#Automation#IoT#Digital Transformation

SoftBank: providing disruptive technologies to drive digital transformation journeys

Marcus Lawrence
|May 18|magazine16 min read

The SoftBank Group, founded and led by renowned business leader Masayoshi Son, is one of the country’s largest and most prolific companies. The conglomerate is one of the largest telecommunications providers in the world, and has become a regular and significant tech investor for firms around the globe. Its US$100bn Vision Fund, for example, has invested heavily in companies around the globe to drive technological advancement. SoftBank Corp., a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., is also one of the leading providers of digital transformation services and solutions, and has become a go-to for companies worldwide for products and solutions including IoT platform, cloud technology, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, robotics, data analysis, cybersecurity, Fintech and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).

SoftBank believes that data should be the key driver in all business decisions, and as such offers a suite of solutions that enable firms to harness the latent insights of their data sets. Data centres form a core part of SoftBank’s digital transformation offerings, providing colocation and hosting services for firms looking to offload operations to state-of-the-art cloud environments. Its White Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) provides the hosting capability for enterprises: a dedicated server platform that provides web, mail and database functions. Outside of the data centre, White Cloud ASPIRE is SoftBank’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution that offers flexible on-premise cloud environments for customers.

A joint venture (JV), called SB Cloud, formed in 2016 between SoftBank and Alibaba saw the launch of Alibaba’s cloud capabilities in Japan leveraging Alibaba Cloud technology in a partnership that continues today. SB Cloud enables SoftBank customers to take advantage of a host of capabilities to make the most of their data, including the DataV visualisation and analysis platform. The tool enables firms to identify and interpret trends, patterns and relationships within and between their data sets whilst offering a straightforward user interface (UI) to minimise disruption to businesses adopting the technology. DataV also displays and monitors data simultaneously, maximising the efficiency of its analysis, as well as offering a strong degree of immediacy. SoftBank also enables its customers to leverage the strongest cloud offerings from elsewhere around the world through its Cloud Access service, providing a direct gateway to those offerings through its own secure, closed network. Through SoftBank, customers can use Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services platforms, ensuring that clients can tailor their selection to the needs of their business or to align with existing technologies used in their operations. In keeping with its commitment to advancing the technological capabilities of Japanese infrastructure, SoftBank announced on 20 March 2019 that it has entered a JV with Cohesity, the market leader in the hyperconverged secondary storage space and a member of the Vision Fund’s portfolio. The JV is set to facilitate the advent of a modern data infrastructure in Japan that will drive backups, storage, management, and generation of actionable insights for enterprises countrywide.

In addition to the cloud services and platforms that SoftBank provides, it offers a variety of cybersecurity solutions to ensure the platforms have appropriate measures in place to keep data in the right hands. One example of these solutions is the Cybereason security platform, which detects threats in real time and ensures administrators are informed immediately so that action can be taken before the breach causes harm. Automated processes within the platform enable it to assess the severity of threats independently whilst actively following movements across the network that could develop into malicious activity. The Cybereason solution is designed to minimise input from the client, enabling smooth deployment with little disruption. Cybereason can be integrated into clients’ cloud platforms alongside Dome9, a visualisation service that presents the cloud environment’s settings to boost compliance as well as identify and rectify human errors.

SoftBank says that around 40% of companies are considering IoT for advancing their data collection capabilities, irrespective of industry, and it is working hard to both encourage and cater to this trend. Harvesting data from myriad sources can be achieved through SoftBank’s rich catalogue of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and its tailored offering to each client. Gateways and sensors required for data collection are lined up against cost, power consumption, and long-distance communication, and are tied together with its low cost IoT platform capable of supporting an array of networks securely. SoftBank’s IoT devices collect information pertaining to facility operation, facility usage and vehicle usage statuses. This data is collated and housed within SoftBank’s secure IoT platform which includes its API and API management technologies that facilitate linkage and cross-referencing between data sets, enabling customers to leverage powerful data-driven insights like never before. The firm divides its solutions between manufacturing, transport and social infrastructure, meaning its offering is broad in scope and applicable for the majority of companies undergoing digital transformation.

The company is also dedicated to maximising the value of staff by revolutionising internal processes. SoftBank’s SynchRoid solution enables automation of simple administrative tasks and processing procedures, freeing up employees’ time for increased focus on more skills based tasks. This boost to operational efficiency not only ensures work is done sooner but also mitigates labour costs. The technology is also more accurate over the long term, eliminating the risk of human error for important tasks such as data input, counting and processing, and ledger management. SynchRoid is capable of functioning in myriad departments and roles, including finance, general affairs, human resources and sales.

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Quotables

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In sum, SoftBank has established itself as a leading digital transformation solutions provider.

Through a host of innovative solutions, products and strategic partnerships that transcend borders, companies can leverage integrable technologies that both minimise disruption and enable the seamless flow of data from collection through to actionable insights within secure, tailorable and flexible cloud platforms.

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