02 Tokyo NOV 2017
Belle Salle Shiodome   Open in Google Maps

The event

On November 2, 2017, approximately 200 people gathered at the Connected Ink Tokyo. 

Starting a series of speeches by evangelists and business leaders from Wacom and VIPs from partner companies was Nobu Ide, currently Wacom’s EVP and slated to take over the role of Representative Director, President & CEO of the company.

Nobu Ide said “Since its foundation in 1983, Wacom has always been thinking how to help creators around the world unleash their creativity. In what way can we make this world a creative place and what technology should we provide to make it happen. I think the Board Members of Digital Stationery Consortium,  Inc (DSC) are equally passionate in their initiatives such as “Replacing paper used in everyday life with digital paper”, “Offering the best learning experience to students through the tablet devices”, “Making handwritten digital communication a normal daily activity with telecommunication”, “Providing the stationery experience like no other by combining the best pen, ink and paper” or “Advancing the traditional business forms with the power of digital technology”. The objective of DSC and Connected Ink is to “spark” the passions and ideas of these likeminded partners to get innovations going”.

Masahiko Yamada, President & CEO of Wacom, said “Connected Ink event started with the passion to make this world a creative place by supporting people in unleashing their creativity in various unique ways. As you know, Wacom has been providing tools for people to express their ideas, and we have been serving to creative society with our pen tablets.  However, those who use pen tablets are only a handful of the whole population, and the vast majority of them uses pens and ink to think things over and capture or shape ideas. Ink is particularly important in that it is a powerful tool to share creative ideas with someone else. Without ink, none of human being’s feats would have been possible - be it literature, art, science, philosophy, law, culture or civilization. 

That said, things put on traditional paper are physically fixed there and immovable. Things expressed with digital ink are highly movable and easy to share with many people over the cloud. The key to innovation lies here. Harnessing the power of digital ink, human creativity is about to take a huge leap. Sooner rather than later, people all over the world will enjoy the benefit of digital ink, and we need to ensure seamless transition to digital ink by establishing reliable digital ink standards.  Connected Ink has entered the phase of delivering tangible results and we would like to work with all people who are present today”.  

Faik Karaoglu, Wacom’s EVP in charge of Creative Business Unit, took to the stage and explained the key building blocks around DSC and Connected Ink – i.e. Inkathon (a hackathon dedicated to digital ink and pen), Wacom Innovation Hub in which Wacom works with start-ups and developers to set up a proof of concept, Marketplace (online market for creative and digital ink software) to support developers and start-ups in the go-to-market platform as well as platforms like Connected Ink and Digital Stationery Consortium, Inc. to introduce developers and start-ups to the digital stationery ecosystem and connect it with other ecosystems by partners and industries.  

Putting all these building blocks together, Wacom would like to develop the market in collaboration with partners.  

Heidi Wang, VP of Product Management & Business Development, elaborated more on WILL™(Wacom Ink Layer Language) as universal digital ink technology. She introduced several real use cases using the power of digital ink. The first was augmented note-taking, where note-taking experiences have become much richer integrated with more data. The second is digital education, where learning and teaching can be more interactive and engaging. The third is business workflow which saves time and paper, and increases security levels by collecting biometric data. The fourth is VR and AR where you can write in the air and attach it in the virtual reality world. Heidi Wang also touched on WILL SDKs for partners to implement the technology, such as “WILL SDK for devices” to connect hardware and digital ink, “WILL SDK for ink” to capture and convert digital ink data with all kinds of applications, “WILL SDK for signature” for digital signature verification and “WILL SDK for documents” to enable digital ink workflow in B2B.    

Following Heidi Wang, Akiyuki Kake, Senior Director of Wacom’s Technology Solution Business Unit, came to the stage, accompanied by Hirotaka Tsuda of NTT DOCOMO’s product department and Makoto Imamura, Director of Fujitsu Connected Technologies Marketing’s Sales division.   

Akiyuki Kake of Wacom introduced the ink-based ecosystem formed by Wacom, NTT DOCOMO and Fujitsu through the collaboration around the newly launched Fujitsu “arrows Tab F-02K” to raise the tablet’s attractiveness.  

Makoto Imamura of Fujitsu said that the tablet devices in the past have been about watching content, but we turned our eyes to human being’s natural behavior of “writing on paper” and added a new avenue of tapping into the tablet. We decided to work with Wacom to incorporate the best pen technology for our customers and we are satisfied and excited about this product. 

Hirotaka Tsuda of NTT DOCOMO explained “Communication in our business domain so far has been focused around entertainment, but we believe we can realize communication beyond time and space in the near future. If we use WILL, grandparents can see their grandchildren drawing on the shared screen from the other side of the continent via the internet in an amusing way”.

Rita Chen of Wacom’s marketing joined to demonstrate “Ink Collaboration” where she and her colleague in Sofia, Bulgari wrote in the shared screen while brainstorming over the phone. 

Then, Wacom’s Akiyuki Kake came back to the center of stage and introduced the “Inkathon (Ink + Hackathon) with NTT DOCOMO and Fujitsu” in which three companies collaborate to add new attractive ink app for the “arrows Tab F-02K”.   

Nobu Ide, EVP in charge of Wacom’s technology solution business, demonstrated how digital pen will change the industry. He first showed a pen cartridge which contains everything necessary for a digital pen in a tiny package and delivers unlimited choice for partners whether they manufacture fountain pens, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils or pencils. Second was the Universal Pen Framework which establishes a great pen-paper relationship in the digital world, where Wacom’s pen works whatever a screen there is. To realize this, Wacom will license its pen protocol to every party interested, such as suppliers of smart TVs, car navigation systems or whiteboards not only PCs, tablets and smartphones. Wacom has already been working with partners like display device makers and touch engines to this end. Thirdly, the unique pen ID works great for ink color, log-in key and ink ownership.   

He also introduced partner cases to open the new market of digital stationery, including collaborations with companies such as Microsoft, Google, Eink, reMarkable, Terada Music (digital music score), Samsung (Galaxy Note8), Fujitsu, OKAY (China), Montblanc and Staedtler and emphasized that major industry players are waking up to the real potential of digital pen and ink.  

Shigeaki Choji, General Manager of KOKUYO’s Net Solution Business Development Center, joined Nobu Ide and pointed out that Paper-centric mindset is still strong in Japan but the importance of sharing digitally is also increasing day by day.  “In light of that, we implemented the hybrid solution of digital ink and paper. This reduced the time for keeping nursing memos in relevant facilities from 8 minutes to 2 minutes. This shows significant benefit we can gain by digitizing nursing memos and we concur the meaning of DSC.”  

Masahiko Yamada came back to the stage in his function as the DSC chairman, and gave some updates on the progress of DSC such as new promotor members, working groups as well as the Whitepaper on digital stationery market potential, which will become publicly available shortly.  

After the conference program, participants and guests had the chance to mingle and network in the product exhibition area to get the best out of the gathering. Many fruitful discussions about the exciting future of digital pen and ink took place.

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