Japan’s declining birthrate and aging population are structural problems that inhibit its economic growth. In order to address this issue, the Government of Japan is implementing various measures to realize a society in which all 100 million people are active. In particular, workstyle Innovation is positioned as one of the biggest challenges. In April 2019, part of the “Legislation related to Workstyle Innovation” went into effect, and the public and private sectors from small-and medium-sized to large enterprise have begun full-fledged efforts toward Workstyle Innovation.

Faced with the diversifying needs of workers, such as a declining working-age population, and the need to balance childcare and nursing care, it has become an important issue to improve productivity through investment and innovation, as well as to create an environment in which employment opportunities are expanded and employees can fully demonstrate their motivation and capabilities. While Workstyle Innovation is often focused on reducing overtime and improving productivity, the theme of reform is shifting to promoting diversity and increasing job satisfaction.

According to the survey conducted by Cisco targeting 300 knowledge workers in 13 countries including Japan, almost twice as many Japanese say that their “organization does not allow remote working,” compared to global peers. In situations where a worker has to work at a fixed time and in a fixed place, people in child care, the elderly, people with disabilities, or others who have restrictions on working hours or the environment may not be suitable to their needs, today’s working environment in Japan may not be flexible enough to accommodate their workstyle.  In fact, just 11% say they have an office optimized for different types of work, and just 12% agree that meetings with virtual attendees are as effective as in-person meetings, both of which were lowest of all countries surveyed. Moreover, just 11% say their “organization has created a work culture that attracts and retains the best talent.”

Promoting remote work is an effective strategy for improving competitiveness by maximizing the capabilities of diverse talents. In addition to adapting to a flexible work style, it can stimulate communication and collaboration and motivate employees.

Against this backdrop, remote work is attracting attention as a means of alleviating traffic congestion in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. To support its widespread adoption, in August 2019, Cisco Japan announced a special plan to provide licenses for hosting cloud-based web conferences “Cisco Webex Meetings” at prices that are easy for customers to implement, no matter business size. “Cisco Webex Meetings” is a collaboration solution that allows users to share not only audio and video but also data and applications online from various devices such as PCs, smartphones, tablets, and video conferencing devices. In addition to live conversations through high-definition images, you can share and record materials, chat with participants, and change meetings as effectively or more productively as face-to-face meetings.

Voice communication still plays an important role in various business scenarios. Accordingly, on October 31, 2019, KDDI began providing corporate customers with “Cisco Webex Calling” a cloud-based telephone system that, in conjunction with their existing fixed-phone-based voice communications infrastructure, will enable users to make and receive calls from fixed phones via smart devices such as smartphones and PCs.

Along with the spread of remote work, digital transformation in the workplace is also essential. However, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for 99.7% of the total number of companies in Japan and more than 70% of the total number of employees, lack the human resources and know-how to manage IT. To address this challenge, Cisco and Ricoh have jointly developed two solutions for creating digital workplaces that are both highly productive and secure. “RICOH Common Status Dashboard for Cisco Meraki” which centrally manages Ricoh multifunction devices and network equipment, and “RICOH Guest Wi-Fi Generator for Cisco Meraki” which allows you to issue guest Wi-Fi accounts with one button. With the aim of making this product available globally, we are currently conducting customer verification in the Japanese market and plan to launch it in early 2020.

Workstyle Innovation is expected to accelerate towards Tokyo 2020, but it is essential for Japan’s economic growth and must continue to evolve beyond 2020.

“Be the Bridge between the Next Generation Digital Infrastructure and Japan’s Sustainable Growth.” This is Cisco Japan’s vision for fiscal 2020. We intend to deepen our relationship with our customers and partners while contributing to the resolution of issues at the national level through digitization. Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, Cisco will contribute to the development of talents in Japan from the perspectives of Workstyle Innovation, productivity, flexibility and diversity, while continuing to provide “high quality digital solutions” that will contribute to digitization and economic growth in Japan.


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