Usuda Research Institute & Systems Corporation
Succeed in matching to promote creation of new business for IoT field SMEs
The Usuda Research Institute and Systems Corporation (the Usuda Institute) is a J-GoodTech registered company. They develop and produce chips equipped with the world’s best 17-axis sensor for angular velocity (gyroscope), acceleration, atmospheric pressure, light, sound, and temperature. These products are anticipated to have many future uses, such as remote monitoring, predicting breakdowns at production sites, and marketing activities.
We asked the Usuda Institute’s CEO Hiroshi Usuda about how the company successfully partnered with major telecommunications company SoftBank Corporation through J-GoodTech to create new business in the IoT field.
U-BRAIN RS-01: The world’s best 17-axis wearable robotic sensor
First of all, please let us know about strength businesses of your company?
The strength of our company comes from the U-BRAIN RS-01, which is the world’s best 17-axis wearable robotic sensor. The U-BRAIN RS-01 is extremely small and lightweight at 2 grams, but it can sense angular velocity (gyroscope), acceleration, atmospheric pressure, light, sound, and temperature. It features 5-channel I/O in very high-density packaging. It can be applied to the IoT as well as robots and wearable devices. It will also become possible to accelerate system development when introducing sensor hardware thanks to integrated development of wireless units, firmware, middleware, and applications.
We have applied for over 40 patents since 2002, while we were still with Sony, and then obtained 19 non-exclusive licenses and sublicenses when founding our current company. We can develop independent business strategies that don’t rely on other companies for development, technology, or rights when selling or providing our products and technologies to other companies. This is one of our greatest strengths.
J-GoodTech offers many opportunities for business matching
Please tell us about what led you to begin using J-GoodTech.
Our company joined J-GoodTech when it was first launched. At that time, we were housed in an incubation center run by the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, and their manager suggested J-GoodTech to us. I recall that we initially participated in the hope that we would be able to access more markets by making use of J-GoodTech.
What was it like to actually use J-GoodTech?
J-GoodTech offers more than Web matching services. It also provides countless business opportunities such as matching events with major firms and foreign companies, which has been very useful for developing our markets. We were able to sign a distributor agreement with a major company after we became connected through J-GoodTech, which has led to direct customer acquisition and increased sales.
There are many members, and member inquiries have led directly to expanded markets and more customers
Tell us how J-GoodTech differs from other services. Specifically, what advantages does J-GoodTech offer?
We had been using several services provided by private companies, but J-GoodTech has led to more direct expansion of markets for us in comparison to those services.
The biggest difference between J-GoodTech and other services is that most of the business needs communicated by J-GoodTech users tend to be more specific. Their content is more likely to lead to a direct deal for our company. When users send us inquiries through J-GoodTech, it’s more likely that they will lead to deals. With other services, there’s often no response when you reply to requests featured in catalogs, but we feel that inquiries from J-GoodTech users often progress to further stages in comparison.
In that sense, perhaps you could say that J-GoodTech users are looking for more concrete, specific business opportunities and information exchange when they send inquiries.
There are more members on J-GoodTech compared to other websites, so it’s possible to send out notices about our company’s products more broadly. We receive a lot of inquiries as a result. In addition, there are also various opportunities for real-world business matching such as business meetings as well as opportunities for online matching. J-GoodTech has been very useful for directly developing our customer base and increasing sales.
J-GoodTech can be used as a new sales tool for SMEs
What are some specific merits you found to using J-GoodTech?
As I mentioned earlier, J-GoodTech users communicate specific, precise information regarding their business needs, and in many cases, discussions lead to direct business. Due to the cost, it is difficult for our company to hire new sales staff to expand our business operations. By using J-GoodTech we are able to conduct sales activities at no cost. It’s a wonderful system for SMEs.
Timely communication of specific, precise information about company needs
It’s true that the costs involved often make it difficult for SMEs to hire new staff to find and develop new customers.
We are very thankful that we are able to use J-GoodTech to receive information regarding companies’ needs without sales costs. Another merit of the service is that we can use J-GoodTech to see the trends in the kinds of needs major companies have. It’s crucial to know current trends as we continue to develop our company’s products, and we value J-GoodTech because it keeps us up to date with the latest market information.
The effectiveness of online matching in facilitating advancement to business partnerships in a short period of time
This time, collaboration with SoftBank eventually led to an actual business partnership, but specifically how did this matching process progress?
SoftBank was looking for a compact, high-performance sensor with a high number of axes, and was introduced to us through J-GoodTech at the end of August. We were contacted directly by SoftBank staff, which led to the signing of confidentiality agreements for our developments geared toward the future expansion of IoT markets. We are still working with SoftBank at present. This collaboration with SoftBank progressed to a negotiation of partnership in a relatively short period of time, and we are very surprised at how effective matching over the Internet has been.
J-GoodTech’s company page contributes to the promotion of our company
Did you receive inquiries through J-GoodTech from companies other than SoftBank?
In one case, joint development grew out of an inquiry on our company webpage. There are a lot of companies that visit our company website from J-GoodTech. Our company page on J-GoodTech contributes to the promotion of our company itself.
Accelerate collaboration efforts between companies for coexistence and co-prosperity
We are very happy to hear that you have had positive results using J-GoodTech. Could you please make a brief closing statement about how you’ll use J-GoodTech in the future?
We are hoping that we can make more companies aware of potential applications of sensors by posting more application cases of sensors on our company page on the J-GoodTech website. We want to plan for the expansion of demand. For future business, there is a limit to what we can do alone, so it becomes very important for companies to collaborate. There are a lot of great SMEs registered on J-GoodTech, so we’re hoping to find companies that can co-exist and co-prosper with us to accelerate collaboration efforts between companies. Also, we are hoping to promote the business we are conducting in partnership with SoftBank, with the help of J-GoodTech.
Other Remarks (Editor’s Notes)
The Usuda Institute develops and produces chips that other companies cannot copy, equipped with the world’s best 17-axis sensor. Their technological capabilities attracted the attention of a leading company, SoftBank, which then led to a partnership.
It has been for a long time since technology of small and medium-sized companies in Japan, but there are a lot more It has long been said that Japanese SMEs have high technological capabilities, but there are still many more out there that are not well known yet. In the Usuda Institute’s case, this partnership was the result of a major company being introduced to them through J-GoodTech.
At the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, we plan to keep our eyes on SMEs like these that offer outstanding technological capabilities and services. We will pursue activities that will give them more exposure to major companies.