SONY

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Technology

Management Approach

Basic Approach

As a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology, Sony promotes R&D based on its mission to "fill the world with emotion through the power of technology." Sony also believes that it is essential to align itself with the motivations of both creators and users in order to achieve its corporate direction of "getting closer to people." People are at the core of the Sony Group's wide-ranging business portfolio, which is centered around the goals of "moving people's hearts," "connecting people to people" and "supporting people." Sony aims to contribute to solving the challenges that people, society and the planet face through its technology as the societal significance of its businesses grows.

Structure

Through Corporate R&D (Sony's R&D organization) , Sony is realizing contributions to the entire Sony Group, setting the direction for robust technological development over the mid- to long-term, and enhancing open innovation. While supporting R&D activities in each business, Sony is accelerating technological evolution through the Sony Group's diverse business portfolio and creating group synergies. Although Corporate R&D activities are mainly focused on the next three to ten years, Sony allocates up to 5% of R&D expenses toward discovering the seeds of new technologies for the long-term, so that it can flexibly respond to changes in trends over the mid- to long-term.
Sony carries out Corporate R&D activities in collaboration with multiple R&D centers in Japan, China, Europe and the United States, utilizing the different characteristics and strengths of each area. In an effort to further strengthen its R&D presence overseas, Sony established two new R&D centers in Bengaluru and Mumbai, India, and one in Shenzhen, China, in July 2020 and September 2020, respectively. While striving to attract skilled research personnel locally, Sony will promote further collaboration between the various businesses within the Sony Group. Additionally, Sony continues to strive to enhance ease of movement for management and personnel between each R&D center and strengthen its R&D from more diverse perspectives. For cross-sectional projects such as those in the Entertainment and Financial Services areas, Sony assembles teams with members from various organizations to promote R&D activities through the flexible and efficient collection of knowledge.
Sony is also proactively taking part in open innovation, including collaboration with universities and other research institutions, in an effort to gain insight into the motivations of creators and users from a wider perspective to enhance the potential of its business.

Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL)

Sony CSL was established in 1988 to pioneer new research fields and paradigms, as well as new technologies and businesses, for the good of humanity and society. Respecting the free will of researchers, Sony CSL pursues R&D that is truly bold, creative, and original.
From its initial forays into next-generation computer systems, Sony CSL has expanded into diverse domains including systems biology, econophysics, and interaction. Sony CSL is presently working to address social issues such as ecosystem, urban planning, and energy issues while exploring augmentation of human abilities, including creativity, and pursuing AI and data analysis. In 2020, Sony CSL opened a branch office in Kyoto, Japan, making it the third location after Tokyo and Paris in the pursuit of further value creation.

Sony CSL

Sony AI Inc.

Sony AI was established with the mission to "unleash human imagination and creativity with AI." Sony AI aims to accelerate the R&D of AI and combine this with the Sony Group's imaging and sensing technologies, robotics technologies, and entertainment assets — including movies, music, and games — to drive transformation across business domains and contribute to the creation of new ones. In the long-term, Sony AI envisions to solve global-scale issues beyond Sony's business domains. Recognizing the power and influence of AI technologies, Sony AI will contribute to society by developing AI that is responsible, fair and transparent.

Sony Startup Acceleration Program (SSAP)

Sony launched the Sony Startup Acceleration Program (SSAP) in 2014 to support the launch of startups and their business operations within Sony. SSAP provides seamless support from ideation, incubation and marketing to business expansion. Leveraging Sony's experience and expertise in creating new business internally and globally, SSAP also provides startup support services to external organizations including major corporations for their new business development, venture companies, non-profits (NPOs) , local governments, educational institutions, and research institutes. In February 2020, Sony signed a collaboration agreement with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in the area of innovation.

Sony Innovation Fund

Sony Innovation Fund was created in July 2016 as a corporate venture capital fund to invest in startups. With offices in Japan, North America, Europe, and India, Sony Innovation Fund invests in a broad range of business domains from AI and robotics to mobility, IoT, healthcare, fintech, and entertainment.
As a part of this initiative, in September 2020, Sony Innovation Fund: Environment (SIF:E) , which focuses on creating new environmental technologies, was established. In June 2021, the fund adopted an ESG assessment process for companies it invests in and launched a program to support ESG initiatives by companies. Sony Innovation Fund is supporting technologies that help to solve social issues as well as startups that use and offer these technologies, to help create a more sustainable world and better society.

Main Achievements in Fiscal 2020

  • Established and strengthened R&D centers globally, for instance in India and China
  • Developed the VISION-S prototype vehicle to contribute to the further evolution of next-generation mobility. Commenced road testing for technical evaluation and conducted driving tests on a test course that supports 5G networks
  • Commercial launch of Intelligent vision sensor "IMX500/501" equipped with AI processing functionality realizing low power consumption and addressing privacy concern
  • Successfully achieved a bidirectional communication link between the International Space Station and an optical ground station using the Small Optical Link for International Space Station (SOLISS) , looking to contribute to the construction of the next generation space communication infrastructure
  • Established SynecO, Inc. as the inaugural project of the Sony Innovation Fund: Environment, a corporate venture capital fund. SynecO was established to promote businesses specializing in technologies related to augmented ecosystems
  • Advancing activities for putting the Sony Group AI Ethics Guidelines into practice including developing AI ethics assessment frameworks and system

Looking to the Future

Sony will continue to pursue R&D in keeping with its management strategy — getting closer to both creators and end users, and better understanding what motivates them — seeking to leverage advanced technologies across its diverse business portfolio to create new value.