‘We are living in an Omron-world!?’
full of amazing findings.
Photo/text: Ado Ishino
Kyoto is home of many unique companies doing international business with an original technology. Head offices of company with definite philosophy to launch new products to our lives without yielding to the price war is in this city.
One of them is Omron. They have offices in 35 countries and area, offer service in 110 countries and area, and global employment of 39,000 people. Omron Communication Plaza will introduce ‘who they are’ and solve their mystery.
There I was, with a mere knowledge about them being about their thermometer and weighing machine.
This plaza consists of 2 exhibition floors. The 3rd floor on corporate history, and 2nd on their technologies.
First, I visited the Omron history section on the 3rd floor.
‘To improve lives and contribute to a better society’
Simple and firm mission greeted me.
Omron story flows to the panel of the founder, Mr. Kazuma Tateishi.
Established in 1933, the welcoming message by the mission statement is his word.
‘A company is most valuable when it contributes to society beyond the simple pursuit of profits’, ‘this is social responsibility of the company as being part of the society’
This is deeply rooted in the DNA of corporate spirit for a global company, Omron.
I recommend reading every word of Mr. Tateishi’s panel. There are so much to empathize with as being in the same world.
To foresee the needs in 5 years and in 10 years. To have the technology to work toward those upcoming needs, to solve the social issue through business innovation. ‘To the machine the work of machines, to man the thrill of further creation’.
What he had in 1933 is still strongly speaking to our hearts in 2015. I’m only at the first panel and am so moved already.
Looking at the photo on the right, Mr. Tateishi with Peter R. Drucker, business scholar and the father of management. Drucker’s impression of Tateishi was that ‘there are no one as deeply understanding technology and having such clear vision of its way forward and innovation’.
‘Social Needs’ and future forecast
The next panel is on ‘Social Needs’, important mission of Omron since establishment.
Social Needs is to…
discover emerging needs and to give value to society through products and services that anticipate and resove social issues.
‘To find emerging needs’ which cannot be seen, and to ‘be the pioneer in creating such solution’ is beyond my imagination…
Tateishi came up with what they call the SINIC theory. It is a future prediction theory on top of their technology to continue working for social needs. A study group was fromed in 1967, and they had made a presentation at the International Future Studies Conference in 1970, where it was enthusiastically accepted.
SINIC theory diagram. Science, technology and society have a cyclical relationship, in which each area impacts and influences the others in two ways, prompting the society to evolve.
SINIC theory is analyzing the society in 11 stages. The Japanese society is at the Optimization Society stage, where people will be placing more emphasis on finding new ways to live their lives and searching for self-fulfillment.
We really are! He had predicted this in 1970 through a carefully constructed theory.
Being astonished I moved on to the exhibitions of technology, product and service based on SINIC theory.
From when Omron started business until around 1960, Japan was going through a time trying to establish an original technology. The social needs back then was to improve productivity in the manufacturing industry. So Omron had started working on automation of factory production.
X-ray timer that Tateishi invented in 1933. At that time, winding-up technology were not able to measure time precisely but with this, it was able to take photograph at a speed of 1/20 seconds sharp, making a very clear photo. This first product of them was also the milestone product to confirm their challenging spirits and business direction.Improved protective relay was used in power switchboards to expand business. Disastrous Muroto Typhoon in 1934 had increased the demand in protective relays to recover the damaged factories and Omron had taken a chance to pursue their business in that field.Micro switch came next. Receiving request from Aviation Institute, University of Tokyo, they succeeded in the first domestic production in 1943. Half the size of match box, switching capacity of 10A, lifespan over 100 thousand times. It was way too much over the average of that time, meaning a tremendous amount of trial and error that must have taken place until realization.
In 1970, they presented ‘SINIC theory’ to the world. Grasping on to the strong philosophy of working for social needs, they have moved on with various innovations.
I will introduce some of the most amazing innovation.
(Left)Coin selector: used for the world’s first ticketing machine. (Upper Right)Coin timer: Allows switch on electronic machine for a certain time when receiving a coin. Used for paying system of public facilities such as massaging machines. (Lower Right) ultrasound switch: World’s first ultrasound sensor used in road traffic control system.
This means that no traffic lights, no vending machines, no massage machines if not for Omron?!
What is more, even ATM machine had started with their technology!
Now, go on with this video
This is an automatic ticket gate. It was 1964 that they started working on this module. Creating automatic ticketing machine and ticket gates, they had finally made possible for an unmanned station system in 1979!
I felt like shouting out with amazement, yet there still is much to go on with their innovative history.
In 1969 they had world’s smallest desk calculating machine, electronic manometer in 1978, electronic thermometer in 1983 and had been a successful pioneer in the electronic healthcare devices.
Devices to harmonize human with machine. Invisible yet essential power that we should be more grateful of. People need to come here and realize this.
This exhibition was produced by <KYOTOGRAPHIE>, who handles many of the international photographic events in Kyoto. No wonder it make me feel like going through a story, their construction is also fascinating.
We are not finished yet. 2nd floor will continue with exhibition of their corporate passion.
What lies ahead of Optimization Society. Story about Omron's future.
According to Omron's founder Mr. Kazuma Tateishi, today's Japan is at 'Optimization Society' stage of their SINIC theory that had been presented in 1970.
'Optimization Society' is the state which people will be placing more emphasis on finding new ways to live their lives and searching for self-fulfillment. With the sufficient technologies people will start to place their priority on more fundamental desires, therefore new social needs emerging.
How Omron captures social needs of today and future can be experienced in the 2nd floor.
Here is a video of their approach to the future.
'Sensing & Control'＋Think
My favorite exhibition is this.
There are other sections to enjoy among 'Society', 'Living' and 'Industry' area.
'Science and technology' had a cool and smart impression before, but now that I had experienced this Communication Plaza, I am so moved with their heated passion and vision.
To put the most of energy to have people live a better lives.
I left the Plaza thinking of how bright the future is for us with them.
Address: Omron Center Building Keishinkan, Horikawa Higashi-iru, Shiokoji-dori, Simogyo-ku, Kyoto City (map)
Hours: Weekdays 10:00-16:00 (Guide tours are held 4 times everyday, reservation needed
Closed: Saturday, Sunday, public and corporate holiday
* Need advance application from website prior to visit