In 2019, the technology industry has never been more dynamic. Fintech, insurtech, edtech, agritech, real estate tech and sport tech represent but a few segments of the broader tech industry, with more emerging on what seems like a weekly basis. But who are the forerunners and what role will they play as each segment earns more influence in our daily lives? These are the questions the leaders of tomorrow are looking forward to finding answers to at the upcoming Rakuten Technology Conference.

Leaders for our future

Throughout its history, Rakuten has stepped ahead of the crowd to pioneer new business models and technology, from the original Rakuten Ichiba marketplace to a revolutionary ecosystem and Super Points loyalty program, to the world’s first fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network. The importance of leadership in driving true innovation guided the choice of the theme for this year’s tech conference: “Leaders for the Future.” 

Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani on stage at last year's event.
Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani on stage at last year’s conference.

For the 13th year running, the conference will host tech industry experts and thought leaders who will discuss the leadership challenges and opportunities in e-commerce, fintech, MNO, cloud, AI, data science, education, blockchain, security, global development infrastructure and much more. Here are just a few highlights from the schedule.

Keynote Sessions

The 2019 Rakuten Technology Conference features twin keynote addresses by two speakers who have demonstrated visionary leadership and courage in guiding their respective companies. The first keynote will be delivered by Rakuten’s own founder and CEO, Mickey Mikitani. He will be followed by one of Japan’s hottest social entrepreneurs, Miku Hirano, founder and CEO of AI-startup Cinnamon.

Top tech talent on stage: inside insights

Also appearing on the main stage will be a host of top tech leaders from the Rakuten group, including Rakuten Mobile CTO Tareq Amin, who will speak about the company’s new cloud-native mobile network. Later in the day, Rakuten’s Chief Data Officer Dr. Takuya Kitagawa will take to the stage to discuss some of the key questions to be addressed in the area of AI, including machine learning in e-commerce and tackling cancer.

Over her nearly two-decade tenure at Rakuten, General Manager of Corporate IT Kaoru Tanaka has gained unparalleled insight into the development of the company’s technology infrastructure. Tanaka will be joined on stage by tech leaders from Europe, the U.S. and India to share perspectives on the growth of a global technology organization numbering over 4,000 ⁠— including techniques for effective collaboration.

Machine Learning Tokyo (MLT)

Machine Learning Tokyo is a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization dedicated to democratizing machine learning. They are a team of machine learning engineers, researchers and a community of more than 3,000 people. Their collaborative approach to machine learning has developed innovative methods such as the use of computer vision techniques to extract patterns from images and print-tactile versions of photos for people with visual impairments.

Kohsuke Kawaguchi, Cloudbees

Chief Scientist at Cloudbees, a provider of continuous delivery software services, Kohsuke Kawaguchi is renowned for his wealth of experience in creating the Jenkins CI (continuous integration) platform, a widely adopted and successful community-driven open source project.

The Rakuten Technology Awards

The Rakuten Technology & Innovation Awards are awarded annually to individuals or organizations in recognition of achievements made to advance technology and innovation that contributes to the evolution of society.

A Truly Glocal Conference

Last year, the Rakuten Technology Conference was broadcast to satellite locations around the world. This year’s edition will take that concept one step further by not only streaming the content from the main Tokyo-based sessions, but also hosting speakers and sessions locally at each satellite location.

The Kids Park was a hit with young techies in 2018.
The Kids Park was a hit with young techies in 2018.

The Kids Park

Bringing the central theme of the conference full circle, the popular Kids Park will be returning once again. The Kids Park entertains and engages the conference’s youngest guests through interactive VR displays, robot building and other fun activities for these future leaders of our future.

The 2019 Rakuten Technology Conference offers something for everyone interested in tech. Join in for some fascinating discussions!