Fujio Mitarai is looking to position Canon Inc. for future growth into the middle of the 21st century by building on the transforma­tion of his company’s business portfolio to make the switch from a B2C to a B2B company and stay abreast of global market developmen­ts.

The year 2020 marks the end of Phase V of this business portfolio transforma­tion, and the multinatio­nal company that is listed on both the Tokyo and New York stock exchanges continues to advance steadily toward the targets set by Mitarai.

The transforma­tion of Canon’s business portfolio includes seeking synergies in new business areas that leverage its existing assets, including both technology and human resources, while also continuing to pursue a strategy of merger and acquisitio­ns. “We are transformi­ng our business portfolio to stay in sync with the changing times,” Mitarai says.

Canon at the Cutting Edge in the Medical Field

Mitarai has earmarked the medical field as an area for potential growth and in December 2016, Canon acquired Toshiba Medical Systems Corporatio­n.

Over the short term, Canon is looking to expand its lineup of diagnostic imaging equipment, such as CT, MRI and ultrasound, while also boosting their competitiv­e capabiliti­es.

Mid- to long-term growth includes a focus on regenerati­ve medicine, which could have far-reaching applicatio­ns, especially in an aging society. Since August 2019, the company has engaged in joint research with Nobel Prize winner Professor Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University into induced pluripoten­t stem (iPS) cells, and how they could be used to replicate injured tissue, test drug efficacy and develop new medicines. Canon is contributi­ng advanced optical, measuring and diagnostic imaging technologi­es to the project. Together with Yamanaka and his research group, Canon is confident they can make a contributi­on to the further developmen­t and adoption of regenerati­ve medicine. It’s still in the early stages, according to Mitarai, but there is huge growth potential.

M&A: Mitarai Adopts Two-Pronged Strategy

Canon's network camera business boasts annual growth of more than 15% outpacing the market, and Mitarai aims for further dominance in this area with a two-pronged strategy of acquiring various hardware and software businesses.

In 2015, Canon acquired Axis Communicat­ions, a global leader in network video equipment, less than a year after the acquisitio­n of Milestone Systems, a leader in video management software for such equipment. In addition, in 2018, Canon acquired leading video analysis solution provider BriefCam.

The global network camera market is expected to see annual growth in excess of 10% over the mid- to long-term, with such fields as security and law enforcemen­t making up a major share.

Mitarai explains, “Using a camera equipped with the ultra-high-resolution 250-megapixel CMOS sensor and 800mm telephoto lens, it is possible to identify the lettering on the side of an aircraft from a distance of about 18km. This can help security patrols view objects that

“We are transformi­ng our business portfolio to stay in sync with the changing times,” Mitarai says.

cannot be seen with the naked eye.”

That’s not to say Mitarai is ignoring the convention­al applicatio­ns of network cameras and their potential to help realize a safer, more secure society.

Mitarai also sees uses in marketing: “Network cameras can be used in places like supermarke­ts to gather data on purchases made by certain demographi­cs from specific shelves. I believe that this technology can be used to create a more convenient society,” he says.

He cites potential smart cities as a catalyst for the future developmen­t of the network camera market, envisaging the technology connecting such institutio­ns as schools, broadcaste­rs and hospitals.

Mitarai’s M&A strategy is also proving a success in the field of commercial printing, identified as one of Canon’s new core businesses. Canon acquired Océ, based in Venlo, the Netherland­s, in 2010, but the company that is expected to revolution­ize high-volume, highspeed printing continued to operate under its original name. Last year, Océ’s business division recognized the advantage of adopting the Canon brand name, and effective from January 2020, the company has been rebranded as Canon Production Printing— making Océ, already a fully fledged member of the Canon Group, a member in name as well.

Serving Profession­als and Innovating Imagery

The Canon name has long been synonymous with consumer cameras, but this market has matured as many of the original user needs can now be met by smartphone­s. Mitarai wants his company to focus its efforts elsewhere, including the profession­al user market.

“When we talk about the shrinking camera market we are really only talking about consumer cameras. The market for profession­allevel cameras used by the media and those who shoot sporting events will not disappear. These are areas where smartphone­s can’t meet user needs,” he says.

Beginning with the Rugby World Cup in 2019, Japan is set to host a number of global sporting events over the next several years. Mitarai himself played a leading role during the Rugby World Cup as Chairman of the Organizing Committee.

Canon maintains a strong connection to sports, including event sponsorshi­p and media support, and has actively honed its technologi­cal capabiliti­es, including the Free Viewpoint Video System, capture and display of high-resolution 8K images, and immersive widescreen viewing experience­s. Canon produced video content that allowed viewers to feel like they were right in the middle of the action.

Canon’s Free Viewpoint Video System is comprised of cameras installed around the perimeter of the field, producing computerge­nerated video that provides a new perspectiv­e of the game.

“The images from the cameras are immediatel­y processed by computers and television viewers can observe events from virtually the same level as the crowd in the stadium. It is also possible to trace individual on-field plays, and to use computer processing to view them from different perspectiv­es,” Mitarai says.

He sees possibilit­ies for strategic analysis in such sports as American football and to help referees determine rule violations from positions they cannot see for themselves. “This will transform the way people watch sports,” he adds.

Looking ahead, you can be certain that Mitarai and his staff have plans for Canon to continue to create new image expression­s that change the way people view sports as the third decade of the 21st century gets underway.

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 ??  ?? 8K immersive live viewing at Canon's Tokyo headquarte­rs.
8K immersive live viewing at Canon's Tokyo headquarte­rs.
 ??  ?? Canon to expand its lineup of diagnostic imaging equipment.
Canon to expand its lineup of diagnostic imaging equipment.

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