Opportunities in Technology for Tokyo 2020

This video will introduce opportunities for UK tech companies in view of the Rugby World Cup 2019 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020, both of which will be held in Tokyo. 

Minister Sajid Javid, Member of Parliament for Bromsgrove & UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, arrived in Tokyo for a series of high-profile meetings with the key players involved in the organizing of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. One of the events included a round table, which he chaired, at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

After opening remarks by UK Trade & Investment’s Head of Trade Development Richard Buttrey, Ryo Umezawa, CEO & President, of Hailo, Japan, Sean Nichols, Managing Director of Blippar in Japan, and Phillip Morris, CTO of BT Japan, presented their companies’ accomplishments and the targets they aim to achieve in view of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Hailo is a mobile app that connects taxi drivers to passengers in a safe way, with the added convenience of being cashless. The fact that the app enables people to travel easily in spite of not speaking the language of the host country will be invaluable during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to Mr Umezawa, Hailo are aiming to be an official app for Tokyo 2020, and are paving the way for other British technology companies to get involved. There are likely to be a number of opportunities for British companies to propose services and technology to help people navigate their way around Tokyo and to help them overcome the language barrier as well.

Blippar uses Augmented Reality and Image-Recognition technologies and are moving towards technology that will allow users to Blipp 3D objects, which will allow users to scan their location, find out where they are, and subsequently find out how to get to where they want to go. Mr Nichols believes that such technology will play an important role in the successful delivery of the Games in Tokyo in six years’ time by allowing people to find their location more easily, and get to where they are going with minimal hassle. This opens the door for British companies to collaborate with existing companies in Japan and bring their expertise to the forefront.

BT has been involved with organising the security for Tokyo 2020, passing on their previous experience from their involvement of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A big part of their work involves coordinating transport services, liaising with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, and ensuring unified communications in the areas of security and technology. Any UK companies with experience in these sectors will have good opportunities to enter the Japanese market over the next few years.

The Minister was very clear that there are a number of ways for British companies to get involved in the planning and organisation of Tokyo 2020, especially for technology companies in the areas of cyber security and social media. The successful post-Games reuse of infrastructure in London, as well as the marketing of Great Britain as a brand, which boosted tourism in the year after the Games, are two areas where Japan can benefit from UK expertise.

British companies who wish to enter the Japanese market can get a range of services from sending direct enquiries and the chance to attend trade missions and similar events from UKTI, to the more comprehensive services offered by such companies as Intralink and Business Link Japan.

Other participants of the round table event included Chikako Hara, General Manager of BBC Worldwide; Hideichi Okada, Senior Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation; Takehiko Katsuo, Producer at Nikkei BP; Kei Wakabayashi, Editor-in-Chief at Wired, Japan; and Huw Thomas, Managing Director at Intralink Japan.

Company profiles

Hailo was founded in London in 2011 by three taxi drivers and three Internet entrepreneurs, and has since gone on to secure several investors, including Sir Richard Branson, and branch out into 27 countries. Hailo came to Japan in 2012 and was launched in Osaka. It will be released in Tokyo next year.

Blippar was launched in London in 2011, and has gone from strength to strength. It is a visual browser for a physical world, and uses Augmented Reality and Image-Recognition technologies to provide users with an interactive view of the world around them when they Blipp an object such as a product, poster, or an advertisement. They already work with some of the biggest companies in the world, and count Sir Richard Branson as a fan.

Article by Vanessa Holden, December 2014