第110回 WORKSHOP報告(8月22日) / 参加者69名

第110回 WORKSHOP報告(8月22日) / 参加者69名

 

1

(1:新人の方々の自己紹介です)

 

2

(2:J先生からお別れのご挨拶をしていただきました)

 

3

 

(3:最後にみんなで記念写真です!)

 

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《 今回のworkshop 》

 

○workshop参加人数:69名(うち新人の方:8名)

 

○【前半】:「家電」をテーマにディスカッション

 

○【後半】:” Robot technology and what we think about it”というテーマでディスカッション

 

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<英語サークル E’s club 第110回workshopのご案内>

 

みなさまこんにちは、E’s club幹事のKです。

8月22日(土)開催の第110回workshopの詳細をお送りいたします。

 

今回はネイティブ講師のJ先生にご参加いただける最後のworkshopとなります。

Jeff先生は今月末にご帰国される予定です。

 

なお今回は英文の記事に加え、リンク先に動画もあります。

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33360744

こちらも事前に視聴しておいてください。

 

前半のマテリアルはDさんにご作成いただきました。

テーマは「家電」です。参考資料として英文記事ならびに日本語記事がありますので、事前にご一読ください。

[今週のマテリアル]

<FIRST HALF>

Japanese people need more MEGA electronics retail chain store?

 

夏休みいかがお過ごしでしょうか?

ときどき仕事帰りに家電量販店へウインドウショッピングに行くのですが、

多いときには半分近くのお客さんが訪日外国人です。

みなさんは家電製品をどこで買いますか?

それはどうしてですか?

「家電」をテーマにディスカッションしましょう。

 

 

Q1. Did you recently buy any expensive electric appliance?

 

Q2. Do you have any favorite store when you buy electric appliance?

If you have any, why do you like it? If you don’t, what do you make much of?

(Price, guidance, location, after service, delivery lead time, etc.)

 

Q3. Do you like online store? Why? What’s the merit and demerit of online shopping?

 

Q4. Yodobashi Camera is famous for their online store which offers variety of daily necessaries and drinks.

The sales has been increasing for years.

Why Yodobashi focuses on online sales? Do you think their online sales expand more?

 

Q5. If you were a president of YAMADA DENKI, what would you do to overcome this tough situation?

 

Q6. If you want to buy devices in foreign countries, where and how will you buy?

 

 

参考資料①

‘Electronics chain Yamada Denki to close 46 stores as tax hike erodes profits’

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/25/business/corporate-business/electronics-chain-yamada-denki-to-close-46-stores-as-tax-hike-erodes-profits/

(The Japan Times 2015年5月25日)

 

Electrical appliance retailer Yamada Denki Co. will close 46 money-losing stores in Japan by the end of May to focus on urban areas where strong demand from foreign visitors is expected, company officials say.

 

The stores to be shut are mainly those in suburban areas that were hit hard by the first stage in April 2014 of the doubling of the consumption tax.

 

They will include Tecc.Land outlets in the prefectures of Hokkaido, Iwate, Miyagi, Saitama and Aichi, as well as the Labi store in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, the company said Sunday.

 

Yamada Denki is shifting its focus to opening outlets near train stations in urban areas, with the goal of opening 15 new stores in the business year ending in March 2016, the officials said. This includes a new outlet in the Yaesu district in central Tokyo by the end of the year. Some of the new outlets might be discount and tax-free shops, they said.

 

Yamada Denki’s network spans more than 1,000 outlets, including those run by subsidiary Best Denki Co., but it has been closing only one or two per month. The change in strategy is expected to lower costs and improve profitability, according to the officials.

 

Yamada Denki’s consolidated sales in fiscal 2014 ended in March tumbled 12.1 percent from the previous year to \1.66 trillion.

 

The store consolidations will make use of funds it expects to obtain through a capital tie-up with Internet and telecommunications conglomerate Softbank Corp.

 

Under the tie-up, announced earlier this month, Softbank will buy 5 percent of shares held by the retailer itself for about \22.8 billion.

 

 

参考資料②

『ヤマダ電機は、もう成長を望めないのか46店閉鎖の真因とその先に見える展望』

http://toyokeizai.net/articles/-/71186?page=2

(東洋経済オンライン:世界の(ショーバイ)商売見聞録)

(前略)

主要各社の3月期決算における連結業績を並べてみよう。

 

【ヤマダ電機】

売上高:1兆6643億円(前期比12%減)

営業利益:199億円(同41%減)

営業利益率:1.19%

 

【エディオン】

売上高:6912億円(同9%減)

営業利益:107億円(21%減)

営業利益率:1.54%

 

【ケーズホールディングス】

売上高:6371億円(同9%減)

営業利益:185億円(同21%減)

営業利益率:2.90%

営業利益率1.19%は確かに低いものの、他の有力な競合も1~2%台。

ヤマダ電機が突出して悪いとも言い切れない。消費増税後の需要減退に加え、

そもそも少子高齢化によって日本国内の需要が縮小していっている。

それに加えてジワジワ効いてきているのが、ネット通販の台頭という

競争環境の変化だ。それはここ日本だけの話ではない。

 

【米国では家電量販2位が経営破綻】

今年2月、米国家電量販店2位のラジオシャックが経営破綻した。

ディスカウント店との競争激化に加えて、ネット通販の攻勢は要因の一つだった。

大量の店舗と従業員を抱えるラジオシャックは、その固定費が重荷となり

価格競争力を落とし、消え去った。米国と同じ現象が、

少し間を置いて日本で起きた例は枚挙にいとまがない。だとすれば、近い将来、

日本でもラジオシャックのような事例が起きないとも限らない。

それほど、日本の家電業界は厳しい状況に置かれつつある。

ネットで売れる商品のうち、ベスト2は本と家電といわれる。

日本の出版業界ではリアルな書店にその影響が顕著だ。

日本著者販促センターによれば、1999年に2万2296店あった書店は

2014年5月には1万3943店まで縮小した。過去15年でほぼ半減している。

「ショールーミング化」という言葉がある。リアル店舗で見たり試用したりした消費者が、

最後にネットで購入してしまう。つまり、リアル店舗がネット業者の

ショールームに成り下がっていることを指摘するものだ。

特に近年はいつでもどこでもネットにつながるスマートフォンの普及によって、

リアル店舗で確認したあと、安価なネットに注文する流れが一般化した。

この流れを止めるのは容易ではなさそうだ。

ヤマダ電機は2011年3月期には売上高2兆1532億円、

営業利益1227億円を誇ったもののそれを再び超えるような成長は

だんだん望めなくなってきている。

 

 

参考資料③ 「ソフトバンク、ヤマダ電に5%出資 住宅事業で相乗効果」

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLASDZ07HTH_X00C15A5000000/

(日本経済新聞2015年5月7日)

 

家電量販最大手のヤマダ電機は7日、ソフトバンクと資本業務提携すると発表した。ヤマダの発行済み株式の5%にあたる自己株式を、ソフトバンクが25日付で227億円で引き受ける。ヤマダは子会社が手掛ける住宅事業を、ソフトバンクのIT(情報技術)サービスと組み合わせて強化する。

 

ヤマダの子会社はITを利用して省エネ性を高めた住宅の「スマートハウス」を販売している。住宅に付随する太陽光発電システム、蓄電池、家庭向けエネルギー管理システム(HEMS)などの省エネ設備を、ソフトバンクの通信サービスなどと合わせて販売することを検討している。

 

ヤマダが直営する1千店強の店舗を活用し、ソフトバンクは携帯電話や光回線を拡販する。一般向けに発売予定のヒト型ロボット「ペッパー」をヤマダの売り場で販売する。ヤマダはソフトバンクとの提携で他の量販店にない商品や住宅関連のサービスを強化する。

 

3月末時点でヤマダが確認できた大株主の持ち株比率と比べると、ソフトバンクは4位に相当する。ヤマダの株式を巡っては旧村上ファンド出身者が設立したエフィッシモ・キャピタル・マネージメントが1月時点で発行済み株式の13.16%を保有していることが明らかになっている。今回の資本提携はファンド対策との見方も出ている。

 

<LATTER HALF>

<Agenda>

Robot technology and what we think about it

 

<Article 1>

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33360744

Robots on the march

Rory Cellan-Jones  Technology correspondent  2 July 2015

 

Sitting eating a hot dog outside Lyon’s exhibition centre, I couldn’t help noticing the group at the next table. Three young men were chatting while a fourth sat completely immobile, not saying a word.

 

Maybe that was because the fourth was a robot.

 

Nobody batted an eyelid, as other people came and took a screwdriver to the humanoid device, but then this was Innorobo, Europe’s largest robotics event, and here you get a flavour of a future where robots live amongst us.

 

To anyone who’s roamed the vast halls of tech events like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas or Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress this will seem a tiny, almost parochial, event.

 

You can walk from one end of Innorobo to the other in five minutes – but in that time you will see more innovation packed into a small space than you will ever find in those gigantic shows.

 

The show’s focus has in the past been on industrial robotics, and there are plenty of advances on this front.

 

I spotted a robotic arm delicately picking up individual chocolates and placing them in a box, air-quality robots that can wander a factory reporting back on pollution levels, and cupboards on castors picking a route through a crowd to deliver tools to workers at the other end of the hall.

 

But the star of the show was undoubtedly Pepper, the most advanced domestic robot to go on sale to the general public. When this French-made humanoid robot companion was offered to Japanese consumers last month for quite a hefty price, it sold out within a minute.

 

Meeting Pepper, I was not quite sure why. He or she – it seems you decide the gender – does not undertake any practical tasks, but is designed to engage with you on an emotional level. “Pepper won’t do the dishes” explains Magali Cubier of Aldebaran Robotics, “but if Pepper can see you are sad, then Pepper will propose a game to cheer you up.”

 

How does the robot know I’m sad? It is packed with sensors which can for instance detect a sad face or intonation in your voice, so this internet-connected device may decide now is not the moment to read out the news headlines. This robot is solely devoted to being your companion, sensitive to your every mood – it can even dance with you, though I’m not sure my moves impressed Pepper.

 

Aldebaran’s owners Softbank chose Japan as the launch market. knowing the idea of a relationship with a robot was more likely to fly in a country where technology is readily accepted in homes. Elsewhere, there may be less enthusiasm.

 

Across the show floor I found the veteran British robot engineer Will Jackson was sceptical about devices like Pepper invading the home any time soon.

 

He thinks the cost and dubious utility of a one-to-one robot will be a barrier. But he does see a growing role in the commercial world for products like his Robothespian and Socibot, robots that can entertain and interact on some level with humans, taking over some roles in service industries.

 

“Walk into a supermarket in a few years time, and a robot will know who you are, your complete shopping history, and may try to help you or to sell you stuff.”

 

It is facial recognition technology that will enable robots to recognise us – and that’s just one of the controversial issues hanging over this fast growing industry. As well as privacy, there are concerns about safety, with the tragic news of the death of a worker crushed by a robot at a Volkswagen factory. Until recently, all industrial robots were locked behind cages to prevent this kind of accident because they were not smart enough to detect a human in their path.

 

Now they are getting more sensitive, but releasing them from their cages may bring added risks.

 

And then there’s the question of jobs. One firm here is showing off an autonomous forklift truck, effortlessly shifting pallets without the aid of a driver. The driver is the most expensive element of a forklift, so the product pays for itself within a year, according to Fabien Bardinet of Balyo, the company behind the autonomous driving technology. But I put it to him that we should worry about the threat to the workforce.

 

“Forget about it, – they are going to help us, make jobs simpler,” is his response.

 

His thesis is that by making companies more competitive, adopting robots will create jobs rather than destroy them. And he points out that Germany, which employs far more industrial robots than France, has a lower level of unemployment.

 

Let’s not exaggerate the threat from the robots – they are still very bad at things we find easy, like climbing stairs or telling jokes.

 

But over the next few years we could see them gradually filling more human roles, from sales assistants to child minders to taxi drivers. And we – the humans – will have to decide how far this robot revolution should go.

 

 

<Discussion Questions>

1. What did you think of this article?

What did you think of the robots featured in the article? What did you think of Pepper? Do you this is a good product? Do you think it can really read your emotions? Could Pepper cheer you up when you’re feeling down? Would you like to have one in your home? What are the pros and cons of Pepper?

Here is another article featuring more robots for the home.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30708953 (Article 2)

What robots do you think would be beneficial in your home? Do you think robots will be a common fixture in the home some day?

 

2. Why do you think Japan was chosen as the launch market for Pepper?

The first article said that in Japan technology is more readily accepted in the home than in other countries.

In the video, the women stated that Japan is more mature in the way robots are perceived and used. Do you think these statements are true? Why or why not?

 

3. Last month, a new high tech hotel with a robot staff was opened in Sasebo, Nagasaki. It’s located in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park complex and is called the Henn-na Hotel, or “Strange Hotel”.

http://www.gizmag.com/henn-na-hotel-robot-staff/38577/ (Article 3)

Would you like to stay there?

Would you like to be sold something by a robot? Would you like to have a conversation with a robot?

 

4. In the first article, it mentioned that a worker at a Volkwagen factory was crushed to death by a robot. Do you think there will be more robot related deaths in the future?

How dangerous are robots? Are you worried about a loss of jobs due to robot technology?

What are some other concerns or bad points about robot technology?

 

5. What other kinds of robot technology do you know of?

What do you think of the self-driving car? What do you think of robot dogs?

 

6. Do you like stories about robots?

Do you like the Japanese comic book and cartoon character, Atom (Astro Boy)? Do you have a favorite robot character such as Atom or R2D2? What is your favorite robot story or movie?

Do you like science fiction? What is your favorite science fiction book, comic, TV show or movie?

 

<Article 2>

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30708953

CES 2015: The robots moving in to your house

By Leo Kelion  Technology desk editor  8 January 2015

 

The modern family is getting a new member.

 

More than a dozen firms are promoting new kinds of home robots at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

 

None are the human-like automatons of science-fiction. But they do point the way towards how domestic bots might evolve beyond the robo-vacuum.

 

South Korea’s Furo-i Home is one of the more advanced examples.

 

It’s a sleek-looking sensor-laden cone on wheels topped by a tablet that displays a friendly-looking animated droid’s face.

 

You can verbally instruct it to take control of internet-controlled smart devices – telling it to turn lights, music and heating on or off – use it as a teaching aid for your children, or take advantage of its health check software to help care for elderly relations.

 

“The robot has many sensors, facial recognition and can detect the temperature,” explains Se-Kyong Song, chief executive of its maker Futurebot.

 

You can set it to wake up an elderly parent, remind them to take their medicine, eat breakfast and follow the rest of a schedule.

 

“And if something unexpected happens, it can send a message to the family saying there might be a problem and then let them talk to their parent via video chat to ask if they are OK.”

 

The machine is set to cost about $1,000 (£660) and Futurebot hopes to make and sell about 10,000 before the year’s end.

 

Those looking for a cheaper alternative might be interested in Ukrainian start-up Branto, which has just announced a crowdfunding campaign for a robotic sphere priced at $399.

 

Although it lacks a screen of its own, it promises broadly similar functions, including the ability to send you a notification if its motion sensor is triggered when your house is supposed to be empty.

 

There is one important caveat – at present the prototype’s battery only lasts for about three hours before it stops providing most functions.

 

“We are trying to make it longer, but the device is very small and we want to keep it looking nice,” says Alexandra Barsukova, the start-up’s business development director.

 

Garden bot

 

Most of the other robots at CES are focused on doing a more limited set of tasks – and that may be a wise strategy suggests Casey Nobile from the Robotics Trends news site.

 

“It’s very hard to make a robot do everything, like in the Jetsons analogy that everyone likes to refer to,” she explains.

 

“You’re going to see advances in robots controlling other smart home tech via software before you see something like a machine with an arm that makes you coffee and delivers it to your bedroom, just because of the limitations with manipulation technology and the issues with battery life.”

 

Droplet is one example of a more specialist robot.

 

The machine is an internet-connected sprinkler that can be set to propel different amounts of water to different plants in its surrounding area.

 

“We can accurately target two plants less than 6in [15cm] away from each other and give them very different amounts of water,” explains Steve Fernholz, the firm’s founder.

 

“And we take into account weather data, so if there’s an 80% chance of a thunderstorm tonight it’ll delay and wait to see if the rain actually falls.”

 

He believes most people will be more comfortable with such a device at this stage rather than an automaton wandering through their home.

 

“It’s not about when the technology is ready, it’s when consumers feel comfortable enough about having a robot in their home. It’s a very personal space.

 

“That’s why even with Droplet we tried to make it look inviting – not something you would feel apprehensive going up to or might give you anxiety.”

 

Specialist droids

 

The brush-spinning Grillbot is another niche robot on show – its speciality: cleaning your barbecue after a cook-out.

 

“It took over two years to come up with the algorithm to get it to run over every grill surface,” notes Grillbot’s chief executive Ethan Wood.

 

“It runs the three motors in a pattern that looks random, but there’s an organisation to the madness.”

 

Another bot, Budgee, is designed to help elderly and otherwise infirm owners shift heavy loads around their homes.

 

“We have a transmitter that the owner carries or wears and it pairs with the robot,” explains Nick Lynch, lead engineer at Five Elements Robotics.

 

“Once they activate that and put it into follow mode it will follow the sensor wherever it sees it.

 

“I have a co-worker whose father uses it to move a five gallon water bottle about the house, and it can be used for anything like that where you need an extra hand.”

 

Other specialist home robotics at CES include:

・Otus – a machine that continually turns a tablet or smartphone to face the user while they video chat, so – for example – if they are moving around while they cook a meal in the kitchen they don’t disappear from view

・Zeta – an inkjet printer that crawls along a piece of paper to draw text and images, allowing it to be easily stored away when not in use

・Atomobot – a mobile air purification machine that hunts the home for airborne dust and odours to remove

 

High-five

 

One final home robotics trend is machines designed to help kids learn how to code

 

The latest entrant to an increasingly busy sector is Canada’s Spin Master, which owns the rights to construction toy Meccano, and has just announced the Meccanoid.

 

Kids can build and program a robot to move in certain ways, and record and playback voices.

 

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” says the firm’s marketing executive Tara Tucker.

 

“Once you have built a robot that can pick up your soda pop, hit you over the head or high-five you, it’s much more engaging that coding at a computer screen, and it will create future visionaries.”

 

Whether those visionaries go on to build the nanny/cleaner/security guard/companion/carer all-in-one droid that many envisage when you suggest a home robot is another matter.

 

“Maybe in the very long-term that could happen,” reflects Droplet’s Mr Fernholz.

 

“But if you look at something that’s been around for over a hundred years like the vehicle –

 

there’s still no one device that transforms from an airplane to a car.

 

“So, while I think an all-in-one homebot is theoretically possible, it would either be cost prohibitive or in the act of trying to make it do everything, it could end up doing everything poorly.”

 

 

<Article 3>

http://www.gizmag.com/henn-na-hotel-robot-staff/38577/

New Japanese hotel has robot staff and no room keys

By Stu Robarts – July 22, 2015

 

A new hotel that is staffed with robots has opened in Japan. The Henn-na Hotel (which translates as “Strange Hotel”), is part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park complex in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. Guests can also access their rooms via face-recognition, and are able to control room amenities via tablets.

 

The Henn-na Hotel was designed by Kawazoe Lab, the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, and Kajima Corporation. As well as aiming to provide a pleasant and comfortable stay for guests, the hotel was designed to be cost-effective, modern, environmentally-friendly and fun.

 

Robots are deployed at the front desk to help guests check-in and out. According to the Henn-na Hotel, it’s possible to hold a conversation with the “warm” and “friendly” robots while they get on with their work. Alternatively, self-service check-in and check-out eliminates the need to go to the front desk or to wait in line.

 

There are porter robots employed to carry luggage to and from rooms, and cleaning robots employed to keep the hotel spotless of their own accord. There is also a robot employed in the cloak room. Objects up to the size of small bags can be handed over and the robot will put them away in secure lockers. When the belongings are needed, the robot will locate them in the correct locker and hand them back to the guest.

 

The hotel has a number of other high-tech features, too. Guests can make use of keyless access to rooms by using face-recognition. This eliminates the need to carry around a room key or card that could potentially be lost. Swipe cards are available, though, for guests who would prefer not to use the face-recognition technology.

 

Rooms feature motion-sensor-controlled lighting that detects when people are in a room. In this way, room lights are turned on and off automatically. They can also be controlled via tablets provided in the hotel rooms, which can be used to control other amenities as well.

 

Each room features a radiant panel air conditioning system that uses electromagnetic waves to transfer heat directly from one object to another without affecting the air in between. Its temperature-controlled surface draws heat away from the body when it’s warm, and keeps heat from escaping the body when it’s cool.

 

The Henn-na Hotel opened on July 17. There are 72 rooms available during the first phase of construction, with a total of 144 planned eventually. Rooms start from 9,000 yen (US$73).

 

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