New Value Creation
With the framework of competition undergoing a major transformation following the advent of the AI and IoT era, monotsukuri (manufacturing) will require novel thinking and approaches along with innovation with an eye toward the future of the world in five and 10 years into the future.
Daikin is tackling this challenge around the world using collaborative innovation led by industry-industry partnerships.
Daikin has engaged in technology exchanges with Daicel Corporation over the course of the last two decades. From 2016, we have been working on co-creation aimed at creating products with value for customers by utilizing Daicel's strengths in innovative "materials technology" and Daikin's strengths in "air conditioning elemental technology," moving beyond our partnership's previous focus on production innovation. As outcomes of these activities, in fiscal 2020 we jointly developed a moisture-permeable membrane total heat exchange element for ventilation equipment and low pressure drop air filter media for large air conditioners following growing worldwide demand for air quality. Based on these outcomes, we plan to expand co-creation aimed at creation of world-first and world-best products in order to resolve social issues.
Moisture-permeable membrane total heat exchange element
In November 2019, Daikin began a demonstration test on a new business model in the United Republic of Tanzania with WASSHA, which provides electricity services to non-electrified areas of Africa using IoT technology. The demonstration test involved examining commercial viability of a subscription-based service for Daikin's highly efficient air conditioners at small shops and homes in Tanzania utilizing WASSHA's business know-how, human resources and sales network in Tanzania. The three-month test ran between November 2019 and February 2020 and included planning of a subscription-based service for air conditioners and building a payment system using mobile money.
As the feasibility of our business model and potential for contributing to the resolution of social issues have been verified, we established a joint venture Baridi Baridi Inc. in June 2020 to accelerate commercialization. The company name was coined from the word baridi, which means cooling in the East African language of Swahili, with the hope of delivering comfortable spaces.
Meanwhile, Daikin is now working to roll out the air conditioner business in Africa, which is today expected to see steady population growth over the long term. We are expanding the business from India to East Africa by exporting highly efficient air conditioners with an inverter developed and produced in India, which similar to Africa requires stable operation despite its unstable electricity supply. In September 2019, we opened an office in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya, and began work on market research locally as well as tapping into local sales networks.
In November 2019, Daikin and Fairy Devices Inc. jointly began working on an initiative to improve work efficiency and quality through the creation of connected workers*1 in service areas such as maintenance and inspections of air conditioners. Fairy Devices will provide its voice recognition, edge AI, and data analysis technologies, while Daikin will contribute its frontline expertise globally, as the two work together to resolve issues faced by service operations.
Specifically, the THINKLET™ smart wearable device and technology stack*2 developed by Fairy Devices and an online app for operational support developed by Daikin will be combined to develop a remote work support solution where experienced service engineers can support and train workers remotely. The two companies aim to use this solution to quickly foster talented service engineers while at the same time improving the technical skills and decision-making abilities of workers not only in Japan but around the world, and realizing high quality frontline operations that are highly efficient and sound.
Furthermore, in February 2021, we invested approximately ¥500 million. We will expand the application of this solution in 13 countries in Asia, Oceania, and Africa that are seeing rapid growth in the air conditioner market.
Daikin has established a collaborative platform called CRESNECT under which it works with a number of partner companies to utilize data gathered from air conditioners in order to come up with new value and services encompassing air and space. Using data that can be gathered from air conditioners, Daikin and the partner companies study how to improve office productivity and maintain worker health and come up with new value and services.
As the first project under CRESNECT, in July 2019 Daikin and partner companies launched demonstration testing aimed at realizing the office of the future at point 0 marunouchi, a membership-based co-working space in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo. In this trial, members of point 0 marunouchi experience spatial content that is conducive to more efficient and healthy working and that is made possible by pooling state-of-the-art technologies, data, and know-how possessed by the CRESNECT partner companies. The aim is to test out how to build a healthy, comfortable office environment and contribute to the creation of new products and services.
The co-working space, point 0 marunouchi, which is managed by point 0, a company invested in by Daikin Industries, Ltd. has received a Gold Rank certification from WELL v2 pilot, an office space evaluation system that aims to establish better living environments. We conduct various verification experiments in this space in collaboration with companies like Okamura Corporation and Panasonic Corporation Life Solutions Company in aiming to find an ideal office space by exchanging expertise in specialized areas of air, space, furniture, and lighting.
In the air and space area, Daikin provides layout to meet the certification criteria for ventilation volume in each room. We are strengthening the air ventilation system and maintaining a good air quality by adding high performance air filters.
Daikin and Hitachi, Ltd. embarked on a collaborative project to create the next-generation production model using IoT to support skills transfer from expert workers as of October 2017.
Combining Daikin's brazing process, which is part of the manufacturing of air conditioners, and Hitachi's advanced image analysis technology, the solution core of the company's Lumada IoT platform, the demonstration project will digitalize the skills of expert workers and trainees so that these can be compared and analyzed in verifying a production model system. The aim of this project is to achieve uniform quality, improve productivity and foster talent at Daikin's production bases inside and outside of Japan.
In fiscal 2018, a support system for training in brazing techniques was incorporated and began operation at three bases: the Sakai Plant, Shiga Plant, and Daikin Ales Aoya Global Training Center. Toward incorporation of this system at all worldwide bases, in addition to using it for actual skills training, we are improving the system for better ease of use by, for example, standardizing teaching processes using the system, improving display methods, and making it multi-lingual.
Our new R&D effort utilizing image analysis on technology for automatically measuring actual working time and work details of production line workers using images taken with cameras installed on the lines is progressing. At present, we have adopted a time measurement system on all assembly line processes, and we are conducting verification of this technology on the frontline of our production operations.
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