Transformation Towards ‘New Normal’
Now is The Time to Know
Restar Communications Corporation
Since establishment in 1961, Restar Communications developed as a trading company consistently specialized in video and audio in a wide range of fields such as broadcasting, education, government and medical industry. On the one hand, as 5G sees a real start in 2020 now, digital transformation gains much attention in all kinds of industries. On the other hand, with the impact of COVID-19 and ‘New Normal’ is on the rise, the broadcasting and video industry that is closely related to our economy and life is undergoing a huge transformation.
Tomiyama, , Hosoya, Niimura, talked about the change of business needs and the solutions demanded by the society.
- Restar Communications Co., Ltd Director
Division Manager, Sales ＆ Markting Div. Ⅱ, AV System Solution Sales ＆ Marketing group
- Joined company in 1997, after taking the position of director for semiconductor, medical and image sensing solution department, he is working as the Manager for AV System Solution Sales ＆ Marketing group.
- Senior manager, Education Sales Section
System Sales Dept.Ⅱ, Sales & Marketing Div.Ⅲ
AV System Solution Sales & Marketing groupt
- Joined company in 2008, while obtaining the first-hand feedback from the educational scenes, he also proposes and sells the optimal solution to various front lines.
- Restar Communications Co., Ltd
Leader, Medical Sales 2Gr.
Medical Sales Dept, Sales & Marketing Div.Ⅲ
AV System Solution Sales & Marketing group
- Joined company in 2017, in charge of proposals and sales for medical institutions.
- Responding to various needs in video and audio field for over half a century. The strength of Restar Communications
- Change of needs in broadcasting, video, medical and education industry due to COVID-19. What happened at the front line after the declaration of state of emergency?
- ‘New Normal’ and future technology. Attention towards wide use of 5G and digital transformation
- Aiming for No.1 video and audio system integrator
Responding to various needs in video and audio field for over half a century. The strength of Restar Communications
Our company deals with business related to video, audio, and telecommunications in a wide range of fields such as broadcasting, education, enterprise, governmental authority/local government, medical/life science, security, electronic equipment. Since the foundation of our company, we adjust ourselves for the growth of video and audio market and the needs of customers to widen the range of our business by selling business-oriented video devices, maintaining the audio-visual facilities, at the front lines of educational scenes, introduction and installation of videos system for enterprises.
Our most prominent strength is probably that we are not specifically preferring any manufacturer but as a trading company, dealing with a lot of local and overseas manufacturers, providing the most suitable product and system for our customers. To realize this, we consider both cooperating with manufacturers and satisfying customers important.
Please tell us the major product provided as the solution for medical institutions
Including surgical video system (*1), we deal with all kinds of video devices and systems that are required in the medical scenes. Especially in recent years, the MIS (minimally invasive surgery*2) became mainstream, the need for equipment with medical devices and monitor for endoscopic surgery is getting high. And we are also selling the video recording system for entire operation rooms by total coordination.
For example, ‘CREAST’ is a system that records the entire operation room from the view of the surgical field camera to the assignment of the staff using touch panel controller. The existing products used contact-type touch panel, while the new product of non-contact type was developed so that the control becomes so convenient and fast that there is no need to touch the panel during operation anymore.
(*1) Surgical Video System- Using ‘surgical field camera’ to stream the video of the entire operation room for the medical staff such as staff station in real time. It is also possible to record the part at surgical site using ‘surgical field camera’.
(*2) Minimally Invasive Surgery – compared the ordinary abdominal operation, MIS makes small openings to the skin, reducing the burden for the patient.
Operating room touch panel control system "CREAST"
It's available to operate without contact, and the click feeling is reproduced by haptics technology (tactile reproduction).
What is the reason for getting the top market share of the solutions for medical institutions?
We have got positive review for providing one-stop service from proposal, system architecture to after-sale support and the high quality for installation. Based on the long-run relationship of trust, we are dedicated to give new proposals for operation rooms, emergency, medical scenes. I think this is how our market share increased.
Please tell us the major product for solution for education institutions.
We mainly provide the audio-visual system including projectors and microphones used for giving lectures for students in universities. Also, we provide solutions at the educational scenes such as the audio-visual equipment for the university staff to use in meeting rooms.
What is the strength of solutions provided for educational institutions?
Our strength is being able to provide a wide range of products. University has a lot of different fields. Our company has department corresponding to different markets, like medical business for medical department of universities, broadcasting business for studio renovation. All departments in our company collaborates to maximize the use of our knowledge for the most suitable proposal at that moment.
Change of needs in broadcasting, video, medical and education industry due to COVID-19. What happened at the front line after the declaration of state of emergency?
With COVID-19 disaster, how does the need in broadcasting and video industry have changed?
Due to the influence of COVID-19, a lot of sports and concert events such as Olympic Games, Koushien had been terminated or postponed. Some events turned to no audience or spectators. We have business of renting camera and monitor for relay so of course there was some impact.
‘New Normal’ was promoted by many industries, ‘the meaning of work’ is changing due to the widespread of remote work. In broadcasting and video industry, we are required to be able to respond to the demand for remote editorial work.
Is the change made by COVID-19 huge?
As a new trend for broadcasting and video industry, the existing profit model has changed substantially with the blooming of no-audience concert and live streaming.
Looking back to the history of video and audio industry, those video contents used to be mainstream on TV now can be shared and enjoyed via smartphone or video sharing websites. Media is changing with time. As long as the demand for ‘seeing with eyes, listening with ears' does not disappear, the need for our company will persist. We will have to evolute by reinforcing our strength while meeting the demand of the society.
Please tell us about the needs during the state of emergency for the educational institutions.
At that time, the inquiry on WEB camera used for recording lectures came the most. Due to the restriction put on entering universities, with ‘Learning cannot be stopped’ in mind, the passionate professors tried to use WEB system and all others they can do, trial and error, to give lectures.
During the state of emergency, we received a lot of inquiries on online lecture. However, even after the lift on state of emergency, ‘hybrid lecture’ with both face-to-face lecture and online lecture used were requested. And it is important for the students who selected online lecture to receive the same quality lecture as the face-to-face students. We are trying to make the system with the university professors and lecture rooms to try to reach a conclusion for what is necessary and optimal. As university is a gathering place for a lot of people and a place that students are looked after, we proposed thermal camera for sensing the body temperature.
What is being demanded for online lecture?
If there are 30 students joining the online lecture, the screen of the teaching staff will be divided into 30 pictures. There are comments like ‘I cannot see the facial expression of the students. It is difficult to grasp how much the students understood and communication is difficult, too’, ‘The students are new to online lecture so it is difficult for them to ask questions’.
Also, there are problems like the questions asked by the face-to-face students cannot be heard by the online students; ‘There is a difference in the understanding of the lecture content even we received the same lecture’ because of the trouble with professor’s microphone.
While there is a need to improve the quality of video and audio communications, there is a need for looking for a way of lecture similar to how it has been by now. The need for a system that can allow both face-to-face and online students to communicate properly is definitely there. In near future, 80% of the universities will use hybrid lecture. We will propose solutions while discussing with the universities.
AI-equipped lecture recording and utilization solution "DaAlps ™ For Education"
Please tell us about the needs during COVID-19 for the medical institutions.
To reduce the frequency of going in and out of the patient’s room in hospitals that had been hospitalizing patients infected by COVID-19, we proposed the system of ‘monitoring camera on the ceiling’ and ‘indoor sound collection microphones’. Until now, there is no external output terminal for respiratory apparatus alarm. When there is emergency, the alarm sound comes from the apparatus itself. However, with the installation of ‘monitor camera on the ceiling’ and ‘indoor sound collection microphone’, one can check the video and alarm sound of respiratory apparatus from nurse station, grasping the state of the patient’s room in real time.
‘New Normal’ and future technology. Attention towards wide use of 5G and digital transformation.
In the broadcasting and video industry, is there new technology being introduced?
While huge data can be sent and received with high speed, from TV broadcasting to event relay, how they should be and change needs to be considered. In the broadcasting and video industry, even the editorial work nowadays would have to leave the content in analogue stuff such as tape or disc media. However, we are trying to propose a file-based system that does not require analogue media. Actually, it has already been introduced to some television station before COVOID-19 outbreak and received positive comments.
What is the strength of ‘DaAlps™’, the AI-integrated lecture recording practical solution? How is the reaction from the educational institutions?
For now, DaAlps™ for Education (*3) has been introduced to the medical-related departments of National University Corporation Tsukuba University (Medicine Department and the Graduate School) and received comment like 'The precision level of word recognition is high’. Although medical terminology is difficult to be recognized, they are repeatedly tested with the frequency of the sound, etc. Also, we received from other universities comments such as ‘It is easy to review the lecture’, and ‘I can catch the lecture’ from students.
(*3) DaAlps™ for Education – a system that uses AI to convert the audio data of lecture content recorded to text. One can watch the selected parts only by searching for keyword from video.
By AI technology, lecture audio data into a text.
What does DaAlps™ is working on now and in future?
On-premises server is currently used for the system. After listening to the suggestions from different customers, we are thinking about the necessity of using the cloud. Also, we are discussing to make it more convenient by enabling dictionary checking and registration for a wide range of professional terminology such as legal terms.
With the rising need for online and on-demand lecture, there is also call for ‘compulsory subtitles for persons with hearing difficulties’ from the front lines of education. We would like to help and support in a wide range of educational scenes.
In medical industry, how possible is the remote medical solution with the availability of 5G?
With 5G, it is possible to send and receive high-resolution image and sound so that the use of remote medical solution expected. The exchange of high-resolution data as if peeping through microscope will become possible, too. The specialists in the city can collaborate with the local doctors in the countryside to conduct pathological diagnosis and supervise operation treatment.
With 5G, what is the medical-oriented solution you are working on?
We are planning the collaboration of ambulance and hospital. By installing system that exchange camera vision and biological information in ambulance, the detailed data of the patient can be livestreamed with real time to doctors in hospital. In this way, even inside the ambulance, proper treatment becomes possible and hospital can be well-prepared for receiving the patient.
Aiming for No.1 video and audio system integrator
Please tell us about Restar Solution Support, the subsidiary started business on 1st July, 2020.
With the demand from customers being versatile, maintenance was required to standby 24 hours 365 days. In order to realize both ‘Improving quality’ and ‘(Satisfying) Customers” Needs’, Resar Solution Support was established. In future, we would like to develop it into a general engineering firm that deals with not only maintenance but also the design and installation within the group and do the business outside the group as well.
‘Business Synergy’ is the key word for Restar
Among Restar Group, not only electronics, but also energy business and plant factory are collaborating with each other, giving rise to business synergy. For example, Restar Group established photovoltaic power plants across Japan through energy business by far, with the relationship built with the local government in the process, we are planning to provide new solutions of electronic equipment business for them.
Please tell us the future vision for Restar Communications
For all business, we are aiming for becoming the No. 1 video and audio system integrator.
Not just extending the existing business but make the most of collaborating with the entire Restar Group to deliver new products and systems for our customers to expanding our business.
What is the reason for Restar Communications to deal with such a wide range of business? Please let us know the strength of your company.