WISDOM ACROSS THE BOARD   //   INTERVIEW #8

Last week this series introduced you to Shashin Shinde, Chief Technology Strategist at Red Hat EMEA. Shashin has been with Red Hat (FIWARE Foundation’s newest Platinum Member) for nearly 2 decades and throughout the interview, we explored how his experience and expertise add considerable weight to the foundation’s strategic growth and technical roadmap.

This week, we bring you a fresh perspective from the other side of the world in the person of Yasunori Mochizuki, NEC Fellow at NEC Corporation. Originally from Japan, Yasunori joined NEC in 1987, straight after concluding his PhD in Electronics Engineering. He went on to spend over two decades at NEC’s corporate R&D center, first as a research scientist and later as a department manager, gaining broader technical expertise, including solid-state physics, semiconductor devices/LSIs, and computer science.

Since 2013, Yasunori has been working at NEC’s newly-created Business Innovation Unit. As a senior vice president, he was responsible for the corporate-wide technology strategy and IoT business strategy. His current title of NEC Fellow means that he actively participates in innovation policy proposals, global ecosystem building related to smart society, and digital transformation. On a more personal note, Yasunori enjoys singing rock music (he is actually part of a band, formed way back in college), likes traveling to as many countries as possible and once he lands in a new destination, he takes pride in discovering its local beers and the cuisine variety.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

FIWARE Foundation: Why do you want to be on FIWARE Foundation’s Board of Directors?

Yasunori Mochizuki: NEC joined FIWARE Foundation as a Platinum Member in March 2017, shortly after the foundation was officially established. In fact, before that, NEC Europe’s R&D and business teams were already actively contributing to the FIWARE Community’s work on standardisation, technology development, and commercialization, hence, joining the foundation as a member was a natural step for NEC. After attending the very first FIWARE Global Summit (December 2016), I was convinced that FIWARE would become the key enabler of Japan’s innovation vision called “Society 5.0”. Also, I was inspired by the “Going Global” approach of the newly-born foundation. Thus, I decided to join the Board of Directors to be able to strengthen NEC’s contribution to the foundation’s work as well as accelerating the growth of the FIWARE ecosystem.

FIWARE Foundation: What experiences do you bring from your current role and your career to date that would be valuable to the Foundation?

Yasunori Mochizuki: My expertise ranges from developing technology and innovation strategies to market adoption (and dissemination), with a particular focus on IoT and AI in recent years. I believe that, when combined with my leadership vision, business model assessment skills, and passion for continuous improvement, my corporate experience unarguably adds value to FIWARE Foundation’s management body. Moreover, I’m also ready to leverage my global business connections and policy proposal networks, which I believe will also promote FIWARE’s adoption on a global scale. Finally, it goes without saying that I have always encouraged my NEC colleagues in Europe, India, and Japan to join forces to further strengthen the development of new technologies, business development, and open collaboration within the FIWARE Community.

FIWARE Foundation: From your perspective, what are FIWARE Foundation’s biggest strengths and challenges for the upcoming years? What would you do to enhance the strengths and overcome the latter?

Yasunori Mochizuki: The biggest strength of the foundation is its mutually-leveraging mechanism of four key factors: 1) clear value proposition; 2) business-driven management; 3) strategic and intensive partnership with relevant global organizations; 4) a continued focus on enhancing the FIWARE technology. Due to such approach, the visibility and adoption of FIWARE have drastically increased in the last years, not just in relation to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Initiative – a key EU funding instrument, CEF supports the development of sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy, and digital services and has selected FIWARE Context Broker as a Building Block – but also due to the fact that current Japanese government guidelines for smart city mention FIWARE as an important player with regards to interoperability. Additionally, FIWARE Foundation’s recently launched collaborations with smart industry consortia in Japan means that its presence in Asia (and beyond) will further increase. 

 

In terms of challenges ahead of the foundation, it must be stressed that the success of FIWARE critically lies in the business success of the FIWARE users. As today’s world is constantly moving from experimentation/pilot to realistic service implementation of digital solutions, I will work together with the Board to further strengthen the use of FIWARE technology, drive multi-stakeholder collaborations and boost the rise of Impact Stories at a global scale in order to further encourage broader participation of service/application developers.

FIWARE Foundation: Where do you see FIWARE Foundation in three years from now and what will your contribution to its further growth be? What changes, if any, would you make to the Foundation’s strategic direction?

Yasunori Mochizuki: When it comes to smart cities, once FIWARE’s value proposition can be fully grasped via pilot activities, stronger attention will be paid by cities on how to practically implement open and scaled city-wide “system of systems”, based on the Open Source approach. For this to happen, having real use cases and Impact Stories particularly on system harmonization and migration/integration would be of extreme importance. Accumulation of practice in system harmonization and migration/integration, which are to be supported by enhanced technology features for ease-of-use and/or off-the-shelf, will indeed benefit the adoption of FIWARE technology not only for the smart city but also for smart industry.

 

Finally, the current COVID-19 crisis is an example of how future society must call for an even more rapid and aggressive implementation of smart, sustainable, interoperable and scalable digital solutions all over the world, bringing Increasing demand for Open Source technologies. This way, notable new opportunities can flourish within the entire FIWARE ecosystem. Thus, FIWARE’s Board members need to relentlessly and proactively ask themselves: what has to be made better? How can we further improve FIWARE’s technology and community building? Such questions have to be asked and addressed constantly.

Stay with us as we catch up next with José Benitez, CEO & Co-founder at Secmotic and also a member of the FIWARE Foundation’s Board of Directors.