Takafumi Nakata is involved in a MaaS project being undertaken by HERE Technologies (HERE), a leading international location-based information services provider that Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) invested in earlier this year. Driven by a powerful ambition to solve societal problems with location technologies, Nakata has his sights set on not only Japan, but on other parts of Asia as well.
MaaS stands for "mobility as a service." It is a relatively new field of business that focuses on convenient and efficient human transportation. Through the effective use of information-and-communication technologies (ICT), MaaS providers are connecting virtually all existing means of transportation on the cloud to build an entirely new concept in transportation. A typical MaaS model is a single service that allows us to use a smartphone app that seamlessly links train, taxi and other transportation services to identify the optimum routes to our destinations. MaaS also makes it possible for us to make a single payment that covers all the legs in our journey. The shared aim of MaaS systems is to optimize urban mobility to benefit transportation providers and users alike, in terms of both cost and service.
I have been involved in this project since MC and HERE were working together on its hypothesis, which was before MC made the decision to invest in HERE. Right up until the investment was made, our two companies had been teaming up to identify collaborative themes and develop a business model. The areas we looked at included MaaS, smart cities and connected cars. It was very motivating to share ideas with HERE's multinational professionals, who hail from countries like Germany, Denmark, Italy and so on. As facilitator of our in-depth discussions, I found the work both mentally and physically taxing, but regardless of our different nationalities, we all had the same desire to address societal challenges through our business. Our shared values united us in trust and ultimately led to both MC's investment and this collaboration. By engaging with one another on a regular basis, we closed the distances between us, and to this day, the other project members still address me affectionately as "Chairman." Our shared vision is what made this project possible, and I feel that it is my responsibility to live up to that vision and our trust-based relationships, which is why I continue to push myself harder with each passing day.
At the moment, we are looking into developing a service to optimize urban transportation. It will combine HERE's sophisticated location-information technologies with MC's network capabilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region to address issues facing Japan and other parts of Asia, such as traffic congestion and aging populations. Recognizing that businesses have a duty to help better societies and improve the quality of life of all global citizens, we are committed to making this service sustainable. I have made it my personal goal to fulfill that duty through my own work, which is what continues to inspire me. One day, I would like to use HERE's expertise to bridge multiple industries and create systems in support of vibrant, healthy societies.