Collaborating With Japan On Big Data

UK industry leaders and technology experts explain how Japan can benefit from British expertise and developed capabilities in Big Data.

On 7 February 2014, UK Trade & Investment Japan held a Big Data seminar at the British Embassy Tokyo.

Export to Japan was there to catch up with key invited companies and academics to hear about the opportunities the UK has to collaborate with Japan on Big Data.

Senior Science & Innovation Officer, Seiichi Asano, also presents an overview of the Japanese Big Data market and the areas where British expertise could make a real impact.


Report On The Seminar

With over 100 guests attending from a variety of professional backgrounds the seminar provided an excellent forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities relating to Big Data.

HMA Tim Hitchens opened proceedings by reminding everyone how the UK is home to many advanced and sophisticated Big Data centres and thus is a natural choice when looking to invest in this rapidly growing sector.

Dr Chris Moore of UK Trade and Investment developed this point, identifying health, energy, life sciences, finance, entertainment, retail, security, and government as key areas for Big Data expansion. Big Data is one the UK’s “Eight Great Technologies” and consequently has been targeted for investment from various research councils and the Technology Strategy Board.

Just this month Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced a £73 million investment in the Big Data sector, a sector which is estimated to be worth £216 billion and to create 58,000 new jobs by the year 2017.

There exist a whole host of different areas where companies can engage with the British Big Data industry including incubating start-ups, establishing sales offices to sell products and services, and partnering with the UK’s world-class universities.

The ease of doing business and various tax incentives are just some of the many other reasons to work with the UK’s Big Data companies.

The seminar then heard some of the practical applications of Big Data technologies. Masaru Kitrsuregawa of the National Institute of Informatics described how vast sets of data can be used to provide early warnings of earthquakes and tsunami.

Atsushi Ugajin, General Manager of Hitachi’s Healthcare IT business offered an insight into Hitachi’s cooperative project with the National Health Service in the Greater Manchester area using Big Data to tackle lifestyle diseases.

Speaking as Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, Professor Helen Margetts described the public policy applications of Big Data.

From the private sector, CEO of Mastodon C, Francine Bennett, told the seminar of the work her company has been carrying out in the energy and health sectors, and for local government. We not only saw the value Big Data sets can have but also the importance of making this data legible.

Elisabeth Weise, COO of CarbonCulture told the seminar how CarbonCulture uses engaging infographics to work with civil service employees to lower energy consumption.

As a world leader in Big Data technologies the UK is well positioned to export this kind of expertise to Japan. Mastodon C and CarbonCulture are but two of the many Big Data companies able to offer valuable services to Japanese businesses.

The seminar also had to the opportunity to hear from Professor Mark Girolami, Department of Statistics, Warwick University, about the relationship between Big Data and applied statistics; Scott Thiel, Foreign Legal Consultant at DLA Piper Hong Kong, about the legal implications of working with Big Data; and Peter Knight, Head of Research Information and Intelligence in the Research and Development Directorate at the Department of Health, who discussed the issues that surround working with private and sensitive information.

The afternoon’s seminar provided plenty of material for a lively Q&A session followed by a reception. All those present were treated to a fascinating and insightful seminar.

What became immediately apparent was not only how accessible and suitable the UK market is for investment in the Big Data sector, but also how British companies can offer Japanese organisations unparalleled expertise when handling huge volumes of information.

This dynamic industry will not doubt play a vital role in the world economy and represents a fruitful area for the UK and Japan to work together.


For more information on the opportunities for British companies in the Big Data market in Japan, or for advice and support in entering the market: Contact our IT & Communications team or Send Us Your Enquiry.


April 2014