NEC touts ‘smart innovation’ for competitiveness

Bringing nation's varied tech strengths together deemed vital for revival

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Fusing technologies of electronics industries, a Japanese strength, with other businesses is vital for the nation to increase its global competitiveness, NEC Corp. Chairman Kaoru Yano said Tuesday.

Speaking during the opening day of Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies, or CEATEC, held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, Yano said “smart innovation” is the answer in revitalizing Japan’s economy and industry.

“Smart innovation is the way for Japan to survive. To be honest, we are facing tough competition with South Korea and China, but the Japanese industry consists of broad fields, which is an advantage that we should use to provide what the rivals cannot provide,” said Yano.

Smart innovation connects information and communication technology, or ICT, and electronics more deeply to other industries’ services, which will trigger new services and business models, Yano said.

For instance, Yano said despite the differences in their business field, NEC and Nissan Motor Co. have been jointly producing lithium-ion batteries, which are used for Nissan’s first electric vehicle Leaf.

He added that although Japan has high-quality Internet infrastructure, there are still some industries that are not taking its full advantage, such as medical care, agriculture and finance, partly due to regulations.

Panasonic Corp. President Fumio Otsubo also expressed the importance of innovation focusing on smart technology as well as eco-friendly products, saying people’s lifestyles have been changing at the global level with more awareness of the environment.

“Under such a tendency, the electronics industry can play a big role,” he said.

For instance, Panasonic can provide products like solar panels, fuel cells, LED lighting and electricity management systems, which together enable homes to save, create, store and manage their energy systems, he said.

Otsubo added the needs for the environmentally friendly products will increase in emerging economies as well, so there is a chance to spread them to worldwide.

Glasses-free 3-D TVs

KYODO

Toshiba Corp. said Monday it will release a 55-inch glasses-free 3-D television with high display resolution and the world’s thinnest, lightest tablet, both in mid-December in Japan.

The REGZA 55X3 television with a price tag of around ¥900,000, comes with the so-called quad full high-definition panel, which boasts display images four times finer than high-definition resolution, the company said.

Toshiba is aiming for monthly output of 1,000 units, and eyeing markets including China and North America, Masaaki Osumi, head of Toshiba’s digital products business, said at a news conference in the city of Chiba.

Toshiba also unveiled the REGZA Tablet AT700, an Android 3.2-powered computer just 7.7 mm thick and weighing 558 grams.