Chief Digital Officer
It's been two years since we launched SOMPO Digital Lab, our global, open innovation
initiative, and we’ve been energized by what we've seen around the world. Whether in Tokyo, Taipei, Singapore or Silicon Valley, we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with amazing startups that are helping us connect intimately with our customers. By
bringing the benefits of digital technology to senior care--while never forgetting the importance of the human touch--our goal is to provide security, health and wellbeing to our customers.
At our recent ideathon in Boston, for example, more than twenty startups and individual
innovators gathered at the Venture Cafe to pitch their ideas on how to tackle the global dementia challenge. The winning team proposed that we offer free accommodations to university students at our nursing homes in exchange for assistance with care services.
We envision young people sharing their talents in music, art, or simply conversation, to bring joy to the lives of our residents and feel fulfilled themselves--while helping us alleviate the shortage of caregivers in Japan. The team will visit Sompo’s care
communities in Japan next month to gain insight into how students can best assist our residents and caregivers. We look forward to implementing their vision early next year.
We’re also collaborating with Triple W, a Tokyo-based startup that develops an incontinence
management solution called D Free. This ultrasound wearable, which is placed right over the bladder, monitors the accumulation of urine and sends alerts to caregivers’ smartphones 10 minutes prior to urination, reducing accidents and false alarms. We’ve
piloted D Free at our care communities in Japan and have reduced caregiver time by more than 40 hours per month. Triple W was the winner of Aging 2.0’s Global Startup Search in Tokyo last year.
In addition, we’ve invested in SoundHound, the voice-enabled artificial intelligence
platform. The advent of smart homes has highlighted the enormous potential of voice recognition technology. An open voice platform has applications across multiple industries--including senior care, auto, robotics, as well as the home. I see SoundHound
in our senior care communities empowering caregivers to attend to our residents’ needs in a hands-free way.
Again, there’s no shortage of great technologies in the world. But we need to do more.
Japan is rapidly becoming a nation of caregivers. To this end, I’m thrilled to announce our Innovation Partner Program, an initiative designed to help startups validate their solutions with senior care organizations in the U.S. For our part, these local
pilots will allow us to gain valuable data and best practices that we could use to promote our “Innovation Partners” for localization in Japan. We may even identify new customer needs that we could collaborate on addressing. SOMPO Digital Lab will sponsor
these pilots fully.
The innovation that is happening around the world inspires us day in and day out. But
in order to further enable collaboration and localization in Japan, we need to engage in conversations about business benefits and customer success, as well as technology. Our Innovation Partner Program is focused on enabling these fruitful conversations.
We look forward to collaborating with startups and individual innovators who want to realize their vision while
making the world a better place.
For further information, please contact Joe Schmidt at