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Hitachi remixes, launches IoT Insight Group

Hitachi Ltd. is a bigger IoT player than one may think. And now the company is positioning itself to make a much bigger blip on the Industrial IoT radar.

The Tokyo-based conglomerate announced the creation of Hitachi Insight Group, a unit focused on Internet of Things initiatives, alongside the unveiling of its Lumada IoT core platform in an attempt to further establish its place in the IoT market.

Hitachi CTO Sarah Gardner said Hitachi Insight Group is “pulling together all the threads of IoT expertise” across the organization to create a unified core of IoT resources. The 7,000 HIG employees will combine their knowledge with Hitachi’s experience in industrial and IT fields to target four market segments: smart city, smart energy, smart healthcare and smart industry.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., HIG will be led by Keiji Kojima, who also serves as senior vice president and executive officer at Hitachi Ltd.

Hitachi generated $5.4 billion in IoT solutions and services in 2015, and currently has 33 IoT solutions available. HIG is expected to be the “tip of the spear” in the company’s quest to capture market share in the lucrative IoT market.

Hitachi Insight Group also discussed its IoT alliance ecosystem, which includes partnerships with key industry players such as SAP, Microsoft, Intel, PTC, Eurotech and AT&T, with whom it will work with to jointly develop new IoT solutions on Hitachi’s new platform.

Capturing the IoT market with the Lumada platform

Hitachi also released details about Lumada, its IoT core platform, which offers the promise of bringing OT and IT together, as evidenced in its name, which Gardner said is a combination of the words luminate and data.

Call it what you will, a major piece under the hood is technology from Pentaho, which Hitachi acquired in 2015. The platform includes other “proven, solid technology” from Hitachi which Gardner says has been seasoned and road-tested to provide an open, adaptable and verified path to IoT deployment.

Whatever’s in the Lumada mix, the concoction won’t yield a commercially available product yet. At present, will help the company develop and deploy IoT solutions. The company is creating “horizontal blueprints” and “solution cores” which will solve problems and can be distilled into a reusable platform that is then applied to adjacent use cases.

To date, these blueprints target public safety, City Data Exchange for smart cities, renewable and sustainable energy, intelligent transportation, precision agriculture and manufacturing, water treatment and building systems and sustainable mining. Critics may rightly argue that there’s nothing new here — everything except the name “Lumada” was already somewhere in the Hitachi toolkit — but Gartner says it is help Hitachi and its Insight Group focus and refine its IoT efforts: “It’s all about accelerating the speed at which they can develop the right solutions to meet customer needs,” Gardner said.