Like many of its western counterparts, Tokyo-based online retailer Rakuten has mushroomed since its foundation 20 years back - from a small five-man startup to a multinational giant with more than 14,000 employees. Rakuten is among the organizations representing partner country Japan at CeBIT 2017 in Hannover, where it's showcasing the latest technologies and outlining career prospects throughout its global group of companies. The Rakuten Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) is the Group’s specialist research and development organization that focuses on next-generation technologies. It runs operations in Tokyo, New York, Paris, Singapore and Boston with the aim of identifying applications for new ideas and implementing them hand-in-hand with other companies in the Group. The R.I.T. is running its own stand at CeBIT 2017 to present the most interesting developments.
The innovations on show by the R.I.T. are mainly in technological fields, but are all also associated with marketing in the broadest sense. For example, the AR-Hitoke is an augmented-reality tool for conducting surveys. Then there's WallSHOP, a virtual sales display that passers-by are invited to interact with using their mobile end devices and gives us a taste of the future of digital hoardings. But the undisputed star of the Institute’s show is of course the grandmaster of Scissors–paper–stone that we mentioned up front - Cassis, the seemingly unbeatable AI developed by the R.I.T. The top human billing is Masaya Mori, the founder and global head of the R.I.T., who is offering his own personal insight into "The next generation of IoT and Big Data with AI" at the CeBIT Global Conferences.