See the original story in Japanese.
Orange Fab Asia, an incubation program for the East Asian region hosted by French telecom major Orange, held a Demo Day event for the latest batch in Tokyo earlier this month.
While originally this incubation program had been focusing on Asia including Japan, Korea and Taiwan, La French Tech, a business invitation program by the French government for European startups to Tokyo has joined the Demo Day from this time, in affiliation with French governmental business support initiative Business France. Therefore, 29 teams including 8 French startups made pitches and opened booth exhibitions in this event.
Although unfortunately we cannot cover all of them in this article, some outstanding startups are introduced below.
The total damage from illegal money transfers using online banking systems around the world is said to amount at $2 billion per year. Super Matrix developed by Tokyo-based BankGuard is a safer and more inexpensive banking solution than the one-time password or conventional table of random numbers, which is distinguished by not utilizing characters or numbers but pictograms. Sealing non-disclosure agreements with Shizuoka Bank, Yokohama Bank and SBI Sumishin Net Bank, currently it has international patents pending. In addition to Super Matrix, the team has developed a cryptocurrency solution called Super Money utilizing the Bitcoin technology.
Korea-based Geo-Line offers a battery charge solution for electric vehicles called Plug & Pay. In general, the greatest concern for electric vehicle users may be the securing of battery charge measures away from home. The number or the location of charging stations are still limited due to the higher costs for installation and maintenance. Plug & Pay allows users to charge batteries from conventional electric outlets by attaching the devices to them, and moreover, notifies the amount of charged energy to the power company via an implemented mobile SIM. Therefore, if users utilize electric outlets in public facilities or a stranger’s home upon charging, they will be charged for the electric fees themselves, and that will not lead to accusations of power theft.
Mist Technologies (Japan)
Dogs are an emotionally weak animal and become easily depressed. If owners neglect to play with their dog or take it for a walk, the dog gets stressed and that causes self-injury in the worst case. Pamily is a golfball-sized dog toy which can move automatically by remote control upon operation with a mobile app. It is waterproof and wireless charging-enabled in addition to being capable of emitting light, sound and vibration according to the operation through the app. The team aims to strengthen sales activities through cooperation with petfood mnufacturers, pet insurance providers or telcos.
Korea-based Ripple has developed an in-ear microphone device for smartphones called RippleBuds, allowing communication with clear voices even under a noisy environment. Implementing both an earphone and a microphone inside, it picks up voices using bone conduction to prevent distraction due to noises around the user. Absence of noise-canceling tips, which are typically applied to such kind of products, has lowered its manufacturing costs and energy consumption. The team plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in January 2016, and expects the adoption in sports, military and police application.
StradVision is an object recognition solution which is an essential technology for self-driving cars, enabling recognition of other cars, pedestrians and even characters in traffic signs. The noteworthy function is its character recognition, which is capable of recognizing characters and even its context on notice boards or traffic signs written not only in English but also in Chinese. Although the recognition of Japanese was not exhibited this time, the availability of Chinese will facilitate the support for Japanese shortly. It is expected to be applied to the development of safer self-driving cars by linking with a car navigation system, GPS (global positioning systems), or ITS (intelligent transport systems).
Taiwan-based Thinktank, which introduced a platform for measurement of audience feedback at events in real-time called Clappio at IdeasShow in Taipei in August, this time introduced a new service called Exit. People in subway stations are easily lost because they cannot use map apps sufficiently due to the weak GPS signals from satellites. This mobile app allows users to find appropriate exits quickly at subway stations. Currently it supports information for 179 subway stations in Taipei and Bangkok. Since the total number of daily passengers at these stations accounts for 6.84 million, utilization of the app will save a great deal of time if one gets lost.
Tobila Systems (Japan)
Nagoya-based Tobila Systems has developed an incoming call control solution called Tobilaphone in order to reject crank calls or fund-transfer frauds, serving land-line phones, smartphones and other phones. Based on the whitelists/blacklists shared among users, unauthorized phone numbers listed for each user, and lists made by the Metropolitan police or an independent survey by Tobila Systems itself, it blocks incoming calls from dubious callers. The concept of this product appears similar to Taiwan’s Whoscall (acquired by Line) or Korea’s Moya Calling.
VitaNet is an encryption solution for communication technologies in IoT such as BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and Bluetooth. These wireless technologies broadcast recognition IDs for devices upon handshaking to connect with each other. So, if malicious users obtain these information, it might be used for illegal hacking. By applying VitaNet technologies, recognition IDs are masked and an encryption layer is added in communication so that it will bring more highly secured communication between IoT devices while minimizing the possibility of being hacked.
WhyNotTech has developed a wearable ring device for voice recognition linked to a smartphone called ARING Pro. Conventional voice recognition solutions for smartphones including Google Voice Search and Siri are only available in specific app environments. ARING Pro realizes much smarter app operation without the character input, by selecting or starting up mobile apps manually and by inputting or indicating by the ring device. The team failed on a recent crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter but are planning sales of the product on Amazon. They are thinking to integrate the product with e-commerce sites like Amazon so that users can more quickly find a product to buy, as well as integrating with headphones connectable to the Internet in the future.
Coinciding with holding this Demo Day event, Open Fab Asia started receiving applications for the next batch, Spring 2016 season. If interested in business development not only in Asia but also in the European market including France, you are encouraged to check out their website to apply.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda