In place of its annual Fujitsu Forum global conference, Fujitsu gather staff, customers and partners together online for the virtual ActivateNow event.

Kathy Gibson attended the event.


Time to reimagine business is now

It is time to reimagine how our businesses and societies can be better.

That’s the overriding message from Takahito Tokita, CEO and chief digital transformation officer of Fujitsu, talking to delegates at the company’s virtual global forum.

Innovation is set to have a massive effect on our lives and society, he says.

“Last year now feels like a different world. It is hard to imagine that in Japan we had 40 000 sales and engineering staff working in the same rooms as our customers – this is completely changed.”

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How Mars Petcare pivoted during Covid

As Covid-19 and resultant lockdowns swept across the world, business leaders had to quickly transform business and work styles in a world of uncertainty.

Mars Petcare recognised early in March that it needed to switch to a work-from-home environment, says CIO Miao Song. But that was just the start of how the business had to change.

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Technology is not alone in driving the future workplace

Technology is having a huge influence on the future workplace – but it’s by no means the only driver of the new world of work.

Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at the London Business School and co-author of The 100-Year Life, points out that technologies like automation and augmentation are changing the way people work, allowing workers to focus on human skills like empathy, understanding, judgement and creativity.

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Design key in making technology human-centric

As the world of work changes, design thinking is driving a new way of developing solutions.

Venanzio Arquilla, associate professor at POLI.Design University in Milan, says the role of design thinking is key in the move to digital transformation.

“Design is more relevant than ever today,” he says. “We need a pragmatic way of designing technology solutions. Design thinking is a good tool for companies and government to define new ways of living.”

Arquilla stresses that the object of design is always to create a better life for people, and needs to combine a mix of strategic components.

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Supercomputing pushes the boundaries of research

High-performance computing is leading the fight against Covid-19.

Research around the novel coronavirus is just one of the tasks being performed by the Fugaku supercomputer, jointly developed by Riken and Fujitsu and ranked as the most powerful in the TOP500 list of the world’s supercomputers.

Satoshi Matsuoka, director of the national flagship HPC research centre of Japan, Riken RCS, says the project to build Fugaku was undertaken over 10 years.

“It was a moonshot project, with many divergent and contradictory purposes. But we succeeded in building it.”

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Fujitsu wants to be a trusted innovator

Innovation is important to Fujitsu’s identity, and this has stood the company in good stead in 2020.

Hidenori Furuta, chief technology officer, points out that Fujitsu recently celebrated its 85th anniversary. “During that time, it has undergone many changes, transforming from a telecommunications company to an IT company and now to a digital transformation company. Technology innovation has always remained at the core of our identity.”

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How lockdown drove a new way of working

Global lockdowns aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 have given rise to a new and more digital world of work.

Martin Schultz, chief policy economist at Fujitsu, says the coronavirus crisis gave rise to what has effectively been a huge experiment to see what happens when a mega city like Tokyo moves from the office to the home office.

“In Tokyo, overall mobility dropped by 80%,” he says. “There were some huge challenges with lockdown, but it actually went pretty well.”

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Ethics is central to the application of AI

Artificial intelligence is becoming pervasive in many industries, opening up the question of the ethical use of the technology.

“With the global prevalance of AI today, and its ubiquitous role in business, trust has never before been so important,” says Dr Aisha Naseer, research manager at Fujitsu Laboratories Europe.

To drive trust in AI technology, she says it’s important that a sound ethical platform is established.

“AI needs to be fair, accountable and transparent,” Dr Naseer says.

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