The Ricoh Group’s R&D is structured to realize comfortable 21st-century workstyles while gathering customer information and anticipating the future based on global economic, social and technological trends.
We call the value we provide “RICOH Brand Benefits” and develop innovative technologies to provide products and services that delight our customers.
The process from R&D to product design and marketing begins with an R&D strategy aimed at creating new businesses and revamping existing ones. In creating new businesses, we establish processes different to those that have been applied to existing businesses and consider technology-based commercialization right from the outset.
At the product development stage, we espouse the approach “Development Process Innovation,” developing products without relying on prototypes, in line with a product management system and product strategy, and we seek efficiency by utilizing platform and module development processes and 3D simulation technology.
Our marketing strategy at the sales and support stage involves our customers in creating value together. Initiatives include our developer program and, at Technology Centers around the world, system solution development and customized development.
[Global technology development system]
The Ricoh Group has R&D sites worldwide, including in Japan, the USA, India and China. Each site studies market needs and conducts research, technology development and design suited to the region. Technology Centers and Printing Innovation Centers worldwide are part of a system that taps market needs directly through customer support.
We practice open innovation, actively collaborating with universities, research institutes and companies.
We participate in the Japanese government’s Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology and in joint R&D activities with universities and incorporated administrative agencies. We build win-win relationships through flexible approaches with partners in different business fields and industries, while developing leading-edge technologies and accelerating innovation.
Principal research centers of the Ricoh Group
|Location||Name||Year established||Main functions||Research subjects|
|Ricoh Co. Ltd.
|1986||Worldwide R&D integration with research and development from basic to practical core competences for pioneering new markets.||Basic, component and environmental technologies, applied research design and education development, etc.|
|1997||Produce innovative Silicon Valley technologies and new business ideas that seamlessly connect all things and people all the time.||Intelligent sensing, computational optics, image processing, wireless communication, cloud collaboration, etc.|
|Ricoh Software Research Center (Beijing) Co., Ltd.||2004||Promote R&D in IT supported by abundant human resources.||Image and video processing, embedded system, wireless network, system control, data mining, etc.|
|2012||Create new IT solutions onsite by leveraging core technologies developed at the Ricoh Group and adapting them to local needs.||IT solutions for education, media and entertainment, healthcare.|
The Ricoh Group consistently invests around 5% to 6% of sales in R&D to continue bringing forth innovations. R&D expenses for fiscal 2014 (ended March 31, 2014) were 116.2 billion yen (about 5.3% of sales). Over 15% of this investment, or 17.7 billion yen, went to basic research.
Changes in R&D investment
Intellectual property—the fruit of our R&D—is one of our most valuable resources and a vital component of RICOH Brand Benefits. We are also active in acquiring and exploiting intellectual property that protects and grows our business.
Our intellectual property activities began with a camera patent application in 1947. Our first patent management section was set up in 1958, with a first patent specialist. Since then, we have reinforced the intellectual property department, expanding it as business grew. Intellectual property experts, who handle the intellectual property needs of operating and R&D divisions, keep close contact with key R&D divisions globally to facilitate activities that lead to the quick and timely application for patents and resulting rights over an invention.
In fiscal 2014, about 4,180 patent applications of Ricoh were published in Japan and, as of March 31, 2014, Ricoh retains rights to more than 26,000 patents in Japan and more than 21,000 patents overseas.
We will continue to promote patent acquisition, paralleling entry into new domains as well as globalization through business expansion in emerging markets.
In addition, we aim to enhance the organizational capabilities that support intellectual property activities through training programs. These matched to engineers’ years of experience will raise the overall level of such activities. Those people tasked with intellectual property activities will improve their skills and create opportunities to boost global intellectual property skills through overseas postings.
Number of patents registered in Japan and overseas
Ricoh publishes white papers that reveal our approach to innovation, as well as background on our products, services and R&D initiatives. They also provide our views on various topics, including technology and market trends. These publications help our customers and partners better understand the value the Ricoh Group provides.