Diversified Japanese multinational Hitachi has unveiled a plan to triple its Australian revenues in five years, largely by exploiting IoT technologies and applications.
The plan was unveiled by Hitachi’s president and CEO, Toshiaki Higashihara, to a capacity audience at Hitachi’s Social Innovation Forum in Sydney – an annual global event staged in Australia for the first time.
Hitachi earned revenues of $A1.25b in Australia in 2015 from a diverse portfolio of 10 businesses employing 1700 people. That figure represented a fairly modest percentage of global revenues – one percent in comparison to Australia’s 2.16 percent share of 2015 global GDP. To achieve its threefold growth target of $3.75b Higashihara said Hitachi would invest $1.25b between now and 2020.
“Hitachi will invest heavily to accelerate collaborative creation with Australian partners in the fields of mining, railways, healthcare, security, and agriculture, to create shared value, bringing about positive change to the lives of individuals and Australian society,” the company said.
Growth from healthcare, urbanisation and primary industry
Higashihara said growth opportunities would come from three areas in which Australia faces major challenges: healthcare, urbanisation and primary industry.
“As a result of urbanisation due to the country’s rapid population growth, Australia is experiencing problems such as inadequate transportation infrastructure and chronic traffic congestion,” he said.
“Add to this, an increased demand from its citizens for stronger security measures. Growing population and dated infrastructure is placing increasing pressure on the healthcare system, and changes in the primary industry’s mining and agriculture sectors have given rise to the need for smart mining and agriculture technologies, including automation to help facilitate labour reduction in order to maintain competitiveness.”
Hitachi’s global revenues are fairly evenly divided across: IT; logistics; automotive systems; materials & components; construction machinery; electronic systems and equipment; social infrastructure industrial systems including power and transport; “smart life and ecofriendly systems.
Higashihara said this diversity gave the company a presence in both operational and information technologies that made it well placed to exploit their inevitable convergence as IoT gathers momentum.
Hitachi: strong in IT, OT and more
“Hitachi has three unique strengths: operational technology information technology and a wide range of products and systems. This combination of three strengths we call our Social Innovation Business and this is unique to us,” he told the Forum audience.
“Our goal is to become an innovation partner for the IoT era. Hitachi will accelerate collaborative creation and create new value with many stakeholders including those of you who have come to join us today.”
Lumada IoT platform will be key
Central to the company’s Australian growth plans is its Lumada IoT Platform, announced in May 2016 along with the Hitachi Insight Group, headquartered in Santa Clara, to run the global IoT business.
Hitachi said it would have more than 16,000 employees focused on IoT in the Insight Group and in various divisions across Hitachi and its group companies, including Hitachi Data Systems and Hitachi Consulting, that will collaborate to accelerate delivery of solutions.
Higashihara said: “Lumada is an IoT platform that supports all aspects of collaboration from sharing and analysis to the design, testing and simulation of business models and to provision.
“At the same time Lumada uses digital technology to connect machine and human data with business data from IoT systems to create new value and resolve issues. … It is open and adaptable – it connects easily to your current systems and to a variety of other systems, transcending the boundaries of industries.”
Tony Field, Hitachi Australia’s senior director, IoT and Social, said Lumada represented a convergence of existing Hitachi competencies.
“We are starting to bring all our technologies together. We have our platform services, we have our advanced analytic capabilities, we have a universal artificial intelligence engine and we can deliver insight, this is what we package up and deliver as Lumada.
He sais Lumada was designed to facilitate collaborative initiatives. “It is not just about Hitachi. It allows other partners to come in with their offerings, their data, their algorithms and contribute to solutions. Lumada is what will drive all our different business units across Hitachi to deliver all our different offerings.”