Vol. 78, No. 4, July 2023

Special Reports

Service Design for Co-Creation of Value and Life Satisfaction

KOYAMA Hiroyuki


Toshiba Tec Corporation is aiming to transform itself from a business that sells products to a platform business, starting with its point-of-sale (POS) business in which it holds a large market share. We are working to expand our customer base not only in the retail industry but also in related industries such as payments, advertising, and logistics, and to construct an ecosystem that provides true value, thereby contributing to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and enhancing people’s level of satisfaction in their lives.

In order to transform into a platform business and achieve further expansion, we established an organization of service design specialists in October 2022 to lead co-creation activities through dialogue and empathy with stakeholders. In addition, the organization is developing original methods for service design and business studies, and providing opportunities for co-creation by means of dialogue with customers and consumers, problem discovery, and idea generation. Through the development of human capital, opportunities, and methods, we will continue our efforts to create a system that comprehensively supports the provision of value to society.

ISAKA Takehiko

The realization of a sustainable society has become a significant international trend accompanying the economic development of countries around the world. In this context, it is necessary for the retail industry to shift its concept of corporate activities from ownership to sharing, recycling, and reclamation, and to increase the efficiency of resource utilization.

The Toshiba Tec Group is committed to enhancing satisfaction in people’s lives by providing retail businesses with components of its services so that they can solve economic, social, and environmental issues from multiple perspectives, including in the areas of socioeconomic systems, lifestyles, and technology.


The current market is characterized by the release of a wide variety of services in rapid succession. In this environment, it is becoming difficult to achieve differentiation in the conventional sell-out process, in which the specifications of a service are examined based on the manufacturer’s hypothesis and the service is then developed and released.

Toshiba Tec Corporation has studied this issue and developed a service design process that can swiftly and continuously provide value to customers. This process involves modeling the systems required to provide a service and repeating the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle for that service from the customer’s viewpoint based on a service design method. We aim to apply this service design process to the creation of differentiated services that provide true value to customers.

TERANOSHITA Masahide / KAMISUWA Yoshikatsu / HARA Noriyoshi

In a situation where customers’ business environments are changing at an accelerating pace, it is necessary to swiftly respond to the issues encountered by customers through dialogue and co-creation with them. For this purpose, it is important to design the required services based on post-release information collection and feedback to the customer.

Toshiba Tec Corporation is constructing a service operation platform that supports the management, analysis, and status assessment of equipment by centrally managing the operating status of all systems and equipment installed by the customer in real time and visualizing the status in the form of a bird’s-eye view. The continuous management of services in this way will make it possible to reuse and recycle services and contribute to realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the reduction of development resources.

TAKAHASHI Nobuyuki / HARA Noriyoshi

The retail industry is facing a chronic labor shortage, and while workstyle reforms and automation are being implemented, further issues have emerged resulting from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, soaring prices due to international conflicts, and the depreciation of the yen.

Toshiba Tec Corporation follows the principle that not only actions taken by the company itself but also collaboration with its business partners is indispensable in order to promptly provide services to solve the various problems being encountered by customers. For this purpose, we have constructed an ecosystem for new value creation through co-creation and collaboration with our partners, and are providing a support system that enables us together with our partners to quickly develop solutions utilizing the ELERA global retail platform.

Feature Articles


Technologies for detecting specific objects in images using deep neural networks (DNNs) and other techniques are becoming increasingly important to improve productivity, promote automation, and save labor. However, retraining of a DNN is necessary in order to detect new objects that did not exist at the time of its introduction. The few-shot object detection technique makes retraining possible using only a few images, but this process takes at least several hours even when high-speed hardware is used.

Toshiba Corporation has developed a few-shot object detection technology using feature vector registration that requires only a few images of a new object together with the correct information, eliminating the need for retraining. We have also developed and applied an original self-supervised learning method that automatically learns the shapes of objects in an image other than those targeted for training, improving the accuracy of detection of new objects compared with conventional methods.

KOBATAKE Tomoya / YAMADA Masataka

In order to maintain the performance of artificial intelligence (AI) applied to the provision of actual services, where data are subject to change due to various factors, it is necessary to continuously update the AI model. However, the updating of an AI model consists of highly specialized processes such as monitoring, relearning, and AI model management, requiring substantial human resources.

The Toshiba Group has developed a machine learning operations (MLOps) platform that automates these processes and allows them to be smoothly implemented on site, thereby improving the speed and quality of development of AI-based Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) services. We have applied this MLOps platform to IIoT services such as plant anomaly prediction and automatic product inspection, and confirmed that it is possible for personnel who are not AI specialists to execute the process of updating AI models and to take the necessary measures in response to changes in data.

HOSOKAWA Akira / ZHANG Ruigang / NAGANO Shinichi

The microservices architecture is attracting attention as a means of achieving both rapid design and functional extensibility when developing services on infrastructure service platforms. However, if the data items and measurement units exchanged via application programming interface (API) for this purpose differ from facility to facility, it becomes necessary to develop data acquisition functions and visualization screens individually according to the data, which hinders rapid service development.

To address this issue, Toshiba Corporation has standardized a microservice module using an information model that defines classes and their properties based on mathematical set theory and developed a microservice integration technology that automatically determines whether the connection of microservices is possible via the information model. This makes it possible to flexibly respond to various requirements and provide services rapidly.


Toshiba Corporation provides the TOSHIBA SPINEX Marketplace, a portal site for the TOSHIBA SPINEX industrial Internet of Things (IoT) service. In order to promote TOSHIBA SPINEX as a safe and high-quality service, the TOSHIBA SPINEX Marketplace is also required to offer high safety and reliability.

This was achieved by constructing the TOSHIBA SPINEX Marketplace based on the HABANEROTS Toshiba IoT infrastructure service to guarantee high security and reliability. As a result, we were able to construct a portal site with state-of-the-art information security, scalability, and availability at low cost.


In the construction or renewal of facilities such as water supply and sewage treatment plants, the shortest possible period of downtime is generally required. However, because the equipment in such plants handles large amounts of power, electromagnetic noise can easily cause sensor devices to malfunction or falsely detect errors, prolonging the time required to start operation.

Toshiba has developed a design method for noise suppression circuits that suppresses magnetic saturation based on design formulas, and a simulation environment to predict electromagnetic noise using a model focusing on frequency characteristics. These technologies make it possible to predict and suppress electromagnetic noise in plant equipment before construction begins, thereby preventing malfunctions and false detections caused by electromagnetic noise and shortening downtime.


Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation has been providing the SATLYS Toshiba Analytics AI service as a managed service to customers requiring artificial intelligence (AI) services in a variety of fields. One issue that has arisen is that the interface for invoking AI models differs from customer to customer, making it necessary to construct the appropriate environment for each customer and prolonging the period required for introduction.

In response to this issue, we have developed a video analysis AI model that can be used for multiple applications by unifying the interface with a wrapper program for video AI elemental technologies, which are in high demand among customers, and started offering it as the SATLYS AI Model Provision service. This service makes it possible to shorten the time required for the introduction of AI services.

ENDO Kotaro / TOYAMA Haruhiko

The areas of application of blockchain technology, which originated from the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, are expanding significantly with the birth of smart contracts. Blockchain technology is therefore expected to be used in a wider range of fields in the future.

In response to this trend, the Toshiba Group has launched DNCWARE Blockchain+ (hereafter abbreviated as BC+), a blockchain service for businesses that allows users to freely create and deploy smart contracts. While strengthening the essential elements of blockchains, we have developed our own technologies that are unavailable in public blockchains such as access control and management privileges designed for general business use. As a result, we are able to offer a highly reliable and easy-to-use blockchain as a managed service.

Frontiers of Research & Development

Planning and Control Technology for Picking Robots Enabling Handling of Various Objects According to Changing Conditions

Model for Prediction of Film Thickness in Deposition Processes Using Fluid Visualization and Machine Learning Techniques

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