Message from the CTO
Continuing to Tackle Challenges with Innovative Approaches to Create Technologies for the Future
Director, Managing Executive Officer and CTO
General Administrative Manager, Technology Development Division
Epson’s Manufacturing Infrastructure
Technological Breakthrough + Integrity and Effort = The Creation of Innovative Products
Epson has produced numerous groundbreaking products since the company was founded in 1942. The first quartz watch revolutionized the world of horology. Our high-resolution color inkjet printers enabled the average household to print its own photos. Our 3LCD projectors changed business presentations.
When you innovate, you need to overcome myriad obstacles. Teamwork and a challenge-accepting corporate culture are crucial for knocking them down. The close cooperation between the Technology Development Division, which provides the basic technologies necessary for product development, and the operations divisions, which design products that reach our customers, is the driving force that enables us to overcome these obstacles. Our employees are willing to take on challenges, pursue questions until they can be satisfied that they have gained true insight, and pursue perfection toward achieving objectives. Working with quiet dedication to innovate is in Epson’s DNA.
Epson 25 Phase 1 Mid-Range Business Plan
Towards societal problem-solving technological developments
Epson grew by pursuing perfection when it came to technology, but in executing Epson 25, we started wondering whether the technology that we were creating really was for customers. We realized that there were technologies under development that had almost no chance for practical business, so we had no choice but to discontinue development. In my view, these development projects were undertaken because we lost a true customer perspective and ended up focusing on technological advancements. On the other hand, that was not the case with the world’s first*1 office papermaking system, the PaperLab A-8000, which we released in 2016. The PaperLab employs dry fiber technology, the development of which was motivated by a desire to preserve paper-based communication while maintaining sustainability by recycling paper outside of the traditional water-intensive recycling process.
*1 Based on a November 2016 Epson study of the office paper recycling market
Future Technology Strategy Policy
How do we realize the future we want?
Establishing a new technology requires repeated testing and bouncing of different technologies, and ideas off one another, and this can take a long time. If your established technology doesn’t fit the needs of customers, you won’t be able to create new value. And that is why we need to look from a forward perspective to see potential future societal problems, and based on that, develop a vision of the future we wish to realize. We must understand our current technological strengths and weaknesses. Once we have done that, we need to deeply and broadly consider the path to attain our vision from a customer, technology and business perspective. The Technology Development Division is now playing a central role in examining from a panoramic view Epson’s technologies to identify our strengths and weaknesses. This will be key to structuring our technology strategy.
① Envision a world (vision) that we want to realize
② Understand our current technological strengths and weaknesses
③ Deeply and broadly consider from a customer, technology, and business perspective the path to attain our vision
Open Innovation that Will Accelerate Value Creation
Creating more value with partnerships
A lot has changed recently. Inkjet technology is driving the digitization of commercial and industrial printing, and advances in IT have given us the potential to increase customer touch points. Environmental regulations have become more strict, and companies are expected to play a bigger role in achieving a sustainable society by improving the environmental performance of their products and reducing waste materials and greenhouse gas emissions from their production processes.
Up until now, Epson has independently developed its own technology under the assumption that, as a vertically integrated company, we would control everything from the planning and design of our products to their manufacture and sale. But, for Epson to quickly solve societal problems, we will embrace open innovation opportunities, collaborating with other companies and research organizations to accelerate the creation of new value. We will meet our customers’ fundamental needs by offering comprehensive solutions that include both hardware and software.
To achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and Epson’s Environmental Vision 2050, we will need to develop more innovative technology. We will continue to relentlessly try to elevate Epson’s efficient, compact and precision technologies so that we continue creating products like PaperLab.