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AI & Machine Learning

Introducing the Google Cloud Advanced Solutions Lab in Tokyo: Helping businesses do more with AI

September 19, 2018
Diane Greene

CEO, Google Cloud

Japan has played an important role in Google’s history as our first home outside of North America, and it continues to play an important role in shaping where technology is headed and how we can use it to benefit people everywhere.

AI is transforming businesses all over the world, and we want to bring this powerful technology to every company, in every industry in ways that make it easy, fast and useful. Today, we’re announcing new training, certifications, and collaborations for Japanese businesses to help them do exactly that.

To help Japanese developers master the skills they need to apply AI in their work environments, Google Cloud is now offering the Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform Specialization and the Associate Cloud Engineer certification in Japanese, reinforcing our commitment to making high quality training widely accessible to everyone. Additionally, we’ve also translated into Japanese 50 of our hands-on Qwiklabs.

And to help more Japanese businesses take advantage of AI, Google Cloud has launched an Advanced Solutions Lab—ASL for short—in Tokyo. The ASL offers Japanese businesses the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with Google’s AI and ML experts to solve high impact challenges. In the coming months, the ASL will also offer an immersive training experience so that Japanese businesses can learn directly from Google Cloud ML engineers in a classroom setting. With this training, businesses can build the skills they need to create and deploy ML at scale, using the full power of Google Cloud.

How Fast Retailing is using Google Cloud and the ASL to bring their Ariake project to life

From globalization to e-commerce, retail is an industry that’s been radically transformed by new technologies. Fast Retailing knows this all too well. To stay competitive, the Japanese retailer best known for its popular brand Uniqlo has needed to fundamentally rethink how it approaches all aspects of its businesses. And they’ve put this shift into motion through their Ariake project—their vision for a new way of retailing.

The Ariake project includes a number of sweeping initiatives for Fast Retailing, including the launch of a new open plan office at its Tokyo headquarters and organizing its workforce into small, flat-hierarchy teams that work collaboratively across their organization. But two critical ways they’re bringing the Ariake project to life is by embracing the ASL and G Suite.

An important goal of the Ariake project is to rapidly translate customer feedback into better products and services. This means optimizing every part of Fast Retailing’s supply chain—and they’re working with the ASL as one facet of this work. Already, Fast Retailing and Google Cloud have been working side-by-side to apply AI to help them better analyze customer data to forecast demand, moving away from a strategy of "make it and they will come" towards one that focuses on deeply understanding what their customers want.

But while the Ariake project is helping Fast Retailing improve its processes, it’s also prompted something bigger. Putting customer needs at the center of everything they do requires fast mobilization and quick decision-making. For Fast Retailing, this has meant enabling better and more collaborative ways for their teams to work together. As a result, they are migrating employees to G Suite to accomplish "Zenin Keiei," or “Global One” in English, an important component of the Ariake project. By making it easier to share information and ideas, every Fast Retailing employee is empowered to be a decision-maker and advocate for the customer.

“Making information accessible to all our employees is one of the foundations of the Ariake project, because it empowers them to use human traits like logic, judgment, and empathy to make decisions,” says Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Fast Retailing. “We write business plans every season, and we use collaborative tools like G Suite make sure they’re available to all. Our work with Google Cloud has gone well beyond demand forecasting; it’s fundamentally changed the way we work together.”

You can learn more about the Ariake project on Fast Retailing’s website.

Looking ahead at our work with Japanese businesses

We believe AI holds enormous promise—for the world as well as for businesses. We hope that by offering resources and learning opportunities online and through the ASL, we can help more Japanese enterprises take advantage of that promise to solve business challenges that benefit everyone.

To learn more, visit our pages on training, certification, Qwiklabs, and the ASL.

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