Hitachi is a rare beast – a global leader in both industrial systems and information technology which puts it in a relatively unique position as the internet of things and the industrial internet starts to dramatically scale.

Speaking at the company’s Next 2019 customer event in Las Vegas, Hitachi Ltd CEO Toshiaki Higashihara gave two practical examples of the impact its industrial and IT expertise on a very recognisable consumer experience – the daily commute.

In the UK Hitachi has helped cut the commute times by over 50 per cent on some routes, while in Copenhagen, the company allows trains to be rescheduled on the fly by analysing the number of passengers waiting on platforms.

“Hitachi can develop this system as we have expertise in rolling stock, in train operation systems, as well as IT,” he said.

Hitachi’s customers typically operate at a national and global scale and require vast, almost unimaginable compute and storage capacity. But now with the looming expansion of the industrial internet, they will have to imagine even greater scale with a trillion new sensors expected to come online in the next four years.

To address the expected huge increases in data Hitachi made three key announcements;

  • Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) 5000 series and Hitachi Ops Center software form the bedrock of its next-generation storage and infrastructure foundation. It says these technologies can accelerate data center workloads and deliver future-proof IT with a new, innovative architecture which it says is ideal for modernising data center, cloud and DataOps environments.
  • Hitachi Vantara expanded and enhanced its capabilities for cloud services in the first major announcement of the company’s newly formed cloud services portfolio. The portfolio includes cloud migration services, application modernisation services, operations managed services, consulting services and Hitachi Enterprise Cloud (HEC).
  • Hitachi Vantara also announced the expansion of the Lumada platform services and solutions portfolio to help customers across industries tackle the issue of data silos and drive more innovation through DataOps. Hitachi says it is now extending Lumada’s capabilities beyond the internet of things (IoT) for enterprise and industrial customers to address the data challenges common to customers in any industry and for any use case.

Brian Householder the CEO of the Hitachi Vantara group told delegates to the event “In 2017 machines generated more data than humans for the first time. However, by 2023 it will be 50 times more data than humans.”

Data, data everywhere, but not a drop to drink

But all that new data will need analysing if value is to be extracted, and that will require a significant change from current approaches.

According to Householder, “On average, less than 5 per cent of your company’s data is actually being analysed. That is not going to cut it in this new world. That’s going to put your business at risk in terms of survivability here over the next few years.”

“Everyone is looking for insight. They’re looking for scale. You have less than five per cent of your environment being analysed right now and you have to figure out how to scale.”

To do so, however, there are several serious impediments that need to be overcome “You have all the data silos, you have the data sprawl, you have all the new workloads, you have the data growth, you have all these legacy architectures, and you have all these manual processes,” he said.

As a result of these roadblocks, data engineers and data scientists spend the vast majority of their time just trying to find the data. “We believe there has to be a better approach in terms of how to do that and that’s what DataOps is all about. This is intelligent data operations.”

He said Hitachi’s view is that DataOps will have the same impact on the transformation of business and business models that DevOps (development operations) has had over the last decade.

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