Sony Japan – Aditya Mate
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Aditya Mate is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering.
This article is NOT all about how to crack the Sony interview, rather I’ll describe WHY you would (badly) want to work at Sony, and how amazing life at Sony and in Japan can be!
The (cool) project at Sony
I work at the ‘Intelligent System and technology design’ department at Sony, and my work profile mainly revolves around developing the next generation vital sensor technology and sensor fusion, which will be used in Sony’s smart watches for mood sensing and related applications.
The workload at Sony is quite chilled out, and thanks to the gruelling and ever demanding schedule at IITB that we are used to, the internship would feel like a breeze.
Working at Sony
Despite having visited Japan before, it has been a totally new and exciting experience for me to be working in Japan and at the headquarters of an electronics giant such as Sony.
It being Sony’s headquarters, the office is an enormous and plush empire, with generous helpings of luxury and sophistication oozing from all corners, that deliver the quintessential corporate feel. The office is littered with Sony gadgets all around like the huge Bravia TVs in meeting rooms, Sony projectors and VAIO laptops which all make it feel like being on a different planet inside the heart of Tokyo.
It is also thrilling to have this privilege of working with the top level of engineers at Sony. For instance, I’m blessed to have my supervisor, Okubo-san, who happens to be the chief engineer responsible for the development of all of the face detection technology being used in all Sony phones and other Sony gadgets today.
Yet, everyone is so approachable, friendly and kind, it can almost get awkward to be treated with so much warmth, by people of such high statures. I would end up playing badminton with my supervisor every week, was the last thing I had expected before coming here. It was overwhelming to receive a grand welcome in the office on the first day, with my table being specially decorated with a welcome board, with my name put up on it! Following this, my mentor then got all employees from almost half of my floor to gather, while I was left clueless about what was happening, because he spoke to everyone in Japanese. It is only after he explained to me in English, that it dawned upon me that, everyone had gathered around me to listen to my (impromptu) speech! I don’t remember if what I spoke made any sense or not, but everyone clapped enthusiastically at the end, so I guess either it went well or nobody understood any of my English!
One admirable feature though, about working here, I felt, is the amazing level of team-work and involvement shown by the employees even in other employees’ projects. I was pleasantly surprised to find my entire department (including Okubo-san) attending my hour long presentation about the project that I was supposed to work on during the internship.
Japan- The future of technology!
Good quality roads, infrastructure, overall cleanliness and opulence are all common features of most modern day cities in the developed part of the world. However what I found most striking and unique about Japan is the level of automation they have in even the simplest of things. You can sense it, when even the usual toilet seat in Japan feels like the cockpit of an airplane, because it comes equipped with an automatic washlet with speed and direction-adjustable jets (guess it’s job yourself :P), an inbuilt music system (!!) and not to mention the temperature adjustable seat heating system.
The Shinkansen (bullet train) is yet another exciting experience to look forward to, but I must warn you, it is so well designed, it can almost leave you disappointed. Before taking the ride, I had imagined it to be something like sitting in a roller coaster racing furiously at 300 kmph. But the ride is so incredibly smooth and flawless, the tranquility inside will almost put you to sleep with its unblemished stability and composure. Maybe they should have left some inaccuracies in the tracks for the passengers to feel the exhilaration of high speed travel!
Everything in Japan is so systematic, planned and punctual, I remember I was left dumbfounded, when on one of the weekdays, my mentor told me we would go for a lunch treat, and since it technically was during office hours, I received an email from him on the event scheduler for fixing an appointment with me, with the title “Lunch party” from 11:20 hours to 12:25 hours!
Talking of insane levels of automation in Japan, Sony’s cafeteria has a simple but futuristic payment system, which, on the first day almost left me feeling technologically ancient, as I was lost in the amazement of its magic, trying to figure out how it worked! So system is like this- the cafeteria is a huge place with a grand buffet laid out, for people to pick and buy food items before proceeding to the dining area. But the payment takes place only after we are done eating, when we place the empty tray and identification card on a sensor, which automatically detects the food consumed, computes the bill and deducts the amount from the card. The simple technique behind how this works is, every type of food item is put in a unique type of bowl/dish that comes fitted with a unique type of RFID chip that stores the cost of the corresponding item.
If all this sounds exciting enough, I must add that all these experiences have been the outcome of just the first half of my internship period, since I am writing this in June. With almost another month yet to go, I can barely guess what else is in waiting!