation through remote construction and technology to shorten construction periodThe construction industry is facing a serious shortage of human resources due to the aging of the workforce and a shortage of qualified workers. The construction industry is facing a serious shortage of human resources due to an aging workforce and a shortage of qualified workers, and construction costs are also increasing due to soaring material costs.

In the future, automated construction by robots may be realized, but first we would like to realize labor saving, shortened construction period, and remote construction by DXing. We would like to transform on-site operations by combining our technologies with those of startups, such as visualization of the work site and automation of complicated tasks.

The other is "Innovations in the working environment at construction sitesIt is a "3K" environment. We want to help change the 3K (hard, dirty, and dangerous) environment of construction sites into a new 3K environment of "good pay, vacation, and hope," so that all people involved in the field can enjoy, ease, and enrich their work.

For example, we would like to create new value with startups with a variety of perspectives, from a new reward system using blockchain, to sanitation technology for a clean and comfortable environment, to the fields of education and food tech.

We want you to make the most of our resources.

--What resources are available for startups to take advantage of?

First, it has been cultivated in existing businesses,Hardware and software development, manufacturing expertise, world-class production facilities, 35 locations nationwide and 27 worldwide, and a network of 3,000 employeesSuch as.

And, we have cultivated it in our in-house ventures.Pipes to the construction industry, including major general contractors and a nationwide network of distributors, the ability to propose products and services, the mobility and ability to conduct on-site demonstrations, and the ability to build commercial distribution and sales marketingtroops, and others.

--What kind of technology or idea would you like to co-create with a startup?

The affinity is high for services and technologies that can improve productivity, save labor, and achieve safety and security in the field, and that can change what is known as the 3K field.Startups with new business models and technologiesIt is.

Of course, we would be happy to hear from those who have other technologies and services as well, if you think you can "make use" of some resources we have. We are a manufacturing company, but since this is an opportunity for open innovation, we are looking forward to collaborating with startups that have a variety of strengths without being constrained by conventional frameworks.

We welcome not only specific business ideas, but also the seed of an idea, "Can we make something like this? We can also collaborate in the research and development of new technologies, and if a startup has a service or technology for which the market has not yet been established, we can go and propose it to the construction industry.

In the future, I would like to make work comfortable and enrich the lives of all people working on the front lines of all kinds of sites, not just construction sites, so I would very much like to talk with anyone who has a desire to contribute to work and life.

I want to get ideas out there and brush up on them early on.

--Please tell us about your thoughts on open innovation.

I strongly wanted to create new value for society and do my utmost to realize Construction DX, so when the in-house venture system was established, I was one of the first to raise my hand and take action.

Our members are all specialists in their respective fields who share the same passion. We are proud of our team's enthusiasm for new business, speedy response, and ability to execute, and we look forward to working with you to give tangible form to your dreams and determination.

Although we are a newcomer to the construction industry, we are now recognized as a company with technological capabilities through our participation in large-scale exhibitions and media exposure. General contractors now feel free to consult with us about on-site problems, and our people-to-people relationships are now one of our strengths.

We would like to speedily try out our initiatives with startups and propose them to our customers. We would like to improve our products and services based not on our standards, but on what our customers think is valuable.On-site-ism is Furuno Electric's mottoIt is.

Together with those who share our vision, we hope to produce transcendent results that cannot be achieved by a single company. If you think you can do something with us, even a little, we would like to challenge you to do it with us. We look forward to hearing from you.

name of companyFuruno Electric Co.
EstablishmentMay 23, 1951
head office9-52 Ashihara-cho, Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo 662-8580
representativeRepresentative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer Yukio Furuno
Business OverviewMarine business, industrial business, wireless LAN/handy terminal business, other business
uniform resouce locatorhttps://www.furuno.co.jp
Mr. Shotaro Ishino Head of Construction DX Business, Technical Research Institute, Furuno Electric Co.
He graduated from Hiroshima University with a degree in engineering and Keio University with a degree in law, both in arts and sciences. After graduating from Hiroshima University with a master's degree in engineering, he joined Furuno Electric Co. Since then, he has been engaged in research and development of microwave circuits and wireless systems. Consistently working on the development of new products, technologies, and markets, he has been in charge of the Construction DX business since 2019. He aims to realize a society where all people involved in the field can work lively and live prosperous lives.
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Tomomi Tamura
He joined Snow Brand Milk Industry in 2000. He then worked for an advertising agency and as a sole proprietor before joining BizReach in 2012. Engaged in content creation, he joined NewsPicks in 2016 as an editor on the BrandDesign team, and is now a freelance writer and editor.
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