Vijay Soni | 03 Mar, 2017
With digitalisation just a click away on the smart phone, it’s not just the well-heeled urbanite but also the rural farmer and small-town teacher who is using technology for everyday tasks.
Big data is the other key area where digitalisation will have farreaching implications. Mr. Vivekanand Venugopal, Vice President & General Manager, India, Hitachi Data Systems, gives us a peek into the emerging dynamics. Excerpts from the interview:
How do you see digitalisation driving change?
There are no second thoughts about the digitalisation of life and business. It is becoming an imperative for businesses to avoid extinction in a constantly disruptive world. The key to such a transformation is the ability of organisations to harness diverse sets of data with a definitive inclusion of social media data in addition to other forms of business generated / operational data. Such data needs to be contextually co-related to derive insights almost on an instantaneous basis to take decisions in real time for making businesses agile and competitive.
There is a lot of interest in IoT. How is it relevant to your segment?
Internet of things (IoT) is a transformational force. It has an impact across sectors and is driven by a combination of low-cost technologies, pervasive connectivity and huge volumes of data. IoTs that matter can provide benefits that will resound across an organisation—from productivity to customer value to revenue generation through cost savings —and add value to society. By 2020, an estimated 50 billion of these physical objects will be consuming, generating and communicating data in effect turning the world into a giant Data-center.
How is your business synergised with the overall management vision and Social Innovation?
For the 105 years Hitachi has been in business, we have had an overriding vision and mission to take what we are really good at—technologies, services and solutions—and utilise them to make a real difference in the world. Over the past decade, that vision has manifested itself in a strategy we call ‘Social Innovation’. A strategy that is 100 percent focused on making the world smarter, safer, healthier and more efficient, while driving successful business outcomes. Social Innovation goes beyond Hitachi Data Systems, it’s the unifying strategy of the Hitachi Group.
Hitachi Social Innovation unites advanced data analytics and connected intelligence from the IoT clubbed with industry expertise to drive successful business and social outcomes and develop safer, smarter and healthier societies.
Talking about one of the solutions related to Smart City offerings, Hitachi’s eco-system of subsidiaries can today deliver a complete holistic Smart City with evolving set of IoT integrations.
Can your business be aligned with other Hitachi verticals to offer solutions under “Collaborative Creation’’?
Most of the world’s leading brands trust Hitachi Data Systems with their most essential business information. Our success is fuelled by Hitachi’s innovation engine. Hitachi holds more Bigdata and analytics patents than any other company.
Hitachi Data Systems has a wide range of products and solutions that support cloud, big data analytics, converged infrastructure, storage, servers and data protection, which ensures operational excellence. With our industry-leading infrastructure and content management tools for IT, we can deliver unparalleled business innovations that integrate Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) to distill value from Big data and the IoT.
Hitachi products and services help global organisations open new revenue streams, increase efficiencies, improve customer experience and ensure rapid time to market in the digital age.
A CASE IN POINT
In March 2015, Hitachi Consulting was chosen to build an innovative Big data platform for Denmark’s capital with the vision to help improve the quality of life in the Copenhagen area, to stimulate business activity, and to help achieve Copenhagen’s ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.
The platform, City Data Exchange, was the first instance of public and private data being integrated into a single solution. The City Data Exchange enables large established companies, small medium enterprises, start-up companies, as well as academia and public sector to come together and integrate multiple sources of information to meet the challenges of sustainability and quality of life. The purpose of the City Data Exchange is to collect data from public and private data owners and make it readily available for consumption by public and private entities that are working on solutions to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. This platform streamlines the analytic process by eliminating the need to rebuild the Big data plumbing for each analysis and eliminates Big data silos, which make it difficult to share information with other entities.
People and companies thereby can use the data to make Copenhagen “smarter” and allow its inhabitants to live and work more productively. The City Data Exchange arranges the datasets in categories such as city life, infrastructure, climate and environment, business and economy. The buyers and sellers of data include everyone who provide or rely on a civic service, from built environment professionals to independent app developers.
Mumbai, New Delhi or Kolkata, commuting is one of the biggest issues facing citizens today. Whether it is bus, train, underground rail or feeder service, the best way to make life easier for millions of people is to make the urban transport infrastructure more efficient.
The most important aspect of customer convenience is time-todestination. Most rail experts believe that bullet trains will help to a large extent in reducing commute time and their introduction, despite a high initial capex, is worth the investment. Besides safety, on-time performance and disruption-free running, the other aspects important for passengers are comfort, convenience and facilities. And all these parameters of rail service will be addressed with technology in the near future. Mr. Mangal Dev, Director and Head, Hitachi Rail Systems BU, India and South Asia Region, tells us how:
How can rail and metro networks be deployed to make local travel more comfortable and efficient?
Typically a Comprehensive Transport Plan (CTP) looking at the current and future needs of the city has to be developed incorporating the required modes of transportation—metros, trams/ monorails and buses—for efficient, safe and affordable travel. These modes must connect to each other and also to the interstate and national transport systems for seamless travel.
The ticketing system needs to be integrated. It must be common, cashless and convenient. In addition the entire information of the system must be made available online and in realtime for people to plan their travel with confidence.
Smart Cities and High Speed Trains are new initiatives of the Government. How do you see them changing the lives of people?
Today, urban and national rail transport needs huge development to cater to the needs of the commuters. For a nation of 1.25 billion people with 40 percent residing in urban areas, technology must be adopted to cater to their mobility needs. New benchmarks need to be set and new ways have to be devised to improve mobility.
There is a lot of interest in IoT and AI. How are these relevant to your segment?
All machines and people need to be connected for efficient management and real-time information. This is possible only through newer technologies, by making machines smarter with AI and connecting to people using IoT. Railway systems and transport systems are finding use of IoT and AI in managing assets and in providing side-rent type of services to commuters—making it much more efficient, comfortable and user friendly.
How is your business synergised with Hitachi’s emphasis on Social Innovation?
Hitachi Railway Systems Business Unit is focused on the needs of people. We are not only deploying the available technologies but also creating a Social Innovation think tank globally to develop solutions for future generations. One example is the newgeneration ticketing system managed centrally for all modes and stakeholders.
Can your business be aligned with other Hitachi verticals to offer solutions under “Collaborative Creation”?
Our business delivers best value when fully aligned with other Hitachi businesses especially ICT, financial systems, infrastructure etc. In India, we are currently working on several such initiatives.
A CASE IN POINT
Navi Mumbai (Mumbai’s Satellite City) is home to several IT service companies and large business establishments. Considering the growing population of the satellite city and the anticipated future demand for public transport, there was a need for developing metro rail corridors to establish better connectivity between all residential nodes within Navi Mumbai and also to improve connectivity with Mumbai.
As a first step, Government of Maharashtra designated City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) as the Implementing Agency to build the first phase of the Mass Transit System of Navi Mumbai (covering 110 Km along 5 corridors). The Ansaldo-STS (a Hitachi group company) led consortium was chosen as the turnkey contractor to build line 1 of Phase – 1 of the project covering 11Km (other partners being TATA projects and CRRC Corporation).
Ansaldo-STS (ASTS) is responsible for delivering the turnkey solution, including design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of all electro-mechanical systems and the integration of all other systems. The rolling stock has been planned keeping in mind the expected passenger capacity of 11,250 passengers / hour for a 4-car train (8 min. train frequency) and 27,000 passengers / hour for a 6-car train (5 min. train frequency) for the year 2021.
ASTS is also providing the signalling & telecommunications systems based on technologies that will provide instant mobile radio communication between the operator of the train and the Central Control, thus improving safety performance. Additionally, it will allow addressing of passengers from the local station as well as from the Operation Control Centre (OCC).
Other key systems that are a part of the contract include Passenger Information Display System and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) System—to provide real-time video surveillance and recording function with the operations and monitoring from each local station and from the OCC.
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