Soko Aoki, Ph. D.
Chief Executive Officer of Kadinche Corporation
Many IT venture companies have leveraged advanced technologies and spread the use of products and services that meet society’s needs. Soko Aoki, Chief Executive Officer of Kadinche Corporation, utilizes 360-degree panoramic video processing technology to offer a VR-driven remote operation system for heavy machinery and safety training solution for railway companies. We interviewed Mr. Aoki and asked him about tips on how a technology-driven venture company like Kadinche can play an active role in Tokyo based on the company’s ongoing projects.
Q: With the booming VR, what is Kadinche’s main focus now?
A: We recently collaborated with a construction company and developed a realistic video system that allows the user to operate heavy machinery from a remote location as if he/she is right there in the machinery. We also developed a virtual factory providing VR experience of a pharmaceutical factory and a 3D VR watch simulator displaying the
sophisticated internal structure of a watch. Providing B to B (inter-enterprise) solutions that applies VR technology to corporate marketing and promotional activities is the basis of our business.
Q: Please share your company history from the time of establishment to the present.
A: I joined a major electronics company where I was assigned to work in a video signal processing R&D laboratory, but when the lab was shut down, I decided to start a business with my co-worker in 2008. Around that time, a 3D metaverse “Second Life” was very popular and we wanted to create a live-action version of the virtual world. We faced many difficulties in the first three years, but sometime in the fourth year, we started to build a thriving business. One accomplishment led to another and our business has expanded steadily since then. Shifting from just exploring ways to use VR to actually generating specific use cases gave us a strong boost to our business.
Q: What is your future direction and vision?
A: We plan to further improve our 360-degree panoramic video processing technology and technical know-how that we consider the most advanced in the world. We are also putting a lot of effort into studying deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to build a network model that combines all values on the cloud. As for the company growth, we want to continue steady operation without rapid growth.
Q: What do you think of the high expectations for using VR technology for sports events like the Olympics?
A: VR technology was used for the Rio 2016 Olympics. As VR technology is increasingly applied to basketball and baseball games, I believe that sports and VR are highly compatible. Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be an exciting opportunity for Kadinche to publicize our cutting-edge VR technology to the world. We hope to play a part in the event by making excellent proposals.
Q: So, would you say that searching for ways to use VR is over and companies can now offer specific proposals on using VR?
A: Devices that helps accelerate the spread of VR, such as a wearable device with Head Mounted Display (HMD), are being developed and becoming increasingly available on the market. This has helped us increase our business opportunities including large sports events. We hope to offer solutions that other companies can’t.
Q: And finally, what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of doing a business in Tokyo?
A: The biggest advantage is the environment that providers of VR-related technologies as well as the users demand advanced solutions, which is both stimulating and motivating to us. One disadvantage is the difficulty in hiring qualified engineers. We have a Vietnamese engineer who graduated from Hanoi University of Science and Technology and hope that there will be more talented foreign engineers in Tokyo interested in joining venture companies in the future.