Is it so? Undoubtedly. But these advances in science and technology do not guarantee that you can conveniently pay for parking or pay at the checkout with your smartphone.
The Japanese will introduce innovations only where they see fit. This means that you can jump from the last century to the civilization of the 3000s, just by moving around the city.
Amazing robots won’t meet you at Narita airport. A battered terminal, an outdated fingerprint recognition system and funny pictures of kittens in the registration area for foreigners will be waiting for you.
Participants of the Russian-Japanese forum, which was recently held in Tokyo, told their inside view about banking technologies in Japan – the first bank in Talk Bank messengers. This is not just a bank, but also an innovative company, a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation and a graduate of the IIDF accelerator.
That is why the bank in messengers was chosen among other potential participants, and at the very beginning of spring 2019, the Talk Bank team went to Tokyo to introduce Russian innovations to the Japanese market.
Japan is one of the leading economies in the world, ranks third in terms of gross national product, and has been leading the ranking of the most technologically advanced countries for many years. What, you ask, can Russian startups offer the Japanese? The answer is technology that Tokyo doesn’t have yet. For example, a bank with an artificial intelligence-based chatbot.
Once in Japan, you find yourself in a completely different world. Business models familiar to European people may simply not work. So participation in forums is, first of all, an opportunity to study the market, culture and mentality of the country. A lot is really surprising.
While every new solution is being massively introduced in Russia, Japan adheres to its oriental perception of things. If something works, fulfills its function and is in demand, it is completely unnecessary to touch it.
For example, parking meters there still work on coins and you need to pay every hour. Do you want to leave the car for a couple of hours? Pay for an hour when that time is up, come back and pay for another one. No applications and remote payment – pure mechanics and ordinary coins. In some central locations, you will have to pay up to 6,000 rubles per hour.
Is it possible to sell the project of new parking meters to the Japanese? Unlikely. After all, the old ones still work fine.
Surprising demand for seemingly “antediluvian” technology. The Akahibara area is famous for its ultra-modern appliance and electronics malls, and you can find a cassette recorder and CD player in almost every store.
“Hinders” the introduction of some innovations and the fight against unemployment. In Russia, and then, no, no, and another portion of fears will emerge, how we will all be replaced by artificial intelligence and robots.
In Japan, this is even more realistic, but jobs, especially in low-skilled positions, are not being cut. You can’t just put up new parking meters and fire all the people who take out coins?
Or here’s an almost anecdotal task for you: how many Japanese do you need to show the driver how to bypass the repair work? Yes, several people will wave lanterns, showing the way where one person could manage, or even a small garland with flashing lights.
Japan is a country of workaholics that is starting to age. Young specialists are looking for high incomes and are trying to make a career, while the roles of service personnel and simple specialties, as in our country, are gradually being transferred to migrants.
The authorities are softening the migration policy, providing jobs and quotas for low-skilled employees from other Asian countries. Elderly people, whose mentality does not allow them to live without work, also go to the same positions.
But back to the spring forum in Tokyo. The objectives of its holding are clear: in connection with the latest political events, we are looking to the East, towards the Asian countries and their investments in the Russian economy.
Russia is one of the world’s technological leaders, our technologies are competitive and attractive on the global market.
It was not without officials – officials, heads of regions, the Russian ambassador to Japan, representatives of various departments, including business support, arrived. The latter talked about the opportunities for Russian companies in the local market. That is, the forum urged us to see how the two countries can be useful to each other.
The main program consisted of several blocks: the official part with speeches from both sides, informal networking and field trips.
The business delegation visited a local agency for attracting investments and start-ups to Japan, representatives of Russian regions met with representatives of Japanese provinces, discussed issues of development and further cooperation.
So what Russian innovations are relevant for Japan? During the forum, representatives of the Japanese side became interested in the technologies and methods of work of Talk Bank. Even those who were not related to the financial sector said that they would certainly use such a bank.
Experts asked how scalable the technology is, whether artificial intelligence really recognizes the bulk of requests, whether it is possible to connect employees to this model – that is, whether a hybrid model is used.
The transition of banking technologies to chatbots and voice assistants is indeed the evolution of banking. Many were surprised that this exists and already exists in Russia, although Japan is accustomed to considering itself an advanced “robot country”: it was they who were the first to launch humanoid robots.