We’ll be there for you!

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) was held in-person in Las Vegas for the first time in three years on January 5-8, 2023. Three employees from Fuji Denko (1 male and 2 females) and one employee (1 male) from one of our suppliers attended CES as one team. I did not attend in-person this year but participated remotely. With the remote option of attending, I was able to attend New Year’s greeting parties that were held by our customers and suppliers for the first time in three years. In my absence, I had one of my executives, my daughter, Tamami attend CES in person.

What caught my attention the most at CES 2023, was the Opening Keynote speech by John May, CEO of John Deere, the world’s largest agricultural equipment manufacturer. John Deere first made an appearance at CES in 2020. I remember well that all attendees including myself were surprised by the size of the large agricultural equipment, especially the tractor, as well as the use of the term “Agritech.” The most impressive part of their showcase was the sheer size of the exhibition space and the gigantic size of the single tractor, which was far greater in size than any other electrical or electronic products at the venue. The right and left boom on the 8RN Tractor (agricultural use) that John Deere had brought to the venue in 2020 could extend from 120ft to 175ft in width. The John Deere exhibit in 2020 was the largest exhibit in the history of CES and was awarded one of the CES Innovation Awards that year.

During this year’s Keynote speech, Mr. May emphasized the following: (1) GPS guidance; (2) Integrated Display; (3) Cloud; (4) Machine Learning; (5) AI; (6) Stereo Cameras; and (7) Robot. An autonomous tractor was shown on the stage, fully equipped with new electrical technologies that had been introduced at CES over the last 10 years. The most unique feature of this autonomous tractor was that there is no driver’s seat and can run without an operator in the cab.

Mr. May also briefly touched on the John Deere’s 186 - year history and invention timeline.
⁃ 1837 - Steel Plow
⁃ 1918 - revolutionized agricultural industry by transitioning from horse power to engine power.
⁃ 1947 - Automatic Plow
⁃ 1958 - Bulldozer

These inventions revolutionized agriculture and required great output (power) to develop. Their business has also changed with the implementation of technology introduced by other CES participants. New technologies led to innovation that allowed the emergence of a sustainable model in the 24/7 agricultural industry. Great!!

The agricultural industry is in severe distress having suffered the impact of climate change, labor shortages and population growth. The world population is currently 8 billion and is expected to grow to 10 billion by 2050. To keep up with the projected population growth, the production of food crops must increase by 50% from the current level by 2050.

As in the past, present, and future, farmland is America’s most important asset. As an example: Alabama Senter Farms has 20,000 acres of land. As a comparison, Manhattan, New York in total is 14,000 acres. That is how far farmland can stretch.

Mr. May highlighted that agriculture is an unstable business that requires a serious strategy including analysis of the following fields: (1) weather; (2) market; and (3) labor. Mr. May explained how John Deere’s new development policy is to incorporate technology introduced at CES to help with data analysis and collection in all three of the above fields. Because of the large size of agricultural equipment and the vast farmlands, unlike smaller electrical equipment and systems, implementation of newer technologies leads to a larger and positive impact in sustainability.

John Deere’s policy towards sustainability and their smart technology will be a great model to follow in multiple different sectors and can be utilized in different settings like large airplanes, ships, or space bases on the Moon or in Mars, or even in settings closer to home, on earth in our own home towns (smart city).

At CES 2023, “Sustainability” as a concept was at the forefront of many business fields such as mobility, smart city, telecommunications, health care, etc. Among them, Agritech and Foodtech focused strongly on sustainability.

For example, the “CES DAILY 2023” (a guidebook distributed at the CES venue brought back by one of our employees) was very different from the previous years. Rather than listing all the participating companies in the booklet, most of the content was transferred to web accessible link. In other words, this year’s booklet was smaller and compact compared to previous years. I believe this is just another example of how CES itself is taking a step towards sustainability.

Since John Deere’s first appearance in 2020, their focus has been to draw attention to the idea that “Technology” will be the solution to the goal of sustainability in business. The impact of this idea will be greater with the combined efforts of everyone.

Using John Deere’s business strategy and policy briefing from CES 2023 as a foundation for our business concept, our business concept for FY2023 will be “We’ll be there for you!”

The continued participation of a wide variety of businesses from different industries at CES fosters a community and environment that will be the key to solving global issues that affect us all. Even though our company is small compared to others, with our power, we will continue to deliver innovative ideas to our customers and suppliers.

I leave you with these final words utilizing the meaning behind the name of BMW’s new line of sedans and coupes, “Neue Klasse,” introduced by Oliver Zipse, BMW’s Chaiman during his Keynote Speech this year. Neue Klasse translates to “New Class.” I believe that CES will continue to bring a new era of innovation, a “Neue Klasse.”

We’ll be there for you!

Neue Klasse

PS: The most exciting event of CES 2021 was when my favorite artist, Billie Eilish, made an appearance.

Hiroshi Yoshida

President & CEO Fuji Denko Company