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Accelerate Your Micro-Moment Marketing With Machine Learning

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Accelerate Your Micro-Moment Marketing With Machine Learning


Data collection has become remarkably easy for businesses with the emergence of several digital communication channels.

Using machine learning in digital marketing enables organizations to harness data to improve their micro-moment marketing strategies.

Marketing has always been about connecting the gap between you and your target audience. To achieve that objective, you need to know exactly what your customers need. For several years now, marketers have used existing trends and consumer demand patterns to create ad campaigns and long-term marketing strategies. However, there are two main problems with trend-based marketing. Firstly, in the age of viral memes and stories, trends may not be as clear-cut as they were a decade ago. Secondly, and more importantly, not every customer of yours will be heavily into existing trends. For example, there may be a large part of your target audience that may not be into sports. So, they may not connect with sports-themed marketing content, even when an ongoing global sporting event like the Olympics is going on. Additionally, a 2015 study found that demographic-based marketing does not guarantee success as it does not focus on the existing customer moods and requirements in great detail. As a result, the businesses that used demographic-based marketing risked losing about 70% of potential mobile shoppers as per a recent study.

This is where micro-moment marketing enters the picture. The dictionary defines a micro-moment as an “internet-rich moment” which indicates that a customer is looking to purchase a product or service either immediately or in the near future. Specific customer interests or requirements at any given point in time create such micro-moments. Capitalizing on such moments is necessary for your business to have the edge over your market rivals, many of whom may be chasing micro-marketing perfection too.

The involvement of machine learning in digital marketing has increased in recent years. The technology allows organizations to identify target customers, curate marketing content, create marketing strategies and regulate dynamic pricing based on customer behavioral patterns. Machine learning can similarly be impactful for micro-moment identification and exploitation.

Identifying and Using the Right Micro-Moments

Unlike, say, a decade ago, internet connectivity is readily available to a large percentage of your target audience today. Therefore, about 91% of all smartphone users turn to the internet whenever they need to complete any task. As a result, people use online searches to find information about the most trivial of things. Therefore, not every “internet-rich” consumer micro-moment will be useful for your business. Therefore, identifying the moments that will have critical value for you is necessary for your long-term marketing operations. This segregation and classification of micro-moments will ultimately be useful to create accurate and targeted campaigns for your audience. According to Google, there are four types of micro-moments that carry particular significance for your business:

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a) I-Want-To-Know Micro-Moments

This moment involves consumers making Google searches regarding certain products or services. Such searches are generally done only out of curiosity and nothing else. These micro-moments can be categorized as exploratory or research-based.

b) I-Want-To-Go Micro-Moments

At times, customers may simply make a Google search to get information about the availability of certain products near their location. Such micro-moments can be indicative of customers stepping out of their houses to visit local stores or shopping malls to purchase said products in the immediate future.

c) I-Want-To-Do Micro-Moments

These micro-moments involve netizens making Google searches when they intend to perform a new action. These micro-moments are indicative of audience interests that can range from being cuisine-related, interest-related or style or creativity-related. Generally, such customers look for articles, blogs or YouTube videos that begin with the words “How to.”

d) I-Want-To-Buy Micro-Moments

The micro-moments classified under this category are indicative of individuals being interested in purchasing your products or services. Such consumers click on sales touchpoints available on social media sites or other websites. Additionally, they can directly visit your website for the same purpose. To visit your website or click on one of the touchpoints, customers may use different devices, but smartphones are seemingly the number one choice for customers everywhere.

As stated above, the number of smartphone users in the world has risen dramatically in recent years. As a result, mobile phones are one of the most dominant data points for the collection of micro-moment-related data. Past studies have found that about two-thirds of customers carry out I-want-to-buy decisions using their mobile phones. Due to this high tendency of users to prefer smartphones instead of other devices, businesses may make their content more mobile-friendly. Most big corporations have their own dedicated mobile apps that literally bring the act of purchasing products and services to consumers’ fingertips. Using specially-trained machine learning tools, your business can identify the customers who have done searches that feature the name of your business, the products or services you provide or the name of your direct market rivals. Such tools generally use session cookies to extract this data. Machine learning-based tools perform pattern recognition on the data from such session cookies to accurately predict customer intent.

Using Big Data for Predictive Micro-Marketing Analytics

As stated above, identifying and collecting data related to micro-moments and consumer intent dynamically is impossible without the use of machine learning in digital marketing processes. Over a period of time, such data keeps getting bigger and more diverse. AI and machine learning tools are useful for big data analytics over the long term. The involvement of machine learning in digital marketing is especially helpful for analyzing past trends in purchase records and consumer demand to make forecasts for the same in the future. This type of predictive analytics can be invaluable for micro-moment marketing too.

Several companies over the past decade or so have understood the value of data and predictive analytics to guess customers’ moods and micro-moments. Therefore, businesses are hiring data scientists, engineers, and developers to make their micro-moment marketing more data-driven. The skills of such workers will prove to be instrumental in the growth and development of such businesses through strong micro-moment marketing campaigns moving forward.

The involvement of AI and machine learning in digital marketing allows businesses to treat the internet as a collection of millions of data points. Gathering dynamic information about every customer’s actions and purchase intent can be handled adeptly with the inclusion of machine learning in the digital marketing operations of businesses. Machine learning provides insights by studying every customer’s digital journey that consists of thousands of micro-moments. Such insights then go on to shape your micro-moments marketing campaign and other business strategies.

By investing in AI and machine learning in digital marketing, organizations can personalize their ad campaigns to draw in their customers. There are several examples of businesses using machine learning in digital marketing to optimize their micro-moment marketing efforts. One such example is of French retail company Sephora. Sephora deployed the data collection and analysis resources to understand the potential of I-want-to-buy micro-moments. After assessing the data collected by such resources and tools, the marketing department of the business found that their consumers would tend to go online and compare two products to select the best one based on price, preference, brand attraction, amongst other factors. This knowledge was used by Sephora to create a specialized mobile app that allowed customers to compare two goods, provide information regarding product reviews and ratings, and virtually try out items like make-up accessories to see how it suited them. Additionally, the mobile app could also be used to push relevant information regarding a product’s past purchase history, ratings, and other details that could be used by customers to make clear purchase choices.

Micro-moment marketing seems to be the way forward for businesses as it helps them understand audience requirements on a real-time basis. In a way, micro-moment marketing is the natural replacement for significant but dated concepts such as trend analysis and demographics-based marketing. More importantly, this type of marketing allows organizations to get over the concept of boxing customers into specific types. Human interest keeps changing, and micro-moment marketing reflects those shifts in the real world.

The involvement of machine learning greatly helps micro-marketing by performing in-depth data analytics of available consumer information. Carrying out micro-moments marketing is not possible even if your business employs a big team and several workers in your marketing department as it involves large amounts of evolving data. Hence, the use of machine learning in digital marketing is the solution to harnessing the true potential of micro-moment marketing.



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The Forgotten Mistake that Killed Japan’s Software Industry

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The Forgotten Mistake that Killed Japan’s Software Industry

Japanese softwarehas problems. By international standards, it’s just embarrassingly bad.

We all know this, but what’s interesting is that there are perfectly rational, if somewhat frustrating, reasons that things turned out this way. Today I’m going to lay it all that out for you in a way that will help you understand how we got here, and show you why I am optimistic about the future.

And no, this is not going to be just another rant about all the things I dislike about Japanese software.

I am not going to waste your time or mine cataloging and complaining about the many, many bad practices, user-hostile design decisions, mind-boggling complex workflows, and poor development process that afflict Japanese software.

If you want details and debate about exactly how Japanese software falls short, or if you are just in the mood for some good old-fashioned venting about being forced to use it, check out Reddit or maybe Hacker News. This topic comes up pretty often there.

No, for the sake of this podcast I’m going to assume that we are all in agreement that on average, Japanese software. is just … awful.

That way we can spend our time talking about something far more interesting. We are going to walk though the economic events and the political forces that made today’s poor quality of Japanese software almost inevitable,

And by the end, I think it will give you a completely new way of looking at the Japanese software industry.   

You see, the story of Japanese software is not really about software. No, this is the story of Japanese innovation itself. The story of the ongoing struggle between disruption and control. It’s a story that involves war, secret cartels, scrappy rebels, betrayal, rebirth, and perhaps redemption.

How This Mess Started

So let’s start at the beginning. The beginning is further back than you might expect.

To really understand how we got here, we need to go back, not just to the end of WWII, but to the years after the Meiji restoration, the late 1800s, back when the Japanese economy was dominated by the zaibatsu.

Now, “zaibatsu” is usually translated as “large corporate group” or “family controlled corporate group.” While that is accurate, it grossly understates the massive economic and political power these groups welded around the turn of the 20th century.   

Japan’s zaibatsu were not corporate conglomerates as we think of them today.

You see, although the Meiji government adopted a market-based economy and implemented a lot of capitalist reforms, it was the zaibatsu, with the full support of the government, that kept the economy running.

And the zaibatsu system was almost feudal in nature.

The national government could, and did, pass legislation regarding contract law, labor reforms, and property rights, but in practice these were more like suggestions. In reality, as long as the zaibatsu kept the factories running, the rail lines expanding, and the shipyards operating at capacity, the men in Tokyo didn’t trouble themselves too much with the details.

In practice, the zaibatsu families had almost complete dominion over the resources, land, and people under their control. They were the law.

At the turn of the previous century, there were four major zaibatsu (Sumitomo, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Yasuda). And each zaibatsu had its own bank, its own mining and chemical companies, its own heavy manufacturing company, etc. But it wasn’t just industry, each of these zaibatsu  groups had strong political and military alignments. For example, Mitsui had strong influence over the army, while Mitsubishi had a great deal of sway over the imperial navy.

At the start of WWII, the four zaibatsu families controlled over 50% of Japan’s economy. This fact, when combined with their political influence, quite understandably, made Japan’s military government very uncomfortable, and during the war, the military wrested away a bit of the zaibatsu’s power and nationalized some of their assets.

After Japan’s defeat, the American occupation forces considered the zaibatsu a serious economic and political risk to Japan becoming a liberal, democratic fully developed nation. They targeted 16 firms for complete dissolution and another 24 for major reorganizations.

Rising from Ashes

Now, that was supposed to be the end of the zaibatsu. I say “supposed to” because those of you who know Japanese history understand that it never really happened.

Of course, many things changed. Important political and social reforms were implemented, the legal system was greatly strengthened, a lot of zaibatsu assets were nationalized, and the zaibatsu themselves ceased to be.

At least, officially.

You see, the zaibatsu were quickly allowed to restructure in greatly weakened , but very familiar, forms, as keiretsu.  This was permitted for two main reasons.

First, as the cold war heated up in the 40s and 50s, America’s idealistic vision for a democratic and progressive Japan took a back seat to the more practical and pressing need to develop Japan into a bulwark against Communism. And that meant prioritizing economic growth over social reforms. With these new goals in mind, both the American occupation forces and the Japanese government, quite correctly, concluded that having something like the zaibatsu groups would lead to faster, more predictable growth than tearing everything down and rebuilding from scratch.

The second important, and kind of surprising, reason was that almost no one in Japan really wanted to see the zaibatsu broken up. Not the politicians, certainly not the leaders of the zaibatsu, not the public at large, and to the endless frustration and confusion of western labor organizers, not even the rank-and-file zaibatsu workers and employees. In fact, at one point 15,000 Matsushita union members signed a petition demanding that the Matsushita zaibatsu not be broken up.

So in the end, important changes were made. Labor rights and contract law were strengthened significantly, and even more zaibatsu assets were confiscated. The traditional family holding companies were dissolved, but they were replaced by cross-company shareholdings  and interlocking corporate boards that achieved much the same result, but in a much more transparent and manageable way.

And so, most of Japan’s zaibatsu were allowed to morph into the smaller, less threatening, and much more manageable keiretsu.

Japan as a Global Innovator

In the same way that the zaibatsu defined the economic miracle that was Japan’s Meiji-era expansion, the keiretsu would come to define the economic miracle that was Japan’s post war expansion.

Today there are six major and a couple dozen minor keiretsu groups, and during Japan’s economic expansion, as much as possible, they kept their business within the keiretsu family.

Projects were financed by the keiretsu bank, the materials and know-how were imported by the keiretsu trading company, and the final products would be assembled in the appropriate keiretsu brand’s factory. And supporting all of these flagship brands were, and still are, tens of thousands of very small, exclusive manufacturers that make up the keiretsu supply chain — and the bulk of the Japanese economy.

And with the exception of a tiny handful of true startup companies like Honda and Sony, all of Japan’s brands that were famous before the year 2000 or so, are keiretsu brands.

And for those of you who think big companies can’t innovate, let me remind you that from the 50s to the 70s, these keiretsu groups began innovating, disrupting, and dominating almost every industry on the planet; from cars, to cameras, to machine parts, to steel, to semiconductors, to watches, to home electronics, Japan’s keiretsu simply rewrote the rules.

But how did keiretsu do in the world of software development?  Well, pretty darn well, actually.

It’s important to remember, though, that the software industry in the 60s and 70s was very different than it is today. The software development process itself was actually rather similar. Fred Brooks wrote The Mythical Man Month about his experience during this era, and it remains as one of the best books on software engineering and project management today.

But the way software was bought and sold was completely different. In the 60s and 70s, software was written for specific and very expensive hardware, and the software requirements were negotiated as part of the overall purchase contract. Software was not viewed so much as a product, but more like a service, similar to integration, training, and ongoing support and maintenance. It was usually sold on a time-and-materials basis, and sometimes it was just thrown in for free to sweeten the deal. The real money was in the hardware.

Software in this time (both in Japan and globally) was written to meet the spec. It did not matter if it was creative, innovative, easy to use, or elegant, it just had to meet the spec. In fact, trying to build exceptional software in this era was considered a waste of resources. After all, the product had already been sold and the contracts had already been signed. The goal back then, just like many system integration projects today, was to build software that was just good enough to get the client to sign off on it as complete.

Software that met the customer’s spec was, by definition, good software.

Japan’s keiretsu did well in the age of big-iron. Although Fujitsu, NEC, and Hitachi never seriously challenged IBM and Univac’s global dominance in the 60s and 70s, they did pretty well in mini-computers and large office systems.

They were innovators.

Japan Turns its Back on a New Industry

However, when the PC revolution arrived in the late 1980s, Japanese industry as a whole was hopelessly unprepared, and not for the reasons you might think.

The reason Japanese software development stopped advancing in the 1980s had nothing to do with a lack of talented software developers. It was a result of Japan’s new economic structure as a whole, and the keiretsu in particular.

As a market, personal computers were something fundamentally new. Sure, the core technology and the hardware were direct continuations from the previous era, but this new market was completely different.

The PC market quickly coalesced around a small number of standardized operating systems and hardware architectures. Keiretsu did pretty well in the hardware side of this market, making some really impressive machines, particularly laptops.

But a market for non-spec or “shrink-wrap” software was something new to everyone. It required delighting the customer, and knowing what they wanted before they did. It was the kind of challenge that the keiretsu of the 60s and 70s would have thrown themselves into whole-heartedly, innovated aggressively, and then dominated.

But things in Japan had become very different in the 1980s.

Here was a chance to define and lead a new global industry. A chance for keiretsu to build a software industry from the ground up.

But, wait a minute. Why should they?

Sure, back in the 60s when Japan’s economy was small, survival required looking outwards, competing globally, making long-term investments, and innovating to make the best products in the world.

But this was the 80s! Japan was the second-largest economy on the planet and in the middle of the largest economic boom the world had ever seen. This was the era of Japan as Number 1, with economists predicting Japan’s GNP would be larger than America’s within a decade.

With such a lucrative, and pretty well protected, market right at their fingertips it made much more sense for the keiretsu to focus on the easy money rather than to take risky and expensive bets on an uncertain and emerging global market.

Each keiretsu group had their own technology firm who started selling PCs and software, some to consumers, but the big money was in corporate sales.  And since the keiretsu liked to keep the business in the family, these technology companies grew and profited by selling to their captive customers within their keiretsu group. And just like before, they made real money integration, and customization.

An unfortunate result of this is that the big Systems Integration companies or “SIs” emerged as powerful players, and Japan’s software firms never had to compete globally, or with each other.

Japan simply missed the opportunity to develop a globally relevant PC software industry.

The Beginning of the End of Innovation

Japan’s software industry in the 80s and 90s remained much like it was in the mainframe area. The software had to be just good enough for the client to sign off on it, and since they were largely captive clients unable to look outside their keiretsu group for support, that was a very low bar indeed.

But hey, as long as the economy was booming, no one minded spending lavishly to keep all the work in the keiretsu family, and all those little software defects could always be fixed in “phase two” of the project.

Software development was an exercise in box checking. You implemented a feature once the customer had asked for it and the contracts had been signed.

This not only caused Japan to miss out on the global software industry, but it marked the beginning of the collapse of innovation across Japanese industry.  Over the next 30 years, software would become a key driver of both innovation and efficiency. But by outsourcing their IT strategy to a single integrator, they had tied themselves to an anchor that would ensure almost every industry fell further and further behind the technology curve with each passing year.

Japan still has not recovered from this. Even today most enterprise systems are decades behind their global competitors. But, as we’ll see a bit later, things are happening now that could enable a quantum leap forward in Japan.

Life as a Developer in Japan’s Dot-com Bubble

So, what was it like to be a software developer in Japan in the 80s and 90s?

It was pretty bad. Software development was considered rather low-skill work. It didn’t pay well and was viewed as a kind of clerical work. The job was simply to write software that was close enough to whatever sales had promised the client while they were out drinking last week.

New hires with degrees in literature, business, or law, or whatever were rotated through software development for a few years to give them a sense of how different parts of the company worked. There was no real career path in software development. I mean, maybe you could move up into project management or over into sales, but if you were still actually writing code when you were 30, people kind of wondered what went wrong.

Of course there were some great, even visionary, software developers in Japan at that time. I knew some of them. People who wanted to make computers do new things. People who saw how technology could disrupt other industries, and developers who simply had a passion for making software that delighted users.

There were plenty of developers like that in the 80s and 90s. They were miserable.

Interestingly, hardware engineers were viewed very differently. Both then and now, hardware engineers are highly respected in Japan. Engineers are some of the most admired people at companies likeToyota, Mitsubishi, and Sony.

So, perhaps unsurprisingly, hardware innovation continued at a furious pace during the 80s and 90s. Products like the walkman and the Nintendo consoles achieved global success and the domestic market was filled with electronic diaries, dictionaries, and planners that were way ahead of what was available in the West.

And of course, eventually i-mode. Japanese consumers were sending email and browsing the web years before the Blackberry was released, and almost a decade before the iPhone.

Falling Down

But the rest of the word was moving in a different direction. The rest of the world was moving away from dedicated hardware and towards innovative software running on standard hardware platforms. As Marc Andreessen would later point out “Software was eating the world.”

As the dot-com bubble started to inflate, Japan began to realize they needed talented software developers, but without a software industry that actually valued software developers, companies had no idea where to find them. The best talent was usually unrecognized and trapped at the lower levels of the org chart. There was not much of a future pipeline. Since software engineering was not a respected or profitable career, few students opted to pursue it.

Some did of course, but these were the people that just loved programming. It was like becoming a musician or a manga artist. It was great that you are following your dreams. You might make it, but the odds were not in your favor.

When the foreign software companies started crashing into Japan in the 90s, the domestic industry could barely put up a fight.

The dot-com boom of the late 90s was the first wave of venture-funded, disruptive innovation in Japan, but it was not yet time for Japan’s software developers to step into the spotlight.

The successful founders of that era were mostly well-connected or incredibly scrappy businessmen. The general opinion of software developers had hardly changed at all. They just weren’t the kind of people you would trust to run a company.

I started my first Japanese startup during the dot-com boom, and at that time, I think the fact that I was a technical founder was even more unusual than the fact that I was a foreign founder.

Of course in one sense, the dot-com boom was an amazing time to start a software startup in Japan. You could call up almost any talented developer you knew, let them know hat they would be working on something important, that they would have meaningful input into product development, they’d be on a team that cared about code quality, and that their skills would be respected … and yeah, they’d want to come on board.

The Lost Decades Were Never Really Lost

The late 90s and the nights is often referred to as Japan’s “Lost Decades.” It was not a good time for the keiretsu companies. Not only did their power continue to weaken, but increased scrutiny of their cross-shareholdings and financials, and the merger of several banks across keiretsu lines meant that business as usual was over.  And pushing the knife in deeper, all of the implied economic and social guarantees that the keiretsu system was based on began to unravel.

In previous decades, Japan had focused on exporting domestically made goods, but now, not only was the domestic market attracting a greater focus, but Japanese industry began moving production out of Japan into cheaper overseas markets.

This was considered a betrayal by thousands of mom-and-pop manufactures who had spent their lives (or sometimes generations) as a highly integrated and specialized part of a single keiretsu’s supply chain, and who now found themselves suddenly cut off.

Japan’s famous lifetime employment system effectively ended during this period as well. It made sense for corporate groups to promise lifetime employment and predictable promotions when profits kept rising and labor was scarce, but now faced with mounting losses, corporate Japan began walking back all these implied promises.

This was a shock for Japan. It was a breach of the social contract that holds everything together. If hard work and loyalty would not be rewarded, then why dedicate your life to the company? To the distress of pundits and politicians, many young Japanese started saying they had no interest at all in joining the corporate world.

But the truth is, especially now that we can look back on it, these decades were not really lost decades at all. Growth slowed, and the changes were incredibly painful, but they were absolutely necessary to set the foundations for the coming wave of startup innovation and for Japan’s software developers to finally get the respect they so deeply deserve.

The Triumph of the Japanese Software Developer

I mark 2010 as the year Japan’s software developers finally started stepping into the spotlight, although things started moving a bit before that.

There were two triggers that led to this development. First, the emergence of cloud computing and second, the introduction of the smartphone. Although these were both technological developments, it was not the technology itself that led to the change.

Cloud computing drastically reduced the capital and time required to start a startup. In the dot-com era a decade before, starting an internet startup required purchasing racks of servers and paying system administrators to keep them running, but suddenly fully configured, maintained, and secure servers could be had for a few cents per minute — pay as you go.

Suddenly Japan’s software developers didn’t need to explain their idea to a VC and convince them that it would sell. They could just build things and get people to start using them and start paying for them. And that’s just what they did.

The other important development was the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and Android a year later. Not just because of the technology, but because of how it changed the software business model.

Japan’s i-mode was years ahead of the West when it first came out, but getting your app on i-mode was largely a matter of lengthy negotiations with the telcos for one of the few highly-coveted slots on the menu. The smartphone ecosystems were different. Anyone who could develop an app of reasonable quality could deploy and sell it. There were no business connections, exclusive negotiations, or revenue commitments required.

2010 marked the beginning of the end of the software startup gatekeepers. As more and more talented developers realized how easy it was to start a startup, more and more started choosing startups over the traditionally low-status career path at large companies.

This, combined with a large dose of Silicon Valley glamour, has complexly transformed Japan’s image of the software developer. Software developers are valued and respected today. Unlike the dot-com days, both startups and enterprises compete aggressively to recruit and retain talented programs, even though there are a lot more of them today. Thankfully, people also talk a lot more about code quality.

Of course, this attitude shift was much broader than just developers. With the safety net of lifetime implement and guaranteed promotions removed, people have had to become less risk averse and more innovative. Those workers who had rejected corporate life, became freelancers and formed the core of Japan’s flexible startup workforce, and some of those tiny supply-chain companies began to rethink their business models.

This brings us to the start of the Disrupting Japan podcast about eight and a half years ago. We’ve talked to the innovators and followed the development of the startup ecosystem together during that time.

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

As we talk here together at the start of 2023, what does the future look like for Japanese software?

Japan has had a lot of catching up to do over the past fifteen years. After basically sitting out the global PC and dot-com revolutions, Japanese software developers have been making up for lost time and in the startup space. Japan is developing a competitive software market in some areas, but on average, there is still a long way to go.

Japan’s once dominant Systems Integrators will continue to see their power decline. Their customer lock-in is fading fast, and B2B SaaS software startups are letting Japanese enterprises leapfrog to modern IT systems for less than costs to maintain their SI-run legacy systems.

The SIs won’t disappear, of course. There will always be a need for good systems integrators, and the more forward thinking ones are already trying to reinvent themselves. However, the days when the SIs dictated their clients’ IT strategy are coming to a close. That is a very good thing for Japanese software, Japanese startups, and Japanese competitiveness as a whole.

The Kishida administration has made startups a national priority, and the importance of quality software and software startups in Japan has never been higher.

Even the old keiretsu firms have come around. They are increasingly looking to software startups to supplement internal R&D though both M&A and through long-term partnerships. In fact, last year Keidanren, Japan’s largest business federation, an organization that was one of the main architects and drivers of Japan’s post-war economic expansion, called on its member companies to greatly increase their startup investment and partnerships.

I am optimistic. As always, things will develop differently in Japan. In the same way the zaibatsu defined Japan’s Meja-era economic miracle, and the keiretsu came to define Japan’s post-war economic miracle, from some new combination of startups, enterprise, and academia will emerge something that will define the next economic miracle.

Today is a very good time to be developing software in Japan.

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Radware launches a spinoff of its cloud security business

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Cloud Computing News

Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Radware, a provider of cyber security and application delivery solutions, has revealed the spinoff of its Cloud Native Protector (CNP) business to form a new company called SkyHawk Security.

To accelerate Skyhawk Security’s development and growth opportunities, an affiliate of Tiger Global Management will make a $35 million strategic external investment, resulting in a valuation of $180 million. Tiger Global Management is a leading global technology investment firm focused on private and public companies in the internet, software, and financial technology sectors.

Skyhawk Security is a leader in cloud threat detection and protects dozens of the world’s leading organizations using its artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Its Cloud Native Protector provides comprehensive protection for workloads and applications hosted in public cloud environments. It uses a multi-layered approach that covers the overall security posture of the cloud and threats to individual workloads. Easy-to-deploy, the agentless solution identifies and prevents compliance violations, cloud security misconfigurations, excessive permissions, and malicious activity in the cloud.

“We recognize the growing opportunities in the public cloud security market and are planning to capitalize on them,” said Roy Zisapel, Radware’s president and CEO. “We look forward to partnering with Tiger Global Management to scale the business, unlock even more security value for customers, and position Skyhawk Security for long-term success.”

The spinoff, which adds to Radware’s recently announced strategic cloud services initiative, further demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to innovation. Skyhawk Security will have the ability to operate with even greater sales, marketing, and product focus as well as speed and flexibility. Current and new CNP customers will benefit from future product development efforts, while CNP services for existing customers will continue without interruption.

Radware does not expect the deal to materially affect operating results for the second quarter or full year of 2022.

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How Sports Organizations Are Using AR, VR and AI to Bring Fans to The Game

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How Sports Organizations Are Using AR, VR and AI to Bring Fans to The Game

AR, VR, and AI in sports are changing how fans experience and engage with their favorite games.

That’s why various organizations in the sports industry are leveraging these technologies to provide more personalized and immersive digital experiences.

How do you get a sports fan’s attention when there are so many other entertainment options? By using emerging technologies to create unforgettable experiences for them! Innovative organizations in the sports industry are integrating AR, VR and AI in sports marketing and fan engagement strategies. Read on to discover how these innovative technologies are being leveraged to enhance the game-day experience for sports fans.  

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AUGMENTED REALITY IN SPORTS

AR is computer-generated imagery (CGI) that superimposes digitally created visuals onto real-world environments. Common examples of AR include heads-up displays in cars, navigation apps and weather forecasts. AR has been around for decades, but only recently has it become widely available to consumers through mobile devices. One of the best ways sports organizations can use AR is to bring historical moments to life. This can help fans connect to the past in new ways, increase brand affinity and encourage them to visit stadiums to see these experiences in person. INDE has done just that, creating an augmented reality experience that lets fans meet their favorite players at the NFL Draft.

VIRTUAL REALITY IN SPORTS

VR is a computer-generated simulation of an artificial environment that lets you interact with that environment. You experience VR by wearing a headset that transports you to a computer-generated environment and lets you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch it as if you were actually there. VR can be especially impactful for sports because it lets fans experience something they would normally not be able to do. Fans can feel what it’s like to be a quarterback on the field, a skier in a race, a trapeze artist, or any other scenario they’d like. The VR experience is fully immersive, and the user is able to interact with the content using hand-held controllers. This enables users to move around and explore their virtual environment as if they were actually present in it.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN SPORTS

Artificial intelligence is machine intelligence implemented in software or hardware and designed to complete tasks that humans usually do. AI tools can manage large amounts of data, identify patterns and make predictions based on that data. AI is already influencing all aspects of sports, from fan experience to talent management. Organizations are using AI to power better digital experiences for fans. They’re also using it to collect and analyze data about fan behavior and preferences, which helps organizers better understand what their customers want. AI is also changing the game on the field, with organizations using it to make better decisions in real time, improve training and manage player health. Much of this AI is powered by machine learning, which is a type of AI that uses data to train computer systems to learn without being programmed. Machine learning is the reason why AI is able to evolve and get better over time — it allows AI systems to adjust and improve based on new data.

MERGING THE REAL AND VIRTUAL

VR and AR are both incredible technologies that offer unique benefits. VR, for example, is an immersive experience that allows you to fully imagine and explore another virtual space. AR, on the other hand, is a technology that allows you to see and interact with the real world while also being able to see digital content superimposed on top of it. VR and AR are both rapidly evolving and can have a significant impact on sports marketing. By using both technologies, brands and sporting organizations can create experiences that bridge the real and virtual. This can help sports marketers create more engaging experiences that truly immerse their customers in the game.

Technologies like AR, VR and AI in sports are making it possible for fans to enjoy their favorite games in entirely new ways. AR, for example, can help sports lovers experience historical moments, VR lets them immerse themselves in the game, and AI brings them more personalized and immersive digital experiences. The best part is that sports fans can also use these technologies to interact with one another and feel even more connected. 

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