Muscat: I still wonder about the delightful coincidence of my visit to Sony headquarters in Tokyo as part of the media tour. The book I am reading and yet to finish is Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony by Akio Morita with Edwin M. Reingold and Mitsuko Shimomura. While reading the autobiography, a distant desire popped up, ‘What would it be like to visit Sony?’ A couple of days later I received a call from Havas PR ME on behalf of Sony Mobile MEA inviting me for a media tour to Sony headquarters.
I boarded my flight two weeks later to Tokyo to visit the world-famous Sony Corporation. The media tour was arranged for Vietnam, Thailand, Middle East and Africa region.
The day began with a short drive to the Sony headquarters building from my hotel and we reached a lofty glass-panelled building with a Sony logo etched in a tall metal plaque in the front yard. Sony headquarters welcomes visitors with a stunning display of its product range of cameras, headphones, PlayStation, TV, robot puppy and the new Jumanji movie zone in the lobby.
Taking us through the philosophy and DNA of Sony in his welcome address, Hideyuki Furumi, EVP, Global Sales and Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications Inc, said, “Our philosophy is to create something that never existed. Xperia is a part of this philosophy and we have introduced all advanced technology in the new Xperia XZ2.”
After the introduction of the many firsts in technology and entertainment such as Walkman, CD player, PlayStation and much more, we were taken to another floor where advanced Sony technology is in its experimental phase. We were introduced to various demonstrations of this technology such as Warp Studio, Haptics and A’i’R Hockey.
Warp Studio: All four walls of a room is virtually turned into a screen with four short throw 4K HDR projectors mounted to the ceiling to give seamless projections from a short distance, warping and blending at the edges of the wall to give a 360-degree view. The beauty of it is that shadows of moving people do not fall on the screen.
Haptics: Wearing the specially designed vest with sensors and 3D glass, the haptic immersive experience gave the literal feel of being involved in the actions of the movie. The dynamic vibrations are felt according to the objects that are shown and can be felt through different parts of body promising a live-in experience. This dynamic systems vibration technology is also used in the new Xperia XZ2.
A’i’R Hockey: With Augmented reality, Sony has upped the air hockey game to a new level. The game has a physical puck and three paddles around a circular table. The physical puck’s movement changes colours with the strike of each individual and as the game heightens, virtual puck appears from the overhead projector. The player can also hit the virtual puck and the physical puck. The game uses sensor tracking of 1000 frames per second.
Following the tech tour, we were taken to another zone to walk through the innovative Sony products. We saw the largest Sony Crystal Screen with the dimension of 10m width into 3m height. I got smitten by Aibo, a cute little robot puppy whose personality and behaviour can be customised according to the owners’ preference and stored in a cloud memory. Even if the machine breaks down, your favourite puppy can be downloaded to the new robot making your pet live forever.
We saw the new 4K Sony Bravia, which uses acoustic surface technology. The interesting feature of the TV is that you can hear the sound coming from the visuals and there is no sound bar attached to it. Sound can also be felt by touching the visuals on the screen. Available in 55’’, 65’’ and 75’’, the display is OLED. We were then shown into a mock living room where the 4K projector is camouflaged within a casual tea table and projected into the wall from a short distance. In addition, the room sported a glass sound speaker, which spreads 360 degrees sound and can be connected via Bluetooth.
We saw Sony’s future T-Projector with the tabletop turned into a touchscreen, which is still in experimental stage. With advanced technology, an interaction between physical and virtual props is enabled. A demonstration was made by placing a book on the table. The character from a physical book came to action and walked out of the book when touched. Another demo was also shown of a wooden block being turned into an architectural design by placing it on the table.
We were also introduced to the camera section where the flagship model Alpha 9, which can click up to 25 frames per second. We were then given a tour of the Sony records and Columbia movie and ending it with a PlayStation game demonstration.
After the tech and entertainment tour, the product session led by Tomokazu Tajima, SVP, head of UX product planning, Sony Mobile Communications Inc., YoshimuneIijima, senior manager, Xperia Design Team, Sony Creative Centre and Yosuke Someya, senior manager, UX Product Planning, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. gave an in-depth information of the intricacies of the elegant design and colour of the Xperia XZ2, the immersive viewing with haptics and 4K HDR movie recording which captures videos with more detail, more contrast and colour.
The day ended with a gaming experience led by Hiroyasu Sugiyama, VP Global Product Marketing, Global Sales and Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications Inc and Akihiro Suzuki, executive officer, Koei Tecmo Games Co Ltd and was signed off with 30 minutes of different types of gaming experience.
The day two started with a talk session with Maco Azuma, photographer and Xperia ambassador. Her experience taking photos with Xperia XZ2 was shared. The day followed with the visit to Sony touch points in Tokyo. We took a metro ride from Shinagawa, where a huge Sony Bravia is displayed, to Sony Square Shibuya Project; all this while we were wearing the Xperia Ear Duo to experience the dual listening. At the Sony Square Shibuya project, I got an avatar of the panther inspired by the new movie Jumanji-Welcome to the Jungle, made using 3D creator app in Xperia XZ2.
Soon after, we visited the Sony Music Studios Tokyo to see and experience the Sony Music recording and the high-resolution audio output by Xperia XZ2. We were entertained by Yuki, guitarist and Xperia ambassador who shared her user-experience of Xperia XZ2 and made a power-packed guitar performance. Our tour ended with the guided tour through the Happo-en garden with Xperia Ear Duo to demonstrate the dual listening experience.
It was overwhelming for me see and experience the fast-paced growth of technology and how it has become an inevitable part of our daily life.