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Cannes 2010: Mobile and gaming redefining communication

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Cannes | In Advertising | June 25, 2010
In Dentsu's tenth anniversary year, Akira Kagami, global creative advisor conducted a seminar on the evolving areas of mobile phones and games

Tokyo, hailed as a breeding ground for innovation, has witnessed significant changes in the communication culture with the advent of newer technologies and gadgets. Dentsu, in its tenth anniversary year, hosted the Asian Diversity seminar on innovation.

Akira Kagami, global creative advisor, Dentsu anchored the talk, supported by Ryo Shimizu, president and chief executive officer, Ubiquitous Entertainment and Masataka Hosogane, executive creative director, communication design centre, Dentsu.

& #BANNER1 & #Kagami, who speaks on Asian advertising at international events, began by saying that since 2001, people's perception of Asian creativity has changed; and with the many facets of Tokyo, the focus would be on the city as the centre of innovation.

He then invited Shimizu to present his points on creative for the mobile platform. Kagami clarified that Shimizu would speak from the perspective of an outsider, as he did not belong to the advertising industry.

The focal point of Shimizu's talk was 'communication architecture'. The software engineer spoke of how software facilitates many ways of communication with e-mail and numerous websites -- that is, communication between humans, humans and machines, and machines and machines.

While admitting that he was not very fluent with the English language, he added that the communication language is universal.

Sound, Shimizu said, is understandable for all; as he talked about music as a means of communication and innovation.

He cited the example of Miku Hatsune, a very popular 'singer' in Japan. Miku Hatsune is a plug-in component for music software and is actually a musical instrument. "Over 20,000 songs have been composed by 1,000 users, making Miku Hatsune the first digital diva," Shimizu said.

He also spoke of Nico Nico Douga, an online video-sharing service that he masterminded. Nico Nico Douga's popularity surpasses that of YouTube in Japan. "YouTube's communication architecture is 'single communication'; while Nico Nico Douga is 'cross attention'. Watching videos on Nico Nico Douga is like listening to live music," he said.

Shimizu further spoke about the stressful life in Japan, due to which people often chose to stay at home on weekends. Working on a project for the ministry of Trade and Industry, he redesigned weekends through Crimson Fox, a mobile game that required users to find 11 codes spread across the city.

"After the game, even the otherwise shy Japanese started interacting with other people and friends. The game created new communication, bringing together the virtual and real world," Shimizu said.

Hosogane followed Shimizu and spoke about the role of games in changing communication.
He cited the examples of various engaging games and activities, such as the UNIQLO, the campaign designed for The Last Guy (a PlayStation game) and Toto Talk (a fun game involving a mock toilet).

He also spoke of two very popular iPhone applications in Japan -- Phone Book and iButterfly.
Phone Book is a game designed to encourage interaction between children and parents; while iButterfly requires users to catch virtual butterflies with their iPhones. The butterflies caught could be used as discount coupons or exchanged with friends.

"What is next in the field of innovation? Whatever it is, I am sure it will sure make life fun and easy," said Hosogane.

Closing the seminar, Kagami said that while the mobile phone is seen as a mode of communication and gaming of content, he did not think so. According to him, both mobile phones and games are complementary, and are vital in the realm of communication and innovation.