Across businesses, industries, and entire states and regions, we have more raw data at our fingertips than ever before. Businesses have access to countless hours of video footage. We have sensors to track traffic and weather patterns. Collecting information has never been easier. Yet, there remain countless opportunities to transform it into insights that can help organizations in innumerable ways –– minimizing inefficiencies, streamlining communications, boosting safety measures, and optimizing vital resources, to save money and time. That’s the mission of Hitachi Smart Spaces. By helping customers turn large quantities of data into targeted, actionable insights –– combining IoT, big data, and analytics –– Hitachi Vantara is committed to helping create safer, more sustainable, and more efficient solutions designed in lockstep with the future.
And there’s no better time to do it than now. Not only are smart cameras and data sensors more ubiquitous than ever before, but global events and attitudinal changes have also made efficiency, sustainability, and user experience more important than ever. COVID-19 has cast health, equity, and public safety into the limelight. Concerns about climate change have elevated sustainability from an agenda item into a key business priority. Moreover, customers have come to expect more from tech and IT. Wasted time and resources once accepted as inevitable externalities are being reevaluated as businesses, policymakers, and political leaders strive to make effective and informed decisions designed to benefit their constituencies.
Using Data To Drive Policy Decisions
The state of Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India uses Hitachi Smart Spaces for a wide range of agricultural, infrastructural, and civic applications. In a populous state of 50 million people, the insights provided by the solution are essential to the analysts, researchers, and policymakers helping public servants make informed decisions. This includes social services, such as government-mandated welfare distribution programs that help rations reach the people who need them most. The solution is equally applicable to agriculture, where sensors track rainfall, soil moisture, and the water level of nearby reservoirs. And, since it is a coastal state prone to cyclones, Andhra Pradesh uses Hitachi’s weather sensors to allow citizens to get push notifications before disasters strike. In other words, one of Hitachi Smart Spaces’ key competitive advantages is its flexibility and ability to scale.
Solving Congestion Problems in Public Transportation
Transportation is another area where Hitachi Smart Spaces is making an impact. With issues like congestion, movements across multiple jurisdictions, and the elasticity of travel, the transportation industry faces mounting challenges as populations become evermore mobile. Now, however, computer vision algorithms allow businesses to analyze passenger flows, identify bottlenecks, and understand the composition of traffic, while predicting travel times and managing parking and crowds.
The Minnesota Light Rail, for example, has installed edge gateways on nearly 100 trains traveling through the Minneapolis–St. Paul region, allowing planners to measure the density of passengers. Similarly, Network Rail in Manchester, England, uses lidar to detect whether train platforms are overcrowded, making it possible for passengers to be redirected. Visioning tools can even be used to spot unidentified baggage and reunite it with passengers.
Enhancing Brick-and-Mortar Retail Experiences
As more brick-and-mortar stores reopen, retailers have greater incentives to create better experiences for their customers. Here, too, Hitachi Smart Spaces can make a lasting impact, in settings ranging from vast networks of popular chains to independent mom and pop stores. Its computer visioning tool can analyze movements and activities around the store, allowing retailers to optimize their spaces for maximum throughput and enhanced customer convenience. Use of lidar technology can even show retailers which products are being picked up, while “product aware” shelves outfitted with weight sensors let them know when stock is running low. By automating aspects of the shopping experience, retailers can offer customers a more responsive and seamless experience.
Privacy, Functionality, Scalability, and More
The ability to leverage IoT, big data, and analytics is essential for city leaders as they look forward to building smarter and more resilient cities. Yet in its emphasis on privacy, in its holistic approach, and in its ability to scale up and down, Hitachi Smart Spaces stands apart.
Privacy: The more we deploy data to drive decision-making, the clearer we need to be about our intentions for collecting it. That’s why Hitachi Vantara provides tools to manage and control access to highly sensitive data, which abide by the E.U.’s latest rigorous standards: The solution optimizes data safety while safeguarding user privacy. Technology can help with this. Lidar detects bodies and movements through pulsing light, reading exclusively spatial information. In other words, it captures 3D data, not video, leaving personal details alone. You can learn how many cars pass a given intersection without reading individual license plates, or, similarly, record a person’s body temperature without capturing any identifying details.
End to End: Many businesses offer analytics, yet they provide only one piece of the solution. Hitachi Smart Spaces prides itself on its holistic, end-to-end approach. From the IoT sensors and devices that collect data from sensors, cameras, and social media feeds to the compute and storage platforms that store it in the cloud, Hitachi Vantara supplies the tools for every step of its customers’ journeys. This extends to customized applications such as Hitachi Visualization Suite, in the Lumada Video Insights portfolio, that manage digital evidence and perform real-time and predictive analytics — providing the information that policymakers and public safety officials can decisively act on.
Scalability: As we’ve seen, Hitachi Smart Spaces can be rolled out to virtually any type of organization. By combining cloud architecture with an on-premises appliance for integration, the solution can scale up and down quickly as customer needs and contexts change. It’s equally suitable for a small retail store, an entire city or state, or a transit company that crosses state and federal lines.
Cutting Edge: At Hitachi Vantara, we know that quality digital infrastructure and solutions only make an impact when they are supported by best-in-class technology. That’s why our partnerships with Intel and Microsoft Azure are so important. Our edge gateways and servers leverage several types of Intel chips, ensuring high performance and high-end data storage. Hitachi Visualization Suite is also hosted on Microsoft Azure, which is known for its fast integration speed, analytics capabilities, and low latency. By combining advanced processors and cutting-edge cloud technology, Intel and Microsoft are enabling a new generation of secure, intelligent, turnkey solutions from the edge to the cloud. Given that Intel and Azure technologies are already embedded in dozens of international sectors and have outstanding reputations across governmental organizations, Hitachi Vantara can guarantee its global customers the very highest levels of security.
Smart city technology is still evolving and expanding into more spaces. Policymakers are still learning how to understand and optimize their data in order to create safer, cost-effective, and more efficient services for urban residents everywhere. Hitachi Vantara, in alliance with Intel and Microsoft, has the tools, expertise, and commitment to deliver more productive and personalized experiences, whether it’s in the private or public sector, and whether the solution is harnessed to facility management, public safety, improving retail operations, or helping commuters get to work. For further information on this partnership as well as how Microsoft and Intel are enabling other innovative solutions, visit http://www.theintelligentedge.com/.
If you’d like to learn more about what Hitachi Smart Spaces can do for your organization, download the paper here, or visit the following sites:
- Smart Spaces and Video Intelligence (microsoft.com)
- Hitachi Smart Spaces — Intel Solutions Marketplace
Michael Donahue is Practice Leader, Smart Spaces & Lumada Video Insights at Hitachi Vantara.