"The last time we saw the Hitachi brand logo was on the side of a tractor in South Wales"

“The last time we saw the Hitachi brand logo was on the side of a tractor in South Wales”

When we hear Hitachi two things come to mind; 80s style radio and construction vehicles. This might be a perception the team will want to address as Hitachi enters the internet of things (IoT) world, reports Telecoms.com (Banking Technology’s sister publication).

Combining the capabilities of three separate brands, Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Insight Group, and Pentaho, the new IoT focused company will be named Hitachi Vantara. The new business will be run by CEO Ryuichi Otsuki and COO Brian Householder, formerly of Hitachi Data Systems.

We quite like new companies entering the ecosystem, it keeps things interesting, but this one caught us by surprise. I mean, the last time we saw the Hitachi brand logo was on the side of a tractor in South Wales.

“Hitachi Vantara marks a monumental change for Hitachi as we continue to advance our unified corporate vision of Social Innovation,” says Hitachi president and CEO Toshiaki Higashihara. “Hitachi has been helping customers harness the power of their data to support meaningful business action for years.

“Now as the world is being transformed by digital tools and processes, we are unifying our strongest digital solutions companies together as a new Hitachi company that delivers exponential business impact for our customers and the betterment of society. The formation of Hitachi Vantara underscores Hitachi’s commitment to collaborative creation with customers and partners, and being a true innovation partner for the era of IoT.”

Some Grade A PR nonsense, but where will the music-masters-turn-heavy-duty-farmers-turn-digital-gurus actually fit into the world of IoT?

Solutions fall into six categories an IoT platform called Lumada, big data integration and analytics, converged systems, cloud object platforms, storage products and data protection and backup solutions. The idea is to sell an “end-to-end digital transformation” solution, so it will be taking on the consultative side of the IoT space.

The most immediate focus on the team does seem to be the IoT platform, which does seem to be leaning towards the industrial IoT setting, in smart-factories or construction sites for instance. Perhaps the company has not completely forgotten about its legacy, but this could be a relatively smart move. Hitachi Vantara might not be targeting a specific area of the IoT ecosystem to make a name, but it is targeting a vertical which has been generally ignored to date.

Factory floors, mines, airplane engines, hostile locations or construction sites; the traditional industries which are slow to get off the mark with new technology and generally left to the end. Other companies might be chasing the low hanging fruit in the digital transformation trend, but Hitachi Vantara is going after one of the unattractive areas. Not a bad move in a very congested space.

(By the way, just to be fair, Banking Technology has wrote about Hitachi a few times. This year, when Japan applied artificial intelligence [AI] to market surveillance operations; and last year, when Hitachi and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ [BTMU] started proof of concept [PoC] testing for using blockchain in the digitalisation of cheques in Singapore.)

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