Message for students 2022:Anan Sawabe
January 31, 2022
Wanting to make a local 5G that is secure for anyone to use
System Platform Research Laboratories
Sawabe joined NEC in 2015 and is currently a Senior Researcher at System Platform Research Laboratories. During university, he majored in information and telecommunications engineering. After joining NEC, he completed a doctorate course by studying in graduate school as a businessperson doctor while engaging in network-related research. Bringing back the proliferation of local 5G as a takeaway from the graduate school lab, he proposed research aimed at practical application at NEC and achieved it.
Creating a local mobile network that offers everyone high-quality communication
Currently, I am studying how to enable non-carriers to reliably operate an LTE or 5G mobile network, such as the ones we connect to from our smartphones and that are operated by mobile carriers, in local areas including inside buildings and offices.
One of the issues in local mobile networks is the disparity between people with network knowledge and those without. What I am aiming for is an autonomous operation of mobile networks in order to create an environment that makes everyone happy by enabling the use of high-quality communication regardless of knowledge level. At NEC, taking an example of research targeting factories, there is an idea to remotely control construction machinery at construction sites using local 5G. While local 5G is a theme also researched at other companies, we are exploring improvements that we can propose according to customer needs by taking advantage of NEC’s strengths, specifically, data analysis and a large customer base.
Networks are developed on the concept of equal availability widely across people—however, as the number of users increase, people’s needs get more specific. I feel motivated in thinking about a network that focuses on the specific needs of customers.
On the other end, there is a lot to learn to cover the broad range of this research. I read books and research papers about technologies in other fields such as data analysis every day to acquire more knowledge. While the study is endless, it is also a pleasure to look for books at a bookstore on the weekends. I purchase and read one to three books every week. My hobby of reading is directly connected to work.
Warming to the attitude of seeking to understand both the researcher’s research and personality, I decided to join NEC
What made me decide to join NEC was the conversation I had at the social gathering held after an academic conference. I was asked by a participant from NEC what I was researching and what was important to me—questions seeking to ascertain my character. I felt that he was trying to understand what kind of person I am, trying to get an idea of what kind of life I would have if I joined NEC.
This person I conversed with is my current supervisor. While I spoke with people from different laboratories during the conference presentation, I got the most genial, warm impression from NEC researchers. This has not changed after joining NEC. NEC Laboratories characteristically have many gentle people. Senior peers are kind, and there is an atmosphere of respecting the opinions of each and individual employee, even opinions that differ. People recognize what you want to do when you explain it to them. I cannot recall any moment that I got denied. Not only about the company, but I can also consult them about private matters. I like that they keep a comfortable distance that is not interfering.
A supportive environment for outputs and presentations enables you to confirm what you have been doing as a researcher
NEC has many globally prominent researchers, which is inspiring. When there is something you want to do, you can discuss and have people work together at “how to do it in alignment with the current direction of the team.” I also feel challenged by the encouragement to make presentations at conferences and file for patents.
Presenting at a conference enables you to clearly see what you are doing as well as shows yourself as a researcher to people outside of NEC. Research without output can put you at a loss as to what you have accomplished. NEC has a culture of leaving visible results, which helps you see your achievements and acknowledge the meaning and value of the research.
NEC has an in-house latest technology presentation meeting called Open House, where you can see presentations from different fields. I get a lot of inspirations from research in fields different from mine. Expanding that little by little leads to ideas for patents. I have filed about 30 patent applications up to this date.
The ample welfare and benefits package is also a merit. The status of being an employee working at a laboratory of a powerhouse such as NEC guarantees a living even when you are doing research full-time. Good ideas tend to come out when I’m in a positive mental state. Not having to worry about life is an important element in keeping you from falling into the negative. I am grateful for being an NEC employee and feeling secure about devoting myself to research.
I have been focusing on inputs, so from now on, I hope to increase outputs. I want to be a researcher who develops convenient local 5G networks that various people can use with no concern while producing more outputs from what I have accumulated from work and reading.
- ※The information posted on this website is the information at the time of publication.
A day at work
Message to my past self in my school days
I like to cook. I often cook stewed dishes. Cooking and research have something in common. If you properly prepare and dress the ingredients and think through what adjustments should be made, you get a beautiful, delicious result. I use ingredients that are interesting, and of course, I end up with various results. Sometimes I succeed, and other times I don’t. *Laugh* I make what I want to eat at the time, so what I end up making is always different. Like with research, I enjoy cooking while trying out different things.