Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Amazing OKI Technology

Last week, I visited OKI, a major japanese telecom product vendor, to help creating a better technical relationship for the telecom vertical between OKI and Red Hat JBCP team. Along with our technical meetings I got to see one of their new products in action.

It's no secret that Japan is way ahead in many IT&Telecom fields. New things are developed fast and pushed to the market quickly. As a result, the people I see on the streets are almost always "on the phone" - looking the the screen, pressing some buttons or waving the phone around. I quickly learned that the phones usually come with tons of apps and services that make you stick around such as built-in contact-less e-wallets chips, bar-code readers, TV (the Japanese TV is crazy!) and what not. I don't even mention the browsers and all the internet/IP services here. You can walk through the subway doors with the phone in your hand and the ticketing transactions occur automatically. You can scan some QR code to pick up information about items in the store, on the street or elsewhere.

Obviously, when you create a new service here, you can leverage a lot of unique infrastructure, but the Japanese market is massive and very saturated and staying on top is a real challenge.

The new product from OKI is up for the challenge. It is an advanced platform for a variety of services delivered in a unique integrated and rich user interface. Basically you call a number, it turns out the service you dialed supports streaming the enhanced user interface and your phone picks it up. Your TV, PC or other devices at home can join the service session and show you visually the current menus in the service or the results of your operations. The feedback from the system is both audio and video updated accurately in real time on all devices in the session. With your voice you can navigate through the menus or ask operations to be executed. You could use DTMF to enter a password or a code privately in case you don't want to speak out confidential information to feed the system. One of the coolest features is that if you are not at home, you could use some nearby ATM or other kiosk in Japan as a display. So, you are walking on the street and you just literally tell your phone to move the visualization to the kiosk and it's there. Additionally, kiosk and other devices may have more UI controls such as touchscreen, keyboard or a mouse. Within your service session you can use the extra controls for input. The OKI team allowed me to blog about this omitting some details and features. They put a lot of attention to details in the UI and interop interfaces, and some are really worth keeping secret :)

One of the example services implemented on top of the platform is ordering food for a family. You go through the usual steps - identifying yourself, searching for a particular type of food, selecting a restaurant, going through the menu, examine additional options, ask questions, make your order and then confirm the payment. On every step of the order the platform adds something unique to the UI that couldn't be done otherwise especially when it comes to ordering for a group of people or while on the go.

I think along with the typical customer services this platform can be useful for a number of office or enterprise applications - collaboration tools, e-meeting tools, online business workflow and so forth.

This is just one of the mind-blowing things I've seen in Japan, which is truly a very special place on Earth in every aspect. I will try to cover more "Only in Japan" stories when I catch up with my regular job.


Tech said...
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Sachin Parnami said...

Do share your views and ideas you have come across there, which is still wondering in your mind ;)

Vladimir Ralev said...

Oh, cool. I was planning to blog more frequently. Japan is a VAST topic. I learned a lot there. Technology-wise, I've seen a few very interesting things, but I am not sure what am I allowed to say.

Again from OKI, there is a location-based mobile presence service called "MoBiz" http://www.oki.com/jp/server/soft/mobiz/platform.html

It's in Japanese, but it shows the architecture. It has quite a few real applications. Again very promising. You should look it up to see what public info is available.

Sachin Parnami said...

Would be looking forward for such blogs ;)

Yeh agree with learning curve will be there every time.

will be looking for te available information.