This year and next, both Japan and Germany – the technology powerhouses of Asia and Europe – have honed in solidly upon IoT (Internet of Things) as a central theme for their premiere electronics/ICT showcases, namely CEATEC and CeBIT. As of October 2016 it has been decided that CeBIT 2017 being held in March next year at its regular Hannover venue will have Japan as its “Partner Country.”
At CEATEC 2016, an agglomeration of the former Japan Consumer Electronics and Communications Tokyo confabs, the limelight was indeed firmly placed upon IoT in a marked shift away from devices and electronic gadgets for the plebian consumer. One indication of this was the holding of a day-long seminar focused on “wears”... not wearable devices almost set to gain prevalence but actual clothing/fashion items.
Taking center stage for this seminar was the startup Styler, headed by CEO Tsubasa Koseki. Formerly involved in major banks and electronic commerce (Amazon) generally, he established his company when he spotted a field with minimal competition: using the Internet for customized yet affordable tailoring services, in high demand among affluent but busy professionals that need to maintain their “brand” image.
Although there were websites selling ready-made clothing and such, these have all tended to offer inexpensive items. Styler calls for implementation by the fashion community of “real technology” entailing data use, which requires education. However the future return from adoption of such a consulting sales-type approach is promising, perfect for a sector having a short business span and still require versatility offline.
In a nutshell the targeting of O2O (online to offline) market by the savvy former banker with experience at both Japanese and British financial outfits is founded on recognition of the multiplying Smartphone users' widespread impact. While FinTech providers have espied such potential in their sector, the Styler founder is paving the way for his 2-years-old business to transition old-line retailing into “FashionTech” (his coinage).
Headquartered in the trend-conscious Shibuya ward of Tokyo, Mr. Koseki keeps a keen lookout on the emerging markets from where many inbound visitors gather in his current neighborhood. With an eye to expansions abroad beginning with the Asian region, obviously such commercial astuteness from sharp Japanese businesspeople like him gives credence to the logical German wish to partner with Japan.