Radar Screen

Back to Contents of Issue: September 2001

This month: fons, Tasnet, and more.

Tasnet www.tasnet.jp
This Hiroshima-based startup worked with Sega to develop a system for giving points to Net cellphone-wielding arcade visitors. The idea is you get a barcode sent to your keitai screen, which you can then swipe across a reader in the arcade to get discounts. Sega will use the collected data for marketing research. Lawson, the major konbini chain, might also use the system, and we can see all kinds of possible apps for this.

fonts www.fonts.tv
This young ASP company has found virgin Internet territory: an online contribution system for politicians, political parties, and NPOs. Due to some legal changes and the sluggish economy, political parties and politicians in Japan are turning to individuals for donations, in particular the over 25 million i-mode users. "People are discouraged from donating, while going through a cumbersome process. But they can do it on the spot with i-mode," says product manager Hiroto Kimura. The company settles money with American credit card companies, since Japanese counterparts don't deal with organizations with political affiliations and/or unauthorized groups or individuals (see "Japan's Cyber-Savvy Pols". fons has applied for an ASP business model patent for the world's first i-mode contribution system. Says Kimura: "It's time to change political and corporate climates in Japan."

Eleven Point Two www.11p2.com
Entering your credit card number on your cellphone is not a good idea, which is why i-mode's micropayment solution -- e-commerce payments show up on your phone bill -- is so popular. But companies need to be official content providers -- and give DoCoMo 9 percent -- to enjoy this system. Eleven Point Two asks users to register their card number and other details with it first. Once users have registered all their personal information, Eleven Point Two will process the transaction with participating online merchants.

Untrod www.crl.co.jp
A very tiny operation set up by Kennosuke Wada, the first researcher to leave the ATR labs (see "Long-Term Research") and begin his own company. This geneticist by training is working on software that speeds up the process of creating physical movements of anime characters in cartoons. He uses mathematical formulae to compute how a figure will move on the screen, using the humanoid and genetic knowledge he acquired at ATR.

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