Toshiba Launches Consortium of 100 Companies to Drive ‘Internet of Things’ Market

Photo of Toshiba Corp.'s headquarters in Tokyo
The Toshiba Corp. headquarters stands in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Toshiba Corp. announced this week that it has launched a large consortium of more than 100 companies in Japan for the purpose of creating new services and products to attack and drive the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) market. Consortium participants are companies of varying size and capabilities that cover the entire spectrum of the market.

Learn more about the new Toshiba IoT consortium…

While Toshiba did not provide a lot of details in their announcement as reported by The Japan Times – for example, not naming all of the consortium participants – it did highlight some of those joining in order to demonstrate the wide range of expertise and the business categories served…of the participants. In addition to Toshiba, the company named SoftBank Corp. (a large global financial company that invests in primarily technology-related companies), Tokyo Gas Co. (a Japanese utility), Kyocera Corp. and Denso Corp. The last two – Kyocera and Denso – like Toshiba, are technology companies.

“We need to create a world where not just one particular company holds on to data but (several companies) collaborate.”

Taro Shimada, Toshiba Corporate Vice President

Looking to Develop Both Industrial & Consumer IoT

And the collaboration that is needed now, Toshiba’s Taro Shimada explained to reporters, is on the development of “Internet of Things” technologies. Toshiba’s vision is for the consortium to work on IoT technologies designed for both industrial use, as well as others targeted more for consumer use.

The Internet of things concept applies to everything “from industrial machines at a factory transmitting data about the production process”…to “household appliances controlled remotely by smartphones”… to “wearable devices equipped with sensors tracking and sending information about the human body,” according to the announcement.

The ‘ifLink Open Community’

Toshiba has already invented a service they call “ifLink” that allows users to connect with home appliances or motion sensors via their smartphones. The company intends to call this new consortium the “ifLink Open Community.”

Although it is being unofficially previewed now, the “ifLink Open Community” Consortium will officially launch in the next fiscal year, which begins April 1, 2020.

Market researchers in Japan think that the IoT market will explode when ultrafast 5G mobile communications networks launch in the country. And that launch is expected to roll out in the next fiscal year.

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