We talked to Toworu NANMOKU about the XPAND Code, the super contactless spatial link to connect space and information and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Toworu NANMOKU: Japan has relatively few people infected with COVID-19, and fortunately, there are no infected people around me, including my family and me. However, our lifestyles have indeed changed dramatically.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded XPAND.
Toworu NANMOKU: I am an industrial designer, a web engineer, and an expert in intellectual property law.
As a designer and engineer in my own design studio, I have worked on information design and wayfinding design for major Japanese railroads, subways, and buses.
A prime example of my work is the information displays installed in all Tokyo Metro stations, which are seen by 7 million passengers a day.
Recently, I have also been working on styling and UX design for industrial robots. We developed our product “XPAND Code” as an ideal tool to link space and smartphone based on these experiences.
Three years ago, we spun off a startup company dedicated to the development and operation of XPAND Code.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Toworu NANMOKU: This pandemic has not significantly affected our business.
Rather, I believe that our tools, which can be read from a distance on a smartphone, are among those needed in the new normal lifestyle around the world.
Furthermore, the rapid shift of exhibitions and business meetings to online is also a tailwind for us. Thanks to this, we can now talk to a wider range of people around the world than ever before.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Toworu NANMOKU: We are a seed-stage company. This situation has made it very difficult for us to raise funds.
For this reason, we are more focused on communicating the appeal of our product to a large number of potential customers around the world while keeping costs as low as possible.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Toworu NANMOKU: Whether you feel stressed or anxious or not, the situation will not change. At least not for the better. Therefore, my thinking is that there is no point in feeling them.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Toworu NANMOKU: Our products are simple and extremely versatile.
Perhaps because our development perspective is different from existing barcodes and markers, there is no clear competitor in the world. Instead, any service or product can become our collaborator.
We believe it is best to involve as many collaborators as possible around the world.
Your final thoughts?
Toworu NANMOKU: The XPAND Code will enable social distancing and connected cities while preserving the beautiful landscape.
I am convinced that combining QR codes for short distances and XPAND codes for long distances will make people’s lives safer and more convenient in the new lifestyle.