The collaboration between Danish WizeFloor and a Japanese partner is off to a good start
Nintendo and Pokémon. For several decades, Japan has enriched us with comics and computer games. And now Japanese culture is spreading to WizeFloor, which has a good collaboration with Japanese Relax’Creation.
The Japanese family company already worked with so-called sensory rooms, where, for example, children with disabilities or children in special schools can find peace in a relaxed environment. They were looking for an interactive floor product that they could connect to their sensory rooms, and therefore got in touch with WizeFloor. The collaboration was formally established after a visit to the Alexandra Institute in 2018.
“Although interactive floors are efficient for children with special needs, such systems can rarely be localised or customised for each player,” says Atsuko Hashimoto, CEO of Relax’Creation and explains:
“We looked into creating an interactive floor for Japanese children, but we noticed there were many barriers to achieve the goal. So, we started looking for a company abroad that we could collaborate with and found WizeFloor to fulfil our needs.”
Mutual app development
The collaboration has started a joint app development, says Kaspar Rosengreen Nielsen from the Alexandra Institute, who is responsible for the development of WizeFloor, and who has been to Japan in connection with the collaboration.
“Relax’Creation is teamed up with NHK, which is Japan’s answer to the BBC, and in addition to producing television, they also make educational material. Through them funds have been available to us to go over there and teach them and to start some app development projects. We have been received really well, and we have gotten to know each other well,” he explains.
Collaboration across time zones
The close relationship is especially an advantage when you have to collaborate virtually across two time zones with nine hours difference. Typically, when Kaspar Rosengreen Nielsen arrives at work in the morning, they have answered some questions that he asked the day before. It is a cycle that runs surprisingly well.
“They are really good at making graphics and at concept development. Typically, they have some ideas that they would like done and which we help them to realise. In that way, it is a pure win-win situation, because we have apps developed that will be available to all our customers – not only in Japan, but also in all the other countries where WizeFloor is available.”
WizeFloor has typically focused on school and education, and the collaboration with Relax’Creation has made it possible to tap into their domain knowledge.
They have just released the app "Sensory path", which is aimed at children with special needs to help them relax and concentrate in the classroom. The children follow a sensory path that is projected onto the floor and they handle various obstacles, such as jumping over holes and caterpillars, rotating around themselves, walking sideways and much more. In this way, they both burn off some energy and can calm down before teaching begins.
"It is somewhat different to what we have done so far, and it is also an area Relax’Creation are very knowledgeable about and professionally competent in, so this way we can strengthen WizeFloor in some new areas."
“It also requires making adjustments to the Japanese market. Because one thing is translating software, but another thing is to optimise the content for Japanese thinking. The way they think graphics and sound is different, and overall it gives a different touch and tone than we would be able to do here in Denmark, but at the same time it also helps to make it more interesting from our perspective.”
The new app Sensory Path can be seen here.