Vol. 73, No. 4, July 2018

  Special Reports

Toshiba's Customer Value Design Bringing Design Closer to Business Activities

Customer Value Design Co-creating Real Value of Products and Services together with Customers

Toshiba's Approach to Customer Value Design
NISHIKAWA Taichiro / MIKAMI Tatsuyuki / OGATA Keiji
Manufacturing industries have recently been facing significant shifts in the business environment accompanying the ongoing advances in technology and changes in people's values. This has given rise to the need for the development of products and services that possess value co-created with customers, instead of focusing solely on the improvement of functions and performance, in order to realize sustainable benefits.
The Toshiba Group has already developed and organized user experience (UX) design methods to improve customer experience. In order to co-create true value with customers in addition to our conventional approach, it is necessary for a cross-functional team (CFT) composed of business, technology, and creativity (BTC) specialists to consider the customer's circumstances from the different viewpoints of the individual experts as well as to enhance collaborative work beyond their particular fields. We have responded to this need by establishing a methodology and systematizing methods and techniques for customer value (CV) design based on the results of actual studies.

Efforts Aimed at Strengthening of Collaborative Approaches for Value Co-creation with Customers
FUKAYA Midori / MARUYA Mami / KIKUCHI Satoko
With the changes that have recently been taking place in the business environment, it has become necessary to offer not only products but also context-aware services that incorporate value co-created with customers in response to their true needs. Successful co-creation requires collaborative work facilitated by a cross-functional team (CFT) comprising experts in the relevant fields, as well as the following three key factors: (1) methods, (2) human capital, and (3) space for opportunities in order to enhance such collaborative work.
The Toshiba Group has responded to this trend by making efforts to construct a foundation for this work through the integration and cooperation of these factors and to continuously strengthen collaborative approaches.

Application of Service Design Method to Information-Sharing System for Hotels Aimed at Providing Visitors with High-Level Hospitality
KURODA Yuka / KAGAWA Koichi / KAKEMURA Atsushi / MIYAZAKI Tomoko
Japanese industries in the service sector have been facing critical issues including low productivity and a labor shortage. The introduction of information and communication technologies is expected to substantially improve the efficiency of service operations in hotels and Japanese-style inns that provide visitors with hospitality.
The Toshiba Group, in cooperation with the operator of a traditional inn committed to offering Japanese-style hospitality, referred to as omotenashi in Japanese, has responded to this situation by promoting the introduction of an information-sharing system to the inn through collaborative work performed by a cross-functional team (CFT) composed of business, technology, and creativity (BTC) specialists. Utilizing a service design method comprising a customer value (CV) design system, we confirmed that efficient information recording and sharing among the staff members to ensure smooth behind-the-scenes operations can lead to enhanced levels of hospitality. As a result, the Field Voice Intercom Edition of RECAIUS, a communication support tool allowing staff to easily input information using speech and text data, was introduced and optimized and has achieved an improvement in the quality of hospitality.

Building Continuous Relationships between Logistics and Transportation Industries Applying Human-Centered Design
In response to the increasingly diversified and complicated needs of the logistics and transportation industries in recent years, demand has been growing for a comprehensive service including products that can offer optimal solutions for individual problems.
The Toshiba Group has embarked on collaborative activities with its customers to enhance their services and has been providing services with new business value created by facilitating sharing of their medium- and long-term problems. It is important to cultivate an ongoing relationship with customers in such activities. As part of this approach, we have applied a human-centered design method, one of the customer value (CV) design methods, for the reduction of congestion around crowded airport check-in counters in cooperation with ANA Osaka Airport Co., Ltd. We have consequently succeeded in creating a framework for a collaborative approach with the customer, resulting in alleviation of congestion. The human-centered design method is contributing to the building of continuous relationships for the enhancement of customers' services jointly with them.

Empathy-Building Processes targeted by Toshiba for Promoting Social Implementation and Social Acceptance of Hydrogen Energy
OHMUKAI Shinya / HIROOKA Yuji / MORI Junichi
In recent years, hydrogen energy has been attracting considerable attention worldwide as an alternative energy source to solve energy problems.
The Toshiba Group is making efforts to promote the development of this new business sphere through the collaboration of various departments, including sales, business planning, engineering, research and development, and product design, toward the realization of a hydrogen society in which hydrogen energy is fully utilized. Setting goals for both the social acceptance and implementation of hydrogen energy, we have created a scenario for achieving these goals based on our customer value (CV) design method and are following this scenario by developing minimum viable products (MVPs) step by step. We have confirmed the effectiveness of this approach in opening up the possibility of hydrogen energy at various touchpoints with customers and creating opportunities to develop a variety of solutions based on the feedback cycle.

Application of Design-Driven Innovation to Creation of New Businesses
The Toshiba Group is promoting the creation of new businesses based on ideas collected from employees. As part of this approach, we have applied an incubation method called design-driven innovation, which is aimed at the creation of products and services with new meanings, to an idea for a new artificial nail service.
Starting with an organization consisting of a few internal personnel, we gradually refined the idea by increasing the number of members with different viewpoints. In the next step, repeated discussions were held with various external stakeholders as an approach to design discourse in order to further explore and develop the idea. The initial idea was progressively improved through these processes, resulting in a business concept with significant impact involving external companies. From the results of this project, we have confirmed the effectiveness of an approach using design-driven innovation in conceiving and building up a new business.

Water Pipe Leakage Management System with Increased Use Value Incorporating Water Leakage Measuring Instrument Applied to UX Design
TSURUMI Shingo / SUGINO Toshiharu / SATO Yoshiyuki
Water leakage caused by aged and eroded pipes has become a critical issue in the field of water infrastructure. Due to the low frequency of inspections for water leakages, however, there has been a lack of basic data for effective preventive maintenance of water pipes as well as a cause of damage expansion.
To address this issue, the Toshiba Group has developed a new water pipe leakage management system incorporating a water pipe inspection function. With this system, the extent of water leakages can be identified earlier and areas susceptible to water leakage can be predicted in advance, in addition to conventional meter reading work in order to increase basic data on water leakage. To reduce the extra workload on meter readers due to the addition of this function as much as possible, we applied user experience (UX) design to the processes for developing an instrument to measure water leakage. We conducted verification and evaluation tests using the rapid-prototyping method, in which prototypes were designed based on the information obtained by on-site research and observations of the behavior of meter readers. As a result, we succeeded in developing a water leakage measuring instrument that offers enhanced usability and reduces the burden on meter readers.

Graphic Facilitation to Assist in Efficient Development of Applications for J-SPEED+
ISHIHARA Aiko / HONMA Tae / TANAKA Hideshige / KUBO Tatsuhiko
In the event of a large-scale disaster, providing appropriate support for medical care by immediately and precisely grasping the medical situation in areas affected by the disaster is an issue of vital importance. J-SPEED™ (Surveillance in Post Extreme Emergencies and Disasters - Japanese version), a reporting system for medical teams in affected areas, has been proposed as a standardized method in Japan.
The Toshiba Group, in cooperation with disaster medicine specialists, have developed applications, including a Web application and a smartphone application, for the J-SPEED™ electronic system (J-SPEED+) that allows medical personnel working at both a disaster headquarters and the affected areas to share medical care information in real time. By utilizing a graphic facilitation technique, we have unified the development policy through effective extraction and visualization of the knowledge of experts accumulated through their activities as well as design goal sharing among application developers. Furthermore, we have succeeded in rapidly developing the specifications of a user interface (UI) to realize the design of an appropriate UI. Simulation experiments on usability at an affected site have confirmed the effectiveness of these applications for J-SPEED+.

Development Processes for Air-Conditioning Management Systems Reflecting Actual Operation in Customer's Facility
MURATA Nozomu / HORIKAWA Masayuki / SAKURAI Koichiro
There is a strong need for energy conservation, particularly for reduction of the energy consumption of nonresidential buildings including offices, retail stores, and schools. In these buildings, it is essential that even general-purpose air conditioners provide efficient operations appropriate to the needs of individual users as well as market requirements.
To address this issue, the Toshiba Group has organized a cross-functional team (CFT) comprising product planners, engineers, and designers with the aim of developing a new air-conditioning controller to meet such diverse requirements. The CFT has performed user interface (UI) design in response to the true needs of users through the following processes: (1) determination of the development policy based on the results of observations of behavior in the control room related to how air conditioners are actually managed, and (2) assessment of usability using prototype models from the initial stage of product design.


  Feature Articles

Sophistication of Technology to Measure Static Electricity in PCB and Product Assembly Processes
Accompanying the ongoing trend toward greater integration and miniaturization of semiconductor devices, the breakdown voltage of internal circuits against electrostatic discharge (ESD) continues to decrease. Damage to semiconductor devices caused by ESD in the printed circuit board (PCB) and product assembly processes is therefore becoming an increasingly significant factor in the incidence of defects in products in process or after shipment. However, it is difficult to identify the cause of ESD occurrence in PCB and product assembly processes using conventional electrostatic measurement methods, particularly inside operating equipment.
Toshiba Corporation has developed a novel electrostatic measurement method that makes it possible to easily identify the cause of ESD occurrence through measurement of the electric charges on a specific printed wire of a PCB, even when it is located in operating equipment. This method is expected to contribute to the realization of stable in-process quality as well as the reduction of investigation time and the costs of countermeasures.

Construction and Operation of Communication System for Smart Meter System of TEPCO Power Grid, Inc.
ISHIMA Mitsuhide / TERAI Kiyoyuki / OGITA Yoshihiro
The movement toward the introduction of smart meters that can improve the efficiency of metering of electricity consumed in individual homes and visualize electricity usage conditions has recently been accelerated by electric power companies. The installation of smart meters throughout the entire service area of TEPCO Power Grid, Inc., comprising approximately 29.1 million homes, is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
As an integrator of the communication system that serves as a platform for the smart meter system of TEPCO Power Grid, Inc., Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation has developed and been supplying equipment for this purpose. This equipment includes a smart meter communication unit that is implemented in each smart meter, a concentrator that collects smart meter data, and a head end system that consists of a network device and servers to process large volumes of data in conjunction with the meter data management system (MDMS). To satisfy the requirements for safe and high-quality communication of smart meters, the communication system complies with international standards and employs the following technologies: (1) wireless multihop networks, (2) a technology for the automatic recollection of missing data, and (3) an optimal route control method. Furthermore, continuous repetitions of plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycles to improve network quality have achieved a high network connection rate exceeding 99%.

Commencement of Commercial Operation of Nishi-Nagoya Thermal Power Station Group No. 7 of Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.
TATEISHI Manabu / KIMURA Kenichi / WATANABE Sojuro
In March 2018, the Nishi-Nagoya Thermal Power Station Group No. 7 of Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. commenced full commercial operation with the start of operation of Unit 7-2. Group No. 7 is composed of Units 7-1 and 7-2. Each of these units is a multishaft combined-cycle power generation system with a rated power output of 1 188.2 MW consisting of three gas turbines manufactured by General Electric Company, and three heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and a steam turbine manufactured by Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation.
In this project, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation devoted its efforts to realizing the optimal overall plant system design. As a result, Unit 7-1 achieved the world's highest gross efficiency of 63.08% (in terms of lower heat value).


  Frontiers of  Research & Development

Silicon Etching Technique for Fabricating High-Aspect-Ratio Vertical Structures Using Metal-Assisted Chemical Etching (MacEtch)

* Company, product, and service names appearing in each paper include those that are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.