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Japanese Electronics Firms Look To Re-engineer Their Design Mojo

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Japanese Electronics Firms Look To Re-engineer Their Design Mojo

Akihiro Adachi, a 31-year-old audiovisual equipment designer at Panasonic Corp, longed for some personal space during his lengthy train rides from Osaka to Tokyo. So when his company set out to encourage innovation, he joined with some colleagues and came up with “Wear Space,” a headset that limits noise and peripheral vision.

Many at Panasonic were puzzled.

“Someone said the office full of people wearing this would look weird,” said Kang Hwayoung, another member of the 10-person design team.

But the prototype unexpectedly won a global design award and received positive feedback from unexpected quarters, such as sake tasters who wanted to limit sensory input.

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The project is among a range of efforts in the Japanese electronics industry to reinvigorate industrial design. After years of losing ground to design-first rivals such as Apple and Dyson, Japanese companies are now trying to recover the processes and creative flair that produced iconic products such as the Walkman.

Panasonic, Sony, and Mitsubishi Electric are among those implementing practices that have been routine at many U.S. and European companies, such as engaging designers at every step and treating packaging as part of the product.

“We used to have designers involved only in final stages of our product development process, just for an aesthetic fix,” Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Panasonic’s technology, and the manufacturing chief told reporters. “We are revamping the process so that designers can join us from the planning phase.”

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The Japanese government is promoting the efforts: a report in May urged corporate executives to pursue “design-driven management, whereby a company leverages design as a primary driver of competitiveness.”

It also called for tax incentives for design-related investments and new laws to better protect intellectual property. The government is set to revise such laws next year.

“Of course, we had an argument over how much the government can do and should do with private-sector issues like this,” said Daisuke Kubota, director at the government’s design registration system planning office, who was involved in the panel.

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“But a lot of design experts asked us for government initiatives, saying that this is really the last chance and Japan would never be able to catch up with global rivals if this opportunity is missed.”

Another member of the panel, Kinya Tagawa, visiting professor at the Royal College of Art and co-founder of design firm Takram, says there has been a sharp increase in major companies’ requesting design lectures for their executives.

“I’m seeing a sign of change,” he said.

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African News

Leap From 2G To 4G Would Happen Faster Than Expected In Africa – Nokia

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Leap From 2G To 4G Would Happen Faster Than Expected In Africa - Nokia

Nokia head of customer marketing and communications in the middle east and African regions, Joachim Wuilmet says the African continent is on the next great mobile phone innovation this year.

Wuilmet said mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa rose by 44% in 2017 and smartphone penetration in the same region increased by 75%. He says, Africa is poised at the edge of an evolution, ready to show the rest of the world what it can do with innovation and a commitment to improving infrastructure and that the leap from 2G to 4G in Sub-Saharan Africa would happen faster than many expect.

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Also, Nokia`s central, east, and west Africa- market unit head Daniel Jaeger, said there were already a number of impressive innovations around 5G in Africa, with some commercial sites in South Africa already rolling out.

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Huawei Executive Arrested In Poland For Spying Allegations

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Huawei Executive Arrested In Poland For Spying Allegation

A Huawei executive has been arrested in Poland for allegedly working with a Chinese secret services.

 

A director and an employee of Huawei, Weijing W, and a polish national, Piotr D were accused of spying allegations. They were being arrested on Thursday as it was discovered their actions were in benefit of Chinese secret service. They will be held under arrest for three months and if found guilty they are likely to face up to 10 years in prison.

Spokesperson for Poland’s minister for special services, Stanislaw Zaryn, said that the agency had evidence that both men were “conducting spying activities against Poland”.

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African News

Election: DRC Restores Internet Services After Announcement Of Result

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Election: DRC Restores Internet Services After Announcement Of Result

Democratic Republic of Congo has restored internet services in the country – right after provisional results of the presidential election were announced.

The government had ordered a shutdown of internet access during the counting of votes, saying it did not want people to spread “false” information.

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Residents in the capital-Kinshasa and eastern city of Goma have confirmed that internet services have been restored.

Critics had accused the government-in its decision of trying to suppress the truth about the counting process.

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