As Sony looks to prove the worth of its medical business, its booth was notable for the products that were not present as it returned to the largest consumer electronics show in Japan for the first time in six years. An advanced system to analyze cells through Blu-ray, surgical microscopes and 4K monitors for operation rooms were reportedly on display in place of the PlayStation gaming console, robotic dog Aibo and Bravia television, the Financial Times reported.
The products are said to make the basis of the company’s low-key medical business, which is often criticized by activist investors like Daniel Loeb as precisely the kind of operation that makes the conglomerate harder to understand and contributes little to earnings. According to the report, Sony believes its technology from many years in the entertainment and consumer electronics industry will provide it with an edge in taking on broader social challenges.
Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s chief executive, however, has to sway investors that diversity in products is a strength and provide the firm with time to turn into a meaningful operator in new markets. Yoshida said last month, according to reports, “Our technology is what connects and gives power to Sony’s diverse businesses.” Sony began in the field by creating monitors as well as medical printers in the 1980s.
The company has since made multiple acquisitions, with the inclusion of U.S. producer of cell sorters iCyt Mission Technology and Belgium digital operation room specialist eSATURNUS. And, as it stands, iData Research indicates that sales of surgical markets are forecast to rise to $294 million in 2021 from $250 million in 2017.
In separate news, Sony is homing in on the world of investments in upstarts to invest in companies within “key high-growth industries.” The company has the goal of raising roughly 20 billion JPY or $185 million in a new tech startup fund. The Innovation Growth Fund (IGF) is said to be jointly run with Daiwa Capital Holdings, Daiwa Securities’ VC arm.