By Cisco

Cisco today announced that Cisco Investments, Cisco’s venture capital arm, has selected Japan as one of its investment destinations for Internet of Everything (IoE) start-ups and early-stage companies. As part of Cisco’s USD $100 million Global IoT Fund, smart-FOA Co., Ltd. will be the first company in Japan to receive funding based on this initiative.

Globalization and market cycle changes are accelerating, and ideas and speed are more important in the manufacturing workplace, thus becoming vital components for corporate competitiveness. To integrate ideas and speed into the manufacturing workplace, it is necessary to promote innovation that unifies the power of the workplace with data flow and management. FOA (Flow Oriented Approach) provides an innovative information sharing platform that is useful for resolving problems and making decisions in real time by creating pieces of data (information strips) that combine raw data collected by sensors in the manufacturing workplace with workplace know-how, and letting these flow on the network.

The software allows valuable information to be accessed from anywhere and creates next-generation workplace IT that matches the concept of Fog Computing, the distributed processes at the network edge. Together, Cisco and smar-FOA plan to expand this software from Japanese manufacturing workplaces to similar manufacturing environments around the world through the joint development of solutions for the manufacturing industry based on Cisco’s IOx.

Supporting Quotes

Masaharu Oku, CEO, smart-FOA Co., Ltd.:

“The utilization of data from manufacturing workplaces is Japan’s strong suit, and the concept of FOA was born out of consideration for the mission of further refining this utilization. We would like to promote the Internet of Everything (IoE) concept advocated by Cisco, as well as management innovation combining a people-focused FOA workplace with management in the manufacturing sector, and through these things we would like to provide the world’s first FOA from Japan.”

Yasufumi Hirai, President and General Manager, Cisco Systems G.K.:

 “Cisco believes that investing in smart-FOA will contribute to increasing the capabilities of manufacturing workplaces that constitute Japan’s greatest strength with the aim of realizing the Internet of Everything and generate new value by bringing together goods, people, processes and data. We expect IoT solutions from Japan to expand onto the global market.”

Pratik Bose, Director, Corporate Development, Japan:

“The Japanese government is committed to transform the country into “The World’s Most Advanced IT Nation” by 2020, which will help create a new economy based on IT infrastructure, presenting a tremendous opportunity for local entrepreneurs in developing new technologies and applications.  With this investment into smart-FOA, Cisco Investments restarts investment activities in Japan, with the first investment since 2001 and a new focus on supporting entrepreneurial capacity enhancement and fostering the local startup eco-system. Cisco Investments has also appointed its first dedicated investment executive in the local Tokyo office.”

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