Hitachi, which is a Tokyo based conglomerate, is combining three of its U.S. based tech Units. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Hitachi Insight Group and Pentaho will be combined into a single, company called Hitachi Vantara. The new company will compete in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector against players like Amazon, GE, Microsoft and Google. All of which, have their own IoT platform. However, what they won’t do is compete with these companies to sell basic computing, storage and networking to customers.
Bobbi Soni, Vantara’s Chief Solution’s and Services Officer says “this is all about standing up end-to-end solutions that can run on premises or on Azure or Amazon. Our strategy is to bring industrial IoT expertise, our software and ability to manage and run technology. We don’t think many companies are in a position to pull all those things together. With this reorganization, one entity will sell HDS’s data center infrastructure, Insight’s big data software and Pentaho analytics. Together, those companies claim an annual revenue of $4 billion.
Hitachi will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., but will be independently managed. The Vantara arrangement looks a lot like HDS management. It includes HDS Chief Executive Ryuichi Otsuki and President/COO Brian Householder, who are assuming the same positions at the new company. The company will also be based out of HDS’s Santa Clara headquarters.
One priority will be to push Insight’s Lumada Internet of things technology as a platform for connected devices in industrial settings. In the industrial Internet of things, sensors on factory floors, in mines, in airplane engines, or some other remote or hostile location are designed to send data to an aggregation point, where it can be aggregated and analyzed in order to help manufacturers fix problems before they become dangerous.
Industrial IoT incorporates machine learning and big data technology. It harnesses the sensor data, machine to machine communication and automation technologies that have existed in industrial settings for years. The driving philosophy behind industrial IoT is that smart machines are better than humans at accurately, consistently capturing and communicating data. This data can enable companies to pick up on inefficiencies and problems sooner. Which saves time and money in the long run.
In manufacturing, for example industrial IoT holds great potential for quality control, sustainable and green practices, supply chain traceability and overall supply chain efficiency. This looks like a good move on Hitachi’s part. Or at least from an industrial perspective. GE explains industrial IoT as “machines that tell operators how to optimize productivity or detect a failure before it occurs, potentially saving companies billions of dollars a year, while the IoT includes connected refrigerators that can purchase more milk and eggs online before they run out”.
Hitachi plans on focusing on both, but I actually think the industrial side of it is pretty interesting. Not that I don’t think a connect refrigerator isn’t, but I like the idea of operating efficiently. Not because I want this technology to replace humans, but I think that it provides a better way of doing things. I also am thinking that this could help in some more dangerous industries. If the machine could tell the operator that something isn’t working right, it might not just save money, but it could save lives. The reorganization looks good on Hitachi, which means I look forward to seeing what comes from them in this field.