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Sony Launches CrowdSourcing Platform First Flight For Its Japanese Employees

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Electronics giant Sony Corp has further strengthened it’s crowdfunding affair by starting its own platform, titled ‘First Flight’ to raise funds for internally generated business ideas. The platform will let potential buyers order directly or even pre-order the devices developed by Japanese unit workers of Sony.

First Flight, the latest initiative from Sony’s  Seed Acceleration Program, aims to provide a three stage development of start-ups-preview business proposals, engage in dialogue with customers, and ultimately proving to be a ‘touch-point’ between users and creators.

Kazuo Hirai, CEO, Sony Corporation, spoke on the development.

Sony’s innovation is ingrained in the company’s founding spirit of `doing what has never been done before.’ Nothing embodies this spirit more than passionate entrepreneurs who give shape to their ground-breaking ideas and introduce them to the world, without fear of failure. The First Flight platform and other Seed Acceleration Program initiatives accelerate and optimize this process. Sony itself originated as a start-up, and through the Seed Acceleration Program we are challenging ourselves to return to our entrepreneurial roots. At Sony we will continue to explore ways of delivering new, emotionally compelling experiences and enhanced customer value.

The site will launch two new projects nurtured within Sony, today itself. The Mesh DIY Kit enables users to digitally customize their surrounding environment via MESH’s intuitive control interface and the various functions of the electronic “tags.”

Its FES e-paper smartwatch, announced last year, is also on the new platform along with its MESH sensors that can bring everyday objects into the Internet of Things (IoT). Both the aformentioned products have collectively raised thousands of dollars from similar sites Makuake and Indiegogo.

Also showcased on the site is the HUIS universal remote control. Invented by engineers in Sony’s New Business Creation Department, it’s a smartphone-sized device with an e-paper display, infrared data communication and the ability to operate various home appliances such as TVs, stereos, air conditioners and lighting fixtures. It is expected to have a six-week long fund-raising period, and has already picked up ¥1.6 million in funding following the platform’s launch.

First Flight has been developed in partnership with Yahoo Japan, and naturally, the portal uses Yahoo’s payment tech.

You might be wondering why a multinational corporation is into the crowdfunding business, but as has been pointed out earlier, this is not the first for Sony. The struggling Walkman and Playstation maker is having a tough time fending off rivals like Apple and Samsung and only product innovations can save the day. And if you do remember, Sony crowd-funded its e-ink smartwatch last year.


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