Hitachi Wrapping IoT in Social Innovation
The company's Social Innovation unit is creating IoT-based solutions to solve problems in a wide range of industries.Hitachi Ltd. in one form or another has been making Internet of things (IoT) devices for the past several years, according to Sara Gardner, CTO of the Social Innovation unit at the massive, multi-billion dollar conglomerate. The company casts it shadow on a wide and disparate range of verticals worldwide, from construction machinery and automotive systems to financial services, health care, telecommunications and power systems. As with other huge multinational companies, like, GE, each of the independent business units that operate in these far-flung industries have engineers working for them, and over the years have created various connected devices, systems and sensors that help their customers gather, store and analyze data from their operations. However, those connected devices tended to be optimized for their particular industry segments and for particular customers, so while Hitachi may have been making a range of systems that would comfortably fit within the Internet of things definition, not many people outside of the larger company associated Hitachi with such connected devices, Gardner said. At the same time, Hitachi did little to promote what its various businesses were creating, and its IT business—which primarily is Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), with consulting services and the newly-acquired Pentaho data analytics company—did not have much of a reputation in IoT, Gardner said.
But that is all changing, she said. Hitachi officials are pulling together the IT capabilities of HDS and the various technology efforts of its vast number of businesses under the umbrella of the company's Social Innovation business unit, and are now beginning to promote their efforts.