Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

In brief: During its brief history as a collection of Hitachi Ltd. data properties, Hitachi Vantara continues to grow and remake itself. It has now added Hitachi Consulting and Intelligent Data Cataloging company Waterline Data. The new company combines IT Infrastructure, Data Management and Analytics.

The first news is the combination of Hitachi Vantara with Hitachi Consulting as one company to create a new digital infrastructure and solutions company.

The new Hitachi Vantara aims to become the world’s preferred digital innovation partner by unlocking the “good” in data that benefits customers, raises the quality of people’s lives and builds a sustainable society. Hitachi Vantara will specifically bring a competitive edge to the digital domains that matter most – the data center, data operations, and enterprise digital transformation.

The new Hitachi Vantara combines the best consulting-led digital solutions and vertical industry expertise of Hitachi Consulting with Hitachi Vantara’s IT domain expertise. Going forward, the integrated company will help customers develop practical, scalable digital strategies and solutions that transform operational processes, improve customer experiences and create new business models to drive innovation and growth.

For example, the new company will offer a holistic manufacturing industry practice as one of several vertical industry practices. The manufacturing practice will integrate consulting methodologies for addressing quality, customization, sustainability and new business models with data-driven solutions such as Lumada Manufacturing Insights from Hitachi Vantara, which integrates silos of manufacturing data and applies AI and machine learning to evaluate and enhance overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

“A barrage of data and technology is disrupting enterprises and industries the world over,” said Toshiaki Tokunaga, chief executive officer and chairman of the board, Hitachi Vantara. “Through the integration of Hitachi Consulting, the new Hitachi Vantara will be uniquely equipped with the capabilities our customers need to guide them on their digital journeys. We’re going to be the company that helps customers navigate from what’s now to what’s next.”

The Hitachi Vantara portfolio is built upon a foundation of world-class edge-to-core-to-cloud infrastructure offerings, including the recently introduced Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) 5000 series, the world’s fastest data storage array. The portfolio further features AI and analytics solutions, cloud services for application modernization, systems integration and change management services for SaaS-based ERP implementations and migrations, and Lumada-based digital industrial solutions. Hitachi Vantara’s offerings are all backed by world-class business consulting, deep experience in improving organization effectiveness, co-development capabilities and global delivery services.

With its expanded capabilities, the new Hitachi Vantara will play a key role in advancing Hitachi’s 2021 Mid-term Management Plan, which aims to make the company a global leader through “Social Innovation Business.” The Social Innovation Business strategy centers on combining Hitachi’s industrial and IT expertise and products to create new value and resolve social issues.

Hitachi Vantara will help advance the plan by expanding revenues from digital business, by digitally transforming Hitachi’s industrial businesses, by fueling international growth, and by delivering social, environmental and economic value which helps customers contribute to the attainment of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

As announced in September 2019, Toshiaki Tokunaga, a 30-year Hitachi veteran who has successfully transformed several Hitachi businesses, will serve in the dual role of chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Hitachi Vantara.

The company’s two business units, Digital Infrastructure and Digital Solutions, will be led by Presidents Brian Householder and Brad Surak, respectively. Hitachi Vantara today also announced details of other appointments to its executive leadership team.

Hitachi Vantara Will Integrate Advanced Data Cataloging Technology Into Lumada Data Services Portfolio

In further news, Hitachi Vantara announced acquisition of the business of Waterline Data, which is headquartered in Mountain View, CA. It provides intelligent data cataloging solutions for DataOps that help customers more easily gain actionable insights from large datasets and comply with data regulations such as GDPR.

Waterline Data delivers catalog technology enabled by machine learning (ML) that automates metadata discovery to solve modern data challenges for analytics and governance across edge-to-core-to-cloud environments. Waterline Data’s technology has been adopted by customers in the financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries to support analytics and data science projects, pinpoint compliance-sensitive data and improve data governance. It can be applied on-premises or in the cloud to large volumes of data in Hadoop, SQL, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud environments.

Waterline Data’s patented “fingerprinting” technology is the cornerstone of its solutions, removing one of the biggest obstacles to data lake success. Fingerprinting uses AI- and rule-based systems to automate the discovery, classification and analysis of distributed and diverse data assets to accurately and efficiently tag large volumes of data based on common characteristics.

Integrating Waterline Data technology with Hitachi Vantara’s Lumada Data Services portfolio will provide a common metadata framework to help customers break down data silos distributed across the cloud, the data center, and the machines and devices at the edges of their networks. By applying DataOps methodologies to the unified datasets, customers can more rapidly gain insights and drive innovation.

“Our research illustrates that almost half of enterprise data practitioners are spending more than 50% of their time simply trying to find and prepare data for analysis. Data catalog products have emerged in recent years as strategic imperatives for enterprises seeking to address this challenge while also improving data governance,” said Matt Aslett, research vice president, 451 Research. “This acquisition is logical and strategic: Waterline Data’s capabilities are a complementary fit for Hitachi Vantara and its Lumada Data Services portfolio. Adding Waterline Data furthers the company’s ability to address growing demand for products and services that deliver more agile and automated approaches to data management via DataOps: helping enterprise consumers of data ultimately leverage information in a fluid, yet governed way.”

“Hitachi Vantara provides customers with the digital building blocks, DataOps approaches and industry solutions they need to transform their organizations through data-driven insights,” said Brad Surak, president, Digital Solutions, Hitachi Vantara. “Waterline Data technologies complement Hitachi Vantara’s DataOps expertise and will become key offerings in the Lumada Data Services portfolio, bringing our customers greater visibility, tighter quality control, improved compliance and better management of their data.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition of Waterline Data is subject to customary closing conditions and it is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Hitachi’s fiscal year 2019 (ending March 31, 2020).

Upon completion of the acquisition, Hitachi Vantara will make Waterline Data technologies available as standalone solutions as well as integrated components of the Lumada Data Services portfolio.

Digital Infrastructure and Solutions Company Expands and Focuses

Industrial Internet of Things to the Production Floor

Major IT companies have been scrambling to compete in the Industrial Internet of Things market. The control, instrumentation, and automation companies all talk about how this is all stuff they’ve been doing for years, or even decades, this is really quite new.

The first IT company people I talked with talked about selling boxes—gateways or edge computing. I’m thinking that there’s not enough money in that market. And, I was right. As the companies flesh out their strategies, the IoT group leadership keeps moving higher up the corporate ladder. And the vision broadens to include much of the portfolio of the companies enabling them to progressively enhance their competitive positions within their major customers.

Hitachi Vantara has recently been talking with me about their approach to the problem. I learned about Vantara and its focus initially through people I knew who landed new positions there. Life is always about serendipity. In the past, I’ve reported on the Lumada platform and the way the company is building modularly atop it. There was Maintenance Insights and then Video Insights. Now unveiled is Manufacturing Insights. I will get a deeper dive and talk to customers the second week of October when I attend its customer conference.

Note that these applications have more in common with MES than what you might think of as simply connecting devices with IIoT. In other words, the value proposition and integration into the customer grows.

Let’s discuss the latest addition to the Hitachi Lumada platform, Manufacturing Insights, which the company describes as a suite of industrial internet-of-things (IoT) solutions that empower the manufacturing industry to achieve transformative outcomes from data-driven insights. Using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and DataOps, Lumada Manufacturing Insights optimizes machine, production, and quality outcomes.

“Data and analytics have the power to modernize and transform manufacturing operations. But for too many manufacturers today, legacy infrastructure and disconnected software and processes slow innovation and impact competitive advantage,” said Brad Surak, chief product and strategy officer at Hitachi Vantara. “With Lumada Manufacturing Insights, customers can lay a foundation for digital innovation that works with the systems and software they have already to operationalize immediate gains in uptime, efficiency and quality and transform for the future.”

Accelerate Manufacturing Transformations

Lumada Manufacturing Insights applies data science rigor to drive continuous improvement opportunities based on predictive and prescriptive analytics. The solution integrates with existing applications and delivers actionable insights without the need for a rip-and-replace change of costly manufacturing equipment or applications. Lumada Manufacturing Insights supports a variety of deployment options and can run on-premises or in the cloud.

“With Hitachi Vantara, our customers benefit from our deep operational technology expertise and distinctive approach to co-creating with them to accelerate their digital journey,” said Bobby Soni, chief solutions and services officer at Hitachi Vantara. “With our proven methodologies and advanced tools, we can tailor solutions for our customers that enhance productivity, increase the speed of delivery, and ultimately deliver greater business outcomes.”

Providing machine, production and quality analytics, Lumada Manufacturing Insights drives transformational business outcomes by enabling customers to:

• Build on the intelligent manufacturing maturity model and empower the digital innovation foundation for continuous process improvement.

• Integrate data silos and stranded assets and augment data from video, lidar, and other advanced sensors to drive innovative new use cases for competitive advantage.

• Drive 4M (machine, man, material and methods) correlations for root-cause analysis at scale.

• Evaluate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and enhancement recommendations based on advanced AI and ML techniques.

• Evaluate scheduling efficiency and optimize for varying workloads, rates of production and workorder backlogs.

• Monitor and guide product quality with predictive and prescriptive insights.

• Improve precision of demand forecast and adherence to production plans and output.

Customer Comments

I hope to get more depth while I’m at the Next 2019 user conference Oct. 9-10. Here are some supplied quotes.

“Significant short-lead products have to be designed, prototyped and delivered to meet the demands of our customers and partners as we accelerate the product supply for 5G. Ericsson and Hitachi Vantara have collaborated to test Lumada Manufacturing Insights to gear up for an anticipated increase in new product introductions, establishing a digital innovation foundation for sustained gains,” said Shannon Lucas, head of customer unit emerging business for Ericsson North America. “We are leveraging the same solution that we will take to our joint customers in partnership with Hitachi Vantara, and will further expand IIoT use cases based on our 5G technologies.”

“As a progressive manufacturer, our focus was to accelerate transformative change, eliminate data silos and build a foundation for digital innovation that would accelerate our journey toward Manufacturing 4.0. “We leveraged the IIoT workshop to align our use cases with our business transformation priorities and have a roadmap for success with Lumada Manufacturing Insights,” said Vijay Kamineni, business transformation leader at Logan Aluminum. “The collaboration with Hitachi Vantara enables us to define business goals for each stage of our transformation, with clear outcomes that we believe will accelerate gains in productivity, quality, safety and sustainable manufacturing. “Hitachi Vantara brings a unique IT/OT advantage that will help us in the long run.”

“Humans and machines working together to deliver the vision of ‘digital drilling’ is driven by our ambition to achieve transformative outcomes, drilling our best wells every time and consistently achieving Target Zero for accidents. With Hitachi Vantara, we are realizing time to value with industrial analytics and the powerful Lumada platform to process more than 20,000 data streams per second per rig, providing actionable information to the right people at the right time and helping make optimal decisions. This drives our operational excellence and consequently our competitive advantage,” said Shuja Goraya, CTO at Precision Drilling Corporation. “We’re leveraging insights from video and lidar, integrating it with Lumada Manufacturing Insights to deliver business outcomes. It’s driving process optimization through effectively identifying improvement opportunities and shortening well delivery times for our customers. It’s all about effective use of data to make better decisions and then being able to consistently execute on these learnings. We are excited about our strategic partnership with Hitachi Vantara.”

Availability

Lumada Manufacturing Insights will be available worldwide Sept. 30, 2019.

Hitachi Joins IoT Platform Market

Hitachi Joins IoT Platform Market

Everybody wants into the IoT act. Hitachi announced that it is “accelerating [its] already sizable IoT business.” The company did $5B in IoT-related revenue in 2015 and has 33 solutions in market in areas including public safety and smart city, renewable and sustainable energy, intelligent transportation, precision agriculture and manufacturing, water treatment and building systems, and more. Hitachi will work with AT&T, Eurotech, Microsoft, PTC and SAP on joint solutions for customers.

It also announced “Lumada”—an enterprise-grade IoT platform. “Lumada offers an open architecture and comprehensive framework of key IoT solution building blocks, including edge device and connectivity integration, application integration, data repositories, stream and batch data processing, advanced analytics and tools, solution cores and enterprise services. This is as close as I could find to what the “platform” really is. I suspect a hardware device with embedded capabilities. I’ve asked Hitachi that if someone orders a Lumada what is delivered. If I get an answer that isn’t vague like the press release and the Website, I’ll update.

First, Hitachi announced the formation of Hitachi Insight Group. Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, the new group will drive Hitachi’s unified Internet of Things (IoT) business and go-to-market (GTM) strategy worldwide.

“The newly formed Hitachi Insight Group will be the ‘tip of the spear’ in Hitachi’s quest to capture market share in what IDC projects to be a $1.46 trillion market opportunity by 2020.”

“The greatest opportunity for IoT lies in the enterprise, industrial and public sector markets, which stand to benefit significantly from digital transformation. Although the market is still nascent, digitalization is already disrupting traditional product-based business models, driving demand for solutions and an everything-as-a-service approach,” said Vernon Turner, senior vice president, enterprise systems and IoT research fellow at IDC.

Not at a loss for self-confidence, the release states, “With today’s announcements, Hitachi is making good progress toward positioning itself to be one of the few likely IoT powerhouses as the market shakes out.”

The global team consists of more than 16,000 employees including some from Hitachi Consulting and Hitachi Data Systems.

Core IoT Platform

Lumada is the name of the new core platform. “It” has an open, adaptable software architecture—integrating proven commercial technologies from across Hitachi’s portfolio. Lumada is a comprehensive, enterprise-grade IoT core platform with an open and adaptable architecture that simplifies IoT solution creation and customization. It incorporates  expertise in operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), blending powerful and proven data orchestration, streaming analytics, content intelligence, simulation models, and other Hitachi software technologies.

The platform will serve as the core foundation on which all of Hitachi’s IoT solutions are built and will enable the creation of IoT business ecosystems.

ABB and Hitachi To Form Strategic Power Grid Partnership

ABB and Hitachi To Form Strategic Power Grid Partnership

For the past several years, ABB has made sure that I remember my early electrical engineering teaching—the relative merits of direct current / alternating current, for example. It has been a leading proponent of advanced high voltage DC (HVDC) power systems considering it the superior transmission technology.

In this vein, ABB and Hitachi announced Dec. 16 an agreement to form a joint venture for HVDC system solutions in Japan. The new entity, to be based in Tokyo, will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply and after-sales services related to the DC system of HVDC projects bringing ABB’s latest technologies to the Japanese market where Hitachi will be the prime contractor.

Hitachi and ABB will take equity interests of 51 percent and 49 percent respectively. This is the first step of a strategic partnership between the two companies to contribute to the evolution of Japan’s power network. Hitachi and ABB will explore further strengthening of the relationship and address opportunities to widen the scope for future collaboration.

The joint venture is expected to commence operations in the coming months, subject to the necessary approvals and statutory procedures.

Quotes

“Since the first development in the 1970s, Hitachi has participated in every HVDC project in Japan and has continued to underpin the stabilization of the electricity grid. I am confident that the establishment of a new company combining the strengths of Hitachi and ABB will provide a framework for the timely provision of the new technologies required by the Japanese HVDC market. By enhancing and expanding the HVDC business through its partnership with ABB, which has a strong performance record in the global market, Hitachi will continue to contribute to the stabilization of Japan’s electric power grid.” said Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman & CEO of Hitachi, Ltd.

“ABB pioneered HVDC 60 years ago and has continually pushed the boundaries of this technology,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “Our presence across half the world’s installed base and our capability to develop and manufacture all major components of the HVDC value chain in-house have put us in a leading position in the industry. We are proud to enter into this partnership with Hitachi, with a solid reputation and extensive, 100 year experience in the Japanese market. Together we can build on our complementary strengths to play our part in the evolution of Japan’s power infrastructure.”

Technology

HVDC is a technology used for transmitting electricity between two grid systems. The supply side power is converted from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) before being transmitted, and is then converted back to AC in the receiving system for use. The system is ideal for long-distance transmission due to the technology’s ability to minimize electricity losses, and to its lower space requirements and construction costs. It is also well suited for interconnections between two different frequencies.

The global HVDC market has seen many projects using line commutated converter technology (LCC)*1 HVDC systems since the 1970s, while the development of voltage source converter (VSC)*2 systems has advanced as a new technology since around 2000. In recent years there has been a particular focus on using HVDC to connect renewable energy sources. This has seen an increase in VSC-HVDC transmission systems, which facilitate grid-stabilization. The technology is ideal for long-distance underground and underwater power links and interconnections, and is increasingly being deployed across a range of applications.

These include the integration of renewable energies from land-based and offshore wind farms, the mainland power supply to islands and offshore oil and gas platforms, city center in-feeds where space is a major constraint, and cross-border interconnections that often require subsea links. Its ability to comply with grid codes ensures robust network connections regardless of application.

In Japan, nine HVDC projects were carried out up to 2006, all of them using the LCC type. Now, with the increasing introduction of renewable energy and innovation in electric power systems, demand for VSC-HVDC systems is expected to increase for applications such as wide-area power transmission grids and connection of offshore wind farms.

Hitachi has participated in every HVDC project in Japan so far. In the Japanese market, which demands a high level of reliability, Hitachi has contributed through technology development and project management to the creation of HVDC systems that maintain high operation rates*3 ranking amongst the best in the world.

ABB pioneered HVDC technology, putting into operation the world’s first commercial link in Sweden in 1954, and was the first to introduce VSC technology (HVDC Light) in the 1990s. The company also holds many other world records in this technology. Over the years ABB has been awarded around 100 HVDC projects representing a total installed capacity of more than 120,000 MW, accounting for about half of the global installed base. ABB’s HVDC Light solution leads the way in VSC technology; the company has delivered 14 of the 15 VSC links that have been commissioned worldwide.

The new joint venture will combine Hitachi’s sales network, project management expertise, quality assurance processes and delivery performance record, with ABB’s state-of-the-art HVDC technologies, and contribute to innovation in electric power systems in Japan.

1.    LCC-HVDC*1: A HVDC system with AC/DC converter using power semiconductor devices that requires the passing current to be zero when off (a thyristor). This was the principal method used from the 1970s onward, and there are many examples in operation. The system configuration is simple, and the technology mature; however, its installation entails a large number of restrictions as regards the power grid, necessitating grid stabilization measures in some cases such as reactive power compensation.

2   VSC-HVDC*2: A HVDC system with AC/DC converter using power semiconductor devices that can be switched on and off at any time (IGBTs, etc.). There are fewer power grid restrictions for its installation, compared to LCC type, and it has considerable benefits for grid stabilization, for example with respect to supplying reactive power. Since it does not require any grid stabilization measures, it achieves a simpler overall configuration than LCC-HVDC systems.

3   Reported in “A Survey of the Reliability of HVDC Systems” by the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRÉ), and other sources.