Interview with:Ikuo Nakagawa, President, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
18 Jul 2017
The modern office boasts its fair share of advanced technology, but – on a fundamental level – things have remained broadly unchanged since internet access became commonplace. Now, with the onset of advanced data capabilities, functional artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, we’re set for a period of rapid change. Service providers capable of harnessing all these elements and bringing them together for the benefit and unobtrusive adoption of businesses large and small will be key to this transitional period.
In light of this, European CEO spoke to Ikuo Nakagawa, President of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, one such provider shaping the workplace of the future.
How is the Internet of Things changing the modern workplace?
As the modern working environment rapidly changes, so supporting technologies need to develop to keep pace. Konica Minolta is putting a lot of effort and resources into the creation and provision of the workplace of the future, so that people are able to do their best work, with technology serving their needs.
Our IoT strategy aims at building a superior ‘cyber-physical’ system to ensure accurate data collection, using a unique mix of cloud and IoT technologies to support cost-effective decision making. This system turns information from the real world into meaningful cyber analysis and solutions, via superior input devices.
How do you envisage the workplace of the future?
Work is set to become less about where you go and more about what you get done.
Therefore, when formulating the workplace of the future, we need to think less about how it looks and more about what it can actually do for us in terms of productivity, creativity and overall satisfaction. It’s about bringing excitement to business, promoting greater collaboration and productivity, and offering improved efficiency and heightened security.
One of Konica Minolta’s solutions to this challenge is the Workplace Hub – a cutting-edge IoT platform that will not only revolutionise the manufacturing industry by collecting, analysing and sharing data throughout the whole production workflow, but will first and foremost revolutionise the IT environment for SMEs. The Workplace Hub is centred on the office. It unifies all of an organisation’s technology via a single centralised platform, as well as driving efficiencies by reducing the overall costs of IT management and service provision. It provides real-time, data-driven insights that will help to improve business processes.
What role does artificial intelligence play in Konica Minolta’s plans?
Konica Minolta is already planning the next stage of transformation for the workplace of the future. By integrating AI and IoT systems, the Workplace Hub will evolve within the next five years or so to become the Cognitive Hub. This new platform will apply intelligent computing to AI and augmented human intelligence to extend the network of human interfaces, and enhance collaboration between individuals and teams.
The Cognitive Hub will become a nexus for a company’s information flows within the digital workplace, and will provide augmented intelligence-based services that anyone can use easily. It will also be able to connect with the devices of the future, including augmented reality glasses such as our own Wearable Communicator, smart walls, and flexible screens. The Cognitive Hub blends collective company wisdom with AI to gather and process data in a way that makes life easier for individuals, teams and companies, both large and small, helping them to work more efficiently.
What goals do you have for the future?
Our vision is to evolve into a digital company that provides new value to businesses and societies. Deriving from our core businesses of business technologies, performance materials, healthcare and optical systems for industrial use, we aim to predict potential challenges for our customers and create solutions together. Konica Minolta understands itself as a true B2B2P company, and the solutions we create contribute to the benefit of our two million customer base and of society overall.