Hitachi Hopes Industrial Expertise Can Deliver Smart Cities Of The Future

Hitachi says IoT unit and background in industry, along with its Lumada software platform, can make it a smart city leader

Hitachi is a household name for its consumer electronics, but the Japanese giant has a significant IT unit and is now looking towards the Internet of Things to strengthen its B2B operations.

Earlier this month, it formed the Hitachi Insights Group (HIG), as an umbrella for its existing IoT efforts.

Answer time

great-cities-insightHitachi has a history that spans more than a hundred years and it has 11 separate business units.

Alongside its consumer and business technology units, it makes automotive, construction and military equipment among other things and this wide industrial knowledge is a boon for its IoT activities.

Currently covering areas from transport to heavy industry to healthcare, Hitachi’s IoT work generated £3.7 billion in 2015 alone, and the launch of HIG will help the company better run and roll out its connected solutions, according to Hans Lindeman, an executive at HIG’s European arm.

“We don’t want to just offer an off the shelf solution,” he says, noting that HIG will be the “tip of the spear” in the company’s effort to gain lucrative market share. “We want to solve some of the important questions that haven’t been answered yet.”

To help set itself apart from the competition and encourage the development of new products services, Hitachi has its own Lumada platform, which provides an open, adaptable software architecture which is flexible enough to be customised across a wide range of industries.

With its background in what Lindeman calls operational technology, industrial IoT, and with it, smart cities, is to play a large part of this activity moving forward, as Hitachi shows off its expertise in a range of areas.

Hitachi currently offers services and solutions for the likes of public safety, renewable and sustainable energy, intelligent transportation, precision agriculture and manufacturing, water treatment and urban development, construction, mining and more.

Biggest data

HitachiAlthough Lindeman notes that it is not looking to gain a complete monopoly over any one location by providing all these services at once, this blending of the physical and digital worlds, “shows that IoT is in our DNA.”

Last week, HIG announced the launch of a ‘City Data Exchange’ in Copenhagen, which looks to offer the Danish capital better and clearer access to the large amounts of data generated by a modern city, and open this up to innovative new developers.

As part of this launch, HIG is developing two applications to show the power of having this data available, one of which helps citizens in the region to track their transportation usage over time and understand the carbon footprint of their travel; and another which allows both households and businesses to see how much energy they use.

But the City Data Exchange will offer data in different categories such as: city life, infrastructure, climate and environment, business data and economy, demographics, housing and buildings, and utilities usage.

“We’re trying to understand some of the more complex problems – a lot of cities have huge amounts of data that they are trying to make use of,” Lindeman says.

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