In the last nine months since I joined Hitachi Consulting after 15 years with Microsoft, I have had the opportunity to see and learn about some of the amazing customers, people and solutions we have within Hitachi Consulting. What’s fascinating within Hitachi Consulting is how we can bring together the power of the Hitachi Group companies with our strategic partners like Microsoft to create solutions that fundamentally change the business and operations of our customers.

Hitachi has been building and manufacturing products now for more than 108 years while also being a leader in the information technology space for the last 57 years. We are bringing all these capabilities to our customers. For example, the metal manufacturing organization operates numerous cranes and other equipment to support their operations. One challenge in operating these types of machines is the regular safety checks that must be performed. These checks often require manual inspection of cable and equipment. A failure in this equipment could cause significant impacts to the manufacturing operations and could result in injury or even the loss of life.

Our Hitachi Consulting team brought the knowledge and capabilities of our broader Hitachi manufacturing experience into the customer environment. Hitachi High Technologies retrofitted the crane with new sensors and created an IoT solution that uses Big Data analytics, machine learning and video intelligence to monitor the cable, equipment health and appropriate manual operation. The solution provides equipment health KPIs, instant alerts on anomalies and analytical tools to support continuous improvement, which drive improved safety, operations and reliability. Being able to bring forward the combined value of the Hitachi ecosystem for our customers is one of the greatest differences our customers find with us. It's true differentiation and one of the most exciting areas we are building upon strategically.

We combined this solution with Microsoft’s IoT capabilities in the Azure platform allowing our team to deliver the solution. Azure was a natural choice for the project team due to the availability of cloud services in the customer’s country, having one of the most complete IoT platforms, and the speed in which not only services could be provisioned, but the speed in which value could be realized by our customer.

My colleagues and I will continue to share how we are working together with our strategic partners to bring results for our customers. I invite you to read a blog by Sean Bryson, our Vice President of Microsoft Technology, where he talks more about our Optimized Factory solution and how Microsoft’s IoT platform can power these transformative projects.