In Japan: The Rising Need for Data and Analysts

Mike Togle
May 11, 2017

Precision is a trait attributed by many to the Japanese. This is seen in the way commuter trains in Japan somehow arrive on time; all the time. That level of precision is set to increase even further as Japan, already one of the most technologically-advanced cultures in the world, begins harnessing Big Data for various uses in the public sector, commercial and even private spheres.

The major transportation and logistics businesses are some of the firsts to mine data with the objective to provide better services with an even higher level of efficiency. As reported by The Japan Times, airplane, train and ship companies are looking to improve safety in their services by using data.

As the country’s flag-carrier airline, it is no wonder that Japan Airlines (JAL) is making use of data from sensors to help keep their planes flying safe and extensively minimize delays. In December 2016, the airline launched a new system that monitors engine temperature pressure on components to head-off anomalies in the instruments. JAL hopes that the new system will help prevent delays and flight cancellations, which Japan Times reported to be at a figure of 200 flights cancelled annually.

Japan Airlines Utilize Big Data from Sensors

Japan Airlines makes use of data from sensors to help keep their planes flying safe and extensively minimize delays.

The Japanese Government, through its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is also using Big Data in a big way through RESAS, the Regional Economy and Society Analyzing System. Simply put, it makes available demographics and activity data from people in different cities and regions that local governments can use to craft policies, especially ones that can drive economic activity in their areas.

In the most personal use of Big Data anywhere, several regional local governments in Japan are turning to Analytics to help in matchmaking. It is common knowledge that Japan’s demographics concern is caused in part by young Japanese refusing to marry. With the help of Big Data, local governments are hoping to increase the success of matchmaking services, especially during speed dating.

But even with plenty of data to use, the biggest problem Data Analytics in Japan is facing is the lack of specialists to make sense of all that information. In an article from Nikkei Asia Review, the Nikkei Inc. group’s annual survey showed there were two significant issues: 68% of respondent companies said there was a “lack of ideas for applying the data”  and 62% named a shortage in data analysts as one of their top challenges.

The same problem faces the local governments using the RESAS information. Japan Times notes that local officials often complain that they have little to no idea how to use the system or get overwhelmed by the large amount of data available that they cannot find what they need.

Companies from outside Japan hope to provide much needed assistance here.

For example, Pointwest’s Data Team has extensive experience in making sense of data sets, as can be seen in its sentiment analysis of the Philippine Presidential Debates of 2016, the USA Presidential Elections of the same year, and one for Airline passengers in the US. The same group placed in the upper 6% of entrants to a Kaggle competition.

Data Solutions for the Japan Market

Aiding Pointwest’s efforts in helping clients make sense of their data is Text Science, a tool developed by the company for social media analytics. It can be used to monitor the performance of posts based on reach and engagement, it does detailed competitive analyses, and it measures social media impact of a brand.

Pointwest also offers a Location Intelligence tool that makes use of data from various sources to advise its users on the best location for one’s business. The tool takes into consideration several factors, like the presence of other stores in an area, population density, income classification, and even government efficiency, and regional competitiveness in making its assessments.

By June 2017, Pointwest will be launching a Data solution designed to give businesses a 360-degree view of their customers — defined as the core of every business activity from engagement and experience to retention and loyalty. The digital solution shall offer deeper insights to the psyche of the customers so that businesses can serve them better, provide them more focused products and innovations, and strengthen and nurture relationships with them.

This kind of experience will complement the diligence of the Japanese in gathering accurate data.

By working together, Japanese and partners like Pointwest can make sense of the large data sets and provide quality data-driven analysis and advice to companies in Japan, their corresponding departments, and even local government agencies.



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