Using Open Innovation to Discover Innovations and New Businesses

Published Apr-24-19

The development of the internet of drones (IoD) platform that connects drones with cloud-based business applications.

NTT Data Corporation, Japan

The Story:

Using Open Innovation to Discover Innovations and New Businesses One of the ways global IT services provider NTT Data Corporation of Japan searches for new partners and businesses is with its annual open innovation contest which it has been hosting twice a year since 2014. When the global competition started it hosted regional contests in ten cities and a Grande Finale in Tokyo. In recent years this has been expanded to 20 cities across 18 countries before the finale event.

Open Innovation Contest

The first edition of the contest in 2019 was called NTT Data Open Innovation Contest 9.0 and invited startups to submit proposals for collaborative business ventures in a number of different fields such as storefront and digital marketing, data distribution, automotive and Internet of Things and finance, insurance and payments.

“In this contest, NTT DATA can provide 3 kinds of value to startups: our client networks, solutions for ICT social infrastructure, and possibilities to receive financial supports,” said Kotaro Zamma, Head of Open Innovation and Business Incubation Section at NTT DATA.

“We are serious about business development, and hope to surpass 10 billion JPY (about 100 million USD) in annual business by meeting up various edge-cutting technologies and business through this contest project. Let’s change the world together.”
Internet of Drones

The Open Innovation Contest 9.0 received more than 450 proposals and the winner was India-based FlytBase for their scalable internet of drones (IoD) platform. It allows developers to easily build intelligent drones that are connected with cloud-based business applications. The innovation lays claim to being the world's first internet of drones platform and is compatible with all major drones and hardware platforms.

FlytBase has developed a software that works across off-the-shelf drones in a wide variety of applications such as animal detection on farms, parking lot monitoring, warehouse inventory management and environmental monitoring and compliance.

Intelligent Drone in Action

Among the examples of how the technology has been used comes from a group of students at Florida State University (FSU) who used FlytBase to build a search and rescue drone. Limitations of previous drone models were that while they could autonomously scan an area they couldn’t provide feedback on the contents of images and lacked a user-friendly interface.

Items on the students' wish-list for their new drone was a flight control architecture with a powerful onboard computer capable of live image processing for object detection. FlytBase was able to provide all the tools and interfaces necessary which meant all the students had to do was customize the framework for their specific needs. The end result was a fully-equipped drone capable of fully autonomous flight and object detection.

Ongoing Development

For winning the NTT Data Open Innovation Contest 9.0 FlytBase received a 3-month intensive business development program sponsored by NTT DATA.

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