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Hitachi combines OT with IT to push IoT value

Hitachi combines OT with IT to push IoT value

Toshiaki Higashihara, Hitachi Ltd. President and CEO of the Hitachi Group, is clear about the company's intention behind its recently unveiled US$4-bn innovation, development and experience division Hitachi Vantara: it will drive the company's social innovation strategy and deliver on its co-creation approach to relevant services and solutions.

Hitachi Vantara management used the Group's Social Innovation Forum 2017, hosted recently in Milan, to provide an in-depth overview of the division and its objectives.

Hitachi Vantara was officially introduced to the market in September and is comprised of elements and businesses the Group is already involved in, including Hitachi Data Systems (the company's IT business), Pentaho (an acquisition secured several years ago and the company's channel into the data analytics space) and Lumada (a software platform developed within the Insight Group and focused on IoT).

"Hitachi is striving to become an innovation partner in the IoT era, through the global rollout of Lumada, using our expertise in OT and IT. We believe that it is possible to create and provide digital solutions that will resolve the issues faced by customers and by Italian society," said Higashihara.

Using the company's experience in- and contribution to Italy (defined by solution development and integration within public transportation and healthcare) as an example of what it offers to market, Hitachi explained that its strategy is to combine all these resources and relevant capabilities to offer unique capabilities related to IT and IoT.

"These businesses - and to a large degree Hitachi Data systems, has a very strong presence in the commercial enterprise and some of the largest companies on the planet. And what we are now doing is integrating and looking at synergies between some of our traditional IT solutions and capabilities and bringing IT together with OT going forward," said Asim Zaheer, Chief Marketing Officer, Hitachi Vantara.

The company believes its 100-year plus experience in the manufacture of machines and experience within industrial technology is unique and that no other firm has the capability to combine IT with OT on this level in order to revolutionise service provision across several major industries including transportation, construction, healthcare and telecommunications.

"Now, a lot of the change that we are seeing today in the world is driven by data and technology. And so we have been focused historically on the IT side and business and human generated data. Now there is the ability to monetise and leverage machine-generated data as well. We're the only company in the world that has the ability to combine operational technology with information technology. Others out there that you may be familiar with come at this from one or the other side of the equation. They are either historically an OT company that is now trying to build an IT capability, or it's an IT company that is trying to learn about operational technology," Zaheer added.

According to Gartner there will be nearly 21 billion connected 'things' by 2020 and Hitachi asserts that data is now at the core of business and company transformation.

"Machines are now generating vast quantities of data ... and the other dynamic is that this is driving is that now IT capability now needs to live in some of these machines, IT is now spreading and everything is becoming the domain of IT. So this pervasiveness of smart devices and connected devices is driving a lot of complexity and a lot of tremendous opportunities for businesses that are in these industries," said Zaheer.

Outcomes that matter

Hitachi is focused on leveraging technologies such as AI and machine learning to realise what it calls 'outcomes that matter', such as the ability to diagnose illnesses sooner or run a factory more efficiently by predicting when parts are going to fail and maintenance is required.

The company says it will utilise its Lumada platform to drive the IT/OT marriage for Hitachi Ltd. going forward.

Ravi Chalaka, Vice President Global IoT and Lumada Marketing, at Hitachi Vantara added, "We are currently in the fourth industrial revolution, it has already started. Technology that is driving this cyber-physical driven system is basically the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and driven by data that is coming from multiple sources rather than isolated from machine to machine. Data is the new oil, but the problem with data is that 80% of the data that we have access to as enterprise is not useful today."

Data needs be refined and broken down in order to make better decisions and monetise the resource, said Chalaka.

He said that Hitachi Vantara and specifically its Lumada platform is involved in IoT from the edge across the entire spectrum to the outcome.

"We're driving the expertise on the OT side and the IT side into one platform," added Chalaka.

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