WW-147 -- Smaller Japanese Wireless Technology Companies - Plenty of Innovation

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J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Newsletter:

W I R E L E S S W A T C H

Commentary on Japan's Wireless World
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Wireless Watch Newsletter
Issue No. 147
Wednesday September 28, 2005
TOKYO

++ Viewpoint: Smaller Japanese Wireless Technology Companies
- Plenty of Innovation

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++ Viewpoint: Smaller Japanese Wireless Technology Companies
- Plenty of Innovation

The start of the mobile Internet in the nineties gave a new generation
of entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch businesses. Index, Cybird,
Bandai Networks and Access - all of these are good examples of
content provider and technology companies that are still riding high
on the mobile Internet wave. In this issue we will introduce two other
rising stars that are not widely known outside Japan.

Connect Technologies is a software company that develops Java and
Brew applications for mobile phones. The company recently launched
mobile commerce ASP services - a rapidly growing segment of the
wireless market. So it is well positioned for the expected 'mobile wallet'
boom that will start with the introduction of the Felica platform by the
three carriers (NTT DoCoMo, J-Phone, Vodaphone) this winter and with
Japan Railway's enablement of its contactless debit card, Suica, for
Felica in 2006.

Tokyo-based UBIT develops server technologies to aggregate and
deliver mobile content.* The company started as a content provider
in 1999 and developed technologies to run its own sites with minimum
resources. In 2000, well ahead of the competition, UBIT launched
a fully automated content-rendering system that optimizes content
on-the-fly for any internet-enabled phone. UBIT's server platform was
further extended with mobile site builder functionality, which meant
programmers were no longer required to set up and maintain mobile
sites. Costs to set up mobile sites could be reduced by 70% - a big
savings for UBIT's customers in the competitive Japanese mobile
market.

UBIT'a engineering team is a melting pot of seven nationalities from
Asia, Europe and the Americas. The company not only works with
Japanese carriers and media companies, but also provides its
technologies to Orange, the mammoth European carrier group, and
other European content providers. UBIT is now working with broadcast
companies worldwide to 'mobilize' their content. Automated video
transcoding - optimizing and rendering videos to the user's phone - is
now an essential feature of UBIT's platform. 'Our overseas clients
want to leverage our experience with the latest 3G experiences in
the Japanese market,' according to Patrik Karrberg, head of UBIT's
international business unit. UBIT seems to be ready for it.

Both Connect Technologies and UBIT have CEOs with an IBM
background. Akiho Ohnuma, of UBIT, successfully ran IBM's database
business in Japan, while Connect Technologies' Tetsuya Kaku worked
as lead engineer for the Big Blue. The main task for both CEOs is to
keep their companies ahead of the competition. Innovation and selling
services and technology are a different ball game at a small company.
Both companies are on the right path, however. Being raised by IBM
gave Akiho Ohnuma and Tetsuya Kaku the skills to drive their smaller
companies.

*See "Managing the Ubit Equation: Content Out, Money In" in
J@pan Inc magazine for autumn 2005. [Arjen, a former UBIT employee,
is at present not affiliated with the company in any way. - Editor]

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STAFF
Written by Arjen van Blokland; Edited by Burritt Sabin
(editors@japaninc.com)

(C) Copyright 2005 Japan Inc Communications KK. All Rights Reserved.

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