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Focusing on the demands of existing markets
Revolutionizing the “on-sites” across the globe with machine learning and IoT!

LiLz Co., Ltd.

Keigo Ohnishi

Mar 18th,2024 publication date

Since its inception in the 1950s, “Artificial Intelligence (AI),” once considered a dream of the future, has become a part of our lives, automating tasks humans once carried out. However, on the other hand, in various fields that support our social activities, technology has yet to reach its potential, resulting in an abundance of inefficient “work.” Some companies offer highly refined services to address these issues. We had the opportunity to interview Keigo Ohnishi, CEO of LiLz Inc.

The evolution of machine learning and
IoT solving challenges on-site!

Ohnishi, a tennis enthusiast with qualifications as an instructor, has a refreshingly pleasant countenance and smile, typical of a sports devotee. At the entrance to the spacious office were cameras developed for LiLz Co., Ltd.’s IoT + AI SaaS service, “LiLz Gauge.” 

LiLz Gauge is a service composed of low-power IoT cameras and a cloud system that utilizes image processing and machine learning to read information from analog meters as digital values. By positioning the LiLz Cam to read analog meters, users can check numerical and image data from a remote location using a computer or tablet. Once installed, there is no need to physically visit hazardous locations to check analog meters or to patrol vast factory premises. LiLz Gauge serves as a helpful tool on-site, relieving inspectors from the dangers of workplace accidents and liberating them from unproductive hours.

On the right is the LiLz Cam. While it can be used as a standalone device, adding the BLE-LTE Router enables remote capturing at any time.

The installation is easy and doesn’t require power or network construction. After installation, simple initial settings can be done on-site and on the computer, enabling its use from day one. When the values of the analog meters exceed the set threshold, users receive alerts via email. Its innovative and convenient features include integrating with existing facility management systems using APIs, operating continuously for approximately three years, capturing three images daily, and rechargeability.

The LiLz Cam has a flash attachment, so it can be installed in dark or confined spaces within facilities to read meters. It can also be installed outdoors.

Since its launch in June 2020, approximately 1,200 units have been operating nationwide in six months. As of November 2023, around 300 Japanese companies, mainly social infrastructure firms, have installed about 4,500 units. When asked if companies developed remote systems for daily inspections before LiLz was established, Mr. Ohnishi responded matter-of-factly, “There were.”

“Some big, well-known Japanese companies were already interested in this venture. However, when large companies engage in such businesses, the prices are ridiculously high,” Mr. Ohnishi laughed. “When I looked it up, I found that a single camera costs over one million yen, which is so expensive that nobody can afford it. What’s good about this is that when large companies embark on a new business, they thoroughly research and submit proposals by saying, ‘There are such issues in the world, and there is demand for this.’ So, the market itself exists. However, the fact that it’s not widespread proves that if you create something even more user-friendly, it will sell without needing further investigation,” he explained, revealing an eye-opening insight.

Therefore, as one criterion for starting a business, he believed “it’s better to do something other companies are already doing. Rather than starting a business to solve future problems, I wanted to tackle something that could help people struggling right now.” Regarding entrepreneurship, he said that people often focus on pioneering unexplored fields where they have yet to venture. “There may be the possibility that there is no market to begin with or that the difficulty level is extremely high,” he said with a laugh while holding a 100,000 yen LiLz Cam.

LiLz Gauge also offers a starter kit that allows users to test the product before installation

“Workwear-wearing dad” as the inspiration
behind workplace efficiency

The operation software of Lilz Gauge is designed to be intuitive, considering the specific circumstances of each site and ease of use. As stated on the website, “fusing machine learning and IoT technology to make work efficient,” it is evident that they developed the product while considering every aspect of workers on-site. Ohnishi is undoubtedly conscious of this; his father, in his late 70s, still works as an electrician.

Ohnishi explaining the initial setup process for LiLz Gauge

“While we could become a typical SaaS company and solve problems for office workers, to be honest, I’m not interested in that. So why am I passionate about on-site work? I think my father’s presence has a lot to do with it. He has been in workwear since I was a child, and I’ve never seen him in anything other than a suit for formal occasions. Many of our clients don workwear, so there’s a sense of familiarity there,” he laughs. 

He says that while his father had difficulty understanding his son’s job at his previous company, he understood the Lilz Gauge product, which made Ohnishi proud. 

In February 2023, they obtained the world’s first basic patent for “inspection target arbitrary photography,” which sends images of inspection targets to the server at desired times outside of automatic scheduling. In August of the same year, they also launched thermography-type cameras based on the same concept, which can operate for three years and capture images three times a day. Thermography cameras allow observation of temperature changes in specific shooting range areas, greatly enhancing safety measures such as fire prevention.

Onishi emphasizes his focus on labor-saving and maintenance measures. “One of the focuses of this product is to spend freed time from remote inspections on creative work, but another is to avoid inspecting hazardous loations.” LiLz plans to release the LC-EX10 in early 2024, an explosion-proof camera model. An explosion-proof camera won’t ignite in explosive gas or dust environments, making it highly desirable in dangerous areas such as petroleum and chemical plants.

Optimizing on-site work worldwide! 
You will find your mission later on

As for future developments, the company is preparing to expand its business internationally, with distributors set in North America and Thailand. To understand the needs and regulations of each country, they frequent exhibitions around the world.

“For example, with IoT cameras, we must obtain wireless certification from each country’s certification agency. In some countries, we also need a certification for electrical product safety, so it’s challenging. Each country has different major industries, so the industries that show interest vary, as do the prices and pricing strategy.” Despite the challenges of the international market, they aim to introduce 100,000 units and have 50% of their clients overseas by 2026.

“I also need a mental shift, but sometimes I shirk because I can’t speak English, thinking, ‘If our product sells in Japan, that’s good enough.’ However, I want to make overseas expansion a natural part of our business mindset and aim to optimize fieldwork worldwide. I hope that new companies expanding their markets abroad will also increase.”

At an exhibition in Dortmund, Germany. They participated in exhibitions overseas nine times in 2023.

When asked for a message for aspiring entrepreneurs, Onishi advised: “Don’t be too hard on yourself.”

“I felt liberated once I broke free from restricting myself on how a business owner should be. The market will recognize your efforts if you start without feeling pressured and address challenges properly. You should choose a topic you want to pursue without overstretching yourself.”

Focus on what excites you and what you can immerse yourself in, and pursue things that bring joy or help others. In time, that will become a force capable of changing the world. Ohnishi’s interview reminded us of this lesson.

Interview and Japanese Text by Minako Narabayashi

LiLz Co., Ltd.

Date of Establishment
July 28, 2017
Capital stock
¥828,240,700 (including capital reserve)
Keigo Ohnishi
Number of Employees
Services utilizing AI and IoT technology, research and development, etc.
Head Office Location
2F, 2-3-7 Ganeko, Ginowan City, Okinawa

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