In conversation with Voice&Data, Srinivas Rao, Sales Director, Government Sector, Hitachi Vantara (India), talks about smart cities, IoT, and how does Hitachi Vantara plans to contribute in smart cities via IoT. Excerpts:
Voice&Data: What are the major technology verticals driving Smart City initiatives in India?
Srinivas Rao: The scale and complexity at which the Indian market presents itself today is unprecedented to the world. Government initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India and the Smart Cities initiatives present the biggest opportunities across all other economies. The smart cities initiative in particular, has been able to focus on creating an opportunity to apply ‘smarter solutions’ for a more sustainable environment.
There are 4 basic pillars on which smart cities initiatives in India are built around: IoT, cloud, artificial intelligence and cognitive analytics. Since both smart cities and Digital India projects are creating new economic and social opportunities, these technology verticals are essential in making the Digital India vision a reality. In order to run anything intelligently, one needs to gather the right kind of data from devices, understand it and then exploit it to derive meaningful business outcomes.
Hitachi Vantara’s social innovation solutions are primarily aimed at Digital India and the execution of 100 smart cities, thus addressing the growing needs of the society. The solutions span across verticals such as automotive, power, water management, public safety and consumer durables. We see smart cities as not only an effort of the government, but also one that helps all organizations within the city to become smarter and safer.
Voice&Data: Internet of Things will play a very important role in the smart cities mission. How does Hitachi plan on contributing to smart cities via the Internet of Things?
Srinivas Rao: At Hitachi Vantara, for some of the projects that we have embarked on, IoT is going to derive informational insights and deliver real time governance for all the citizen services. For example, when we are solving processes for water efficiency, waste management and energy field or traffic, it is the IoT sensors and cameras that capture data and help us make better decisions to make a smart city. That is why IoT is the core to running a smart city.
As per a recent IDC report, the global Internet of Things (IoT) market spend is expected to grow from $625.2 billion in 2015 to $1.29 trillion in 2020. With the launch of our new business entity Hitachi Vantara, we aim to leverage this growth with our broad portfolio of innovation, development, and experience from across Hitachi Group of companies to deliver data-driven solutions for commercial and industrial enterprises.
Public safety, which we refer to as ‘smart spaces and video intelligence’, is an important area of focus for us under the smart cities initiative, especially with the enhanced Hitachi Visualization Suite and Hitachi Video Analytics – a part of Hitachi’s Social Innovation solutions portfolio, which is committed to the development of smart societies that are better and safer.
Voice&Data: How is Hitachi Vantara enabling IoT in core industries? Please give a peek into IoT’s impact across verticals?
Srinivas Rao: Hitachi Vantara has been enabling the use of IoT in core industries for a long time. The biggest differentiator that we have as a company is the 107 years of OT experience and 58 years of IT experience. This itself gives us an upper hand in operational intelligence for transportation, water management, parking, lighting, and energy saving applications along with public safety initiatives.
Our entire IoT strategy is anchored around 3 key tenets. The first one is that data is the biggest aspect for customers, the second being that customers must own their data, and the third belief is that customers should be able to exploit the data, whenever, however and wherever they need it. Hitachi Vantara offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility, and analytics. Our products, services and solutions are trusted by some of the world’s leading enterprises, including more than 70% of the Fortune 100 and more than 80% of the Fortune Global 100 companies. These customers are operating either in the banking, finance, telecom, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, or government space. This presents a great opportunity for our customers to extend the partnership and look at new challenges that we can solve together.
Voice&Data: How is enterprise-level adoption of IoT taking place? Are enterprises fully aware of its benefits? How is Hitachi Vantara helping its customers realize the potential, benefits and RoI of IoT?
Srinivas Rao: The revolution of the internet of things (IoT) is underway, bringing together people, data, and machines to build an advanced infrastructural ecosystem. In fact, Nasscom predicts the Indian market to make 5% of the global IoT market, amounting to $15 bn by 2020. We at Hitachi Vantara, combine OT and IT to deliver on the promise of IoT for exceptional outcomes.
We recently launched Hitachi’s first commercial Lumada internet of things (IoT) platform offering. This is what we call as an ‘edge to outcome’ software platform with comprehensive security capabilities and expanded support for unstructured data uploads. It runs both on-premise or on cloud and supports industrial IoT deployments, both at the edge and in the core. The platform which essentially consists of five layers namely: Lumada foundry, Lumada edge, Lumada core, Lumada studio and Lumada analytics, integrates collaborative co-creation and innovative Internet of Things solutions to benefit societies and organizations everywhere.
Voice&Data: What can be some of the IoT- enabled implementations in the smart cities project? Is Hitachi Vantara involved in any such initiatives?
Srinivas Rao: With the Government of India talking widely about Digital India and the smart cities mission, business opportunities in the government sector are enormous. At present, over 24 State Governments across India are leveraging Hitachi’s IT solution and operating on Hitachi’s technology for their various e-governance functions. Hitachi is well positioned to enable the vision of next-generation smart cities by using its deep technology portfolio to positively impact people’s lives. Hitachi Vantara’s social innovation portfolio fits well into the plans that help the Government of India to accelerate the pace of digital India projects and ensure access to information for all. We have worked with initiatives such as:
- EPFO: Hitachi Vantara has collaborated with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), a Government of India unit, to provide digital transformation by facilitating seamless information management in the backend where the EPFO can digitize most of its services.
- Aadhar & UID: The analytics of the Unique Identification Authority of India for the Aadhaar card system has also been carried out on the Hitachi platform. We aim to leverage the power of one Hitachi and combine them with our IT platforms to make society better.
- My Gov & NKN: Many projects like the ‘MyGov’ initiative, e-Procure, e-courts and Central Crime Research continue to run on Hitachi Vantara’s platforms. MyGov is a citizen engagement platform founded by the Government of India to promote the active participation of Indian citizens in their country’s governance and development. It is also aimed at creating a common platform for Indian citizens to “crowdsource governance ideas from citizens”. Hitachi Vantara has also worked with National Knowledge Network (NKN) – a multi-gigabit, whose purpose is to provide a unified high-speed network backbone for educational institutions in India.