Point of View Big data. Big opportunity.



Point of View Big data. Big opportunity.
We make it happen. Better.
Point of View
Big data. Big opportunity.
October 2013
What is
big data?
“It’s a problem
of volume. We
have too much
“We can’t handle
and structured
data in the same
is in siloes,
trapped in an
inflexible system.”
“It’s about
creating larger,
faster data
“How do we
realise the value
of the information
we have?”
Big data isn’t just about more data.
It’s about doing more, quickly, with complex information.
It’s about the opportunity that greater insight brings.
For many organisations, big data is a
big headache. It’s a problem that requires
investment in new IT. It’s a battle just to
maintain the status quo and ensure the
business doesn’t drown under a mass
of new information. It’s just something
else to deal with. A drain on time,
money and resource.
At Hitachi we see things differently. Of course,
big data does pose problems. Without the
right systems and infrastructure it can
become a bottleneck, preventing you from
extracting valuable information that will help
direct key business decisions — or at worst
even stifling day-to-day processes —
reducing efficiency and driving up costs.
But it’s also about opportunity. It’s about
embracing the volume, speed and nature of
the data that’s flowing into your business and
using it to unlock greater insight. To realise
more value. This is something we’ve
understood for many years. We see taking
control, and realising the potential, of big
data is essential to creating a better business
world, and for creating a better quality of life
for everyone. It’s part of our commitment to
social innovation.
Our technological and industrial heritage
meant that we created our own big data
challenge before the term was even in use.
We had to find a solution. Then we realised
how powerful big data could be. An enabler
for change. Innovation. Creativity. Growth. It’s
been quite a journey. And now we’re bringing
this knowledge and experience to you. We
can turn a big problem into a bigger
See the wood
instead of
the trees.
When we think
of data, most of
us focus on the
apparent and
visible forms.
Databases, Excel spread sheets, Word
documents and other relatively structured
information. To that we might add the more
unstructured formats that represent one of
the largest and most rapid areas of growth
in recent years: email; social media; rich
content such as video, audio and imagery.
These are the sources that are starting to
overwhelm our ability to process them. The
flow of information into, out of and around
our organisations is becoming so large, so
rapid, that it’s almost impossible to extract
any meaningful insight.
However, there is a further level that is at
least as important as the explosion of
collaborative information that has occurred
with the emergence of the internet. That is
the automated capture and exchange of
information between many of the systems
that form a routine part of our lives. This
includes traffic control, satellite imaging,
GPS, machine-to-machine logs and a
multitude of validation, identification and
location-based facts. Data that is essential
to the secure and effective operation of
many of the services we use on a daily basis.
It isn’t just about handling it more quickly
and more effectively. It’s about creating a
new paradigm in information
management that enables us to turn
complexity into clarity, supporting
technological and social innovation to
improve people’s lives and experiences.
And to do this we need to rethink the
nature and shape of our infrastructure, not
just to cope with this change, but to
accelerate it. Big data should be embraced
as a vital and powerful enabler to greater
productivity, reliability and intelligence.
The growth of automated systems and
machine-to-machine communication has
moved data generation beyond the human
interface to create richer, more valuable
information sources. However, unlocking
that potential requires a different approach.
A way of separating the data from the
applications that create it to establish a
unified source of information that can be
analysed, interrogated and mined
according to the needs of the business.
The more you embrace big data, the more
you can do with it, the more you get out of
it and the more cost-effectively you can
handle it. We’ve learned how to treat data
in the right way – moving it rapidly through
the value chain, from expensive immediate
storage for current and critical data,
through to less expensive and easy
accessible archives as the immediate
relevance of data diminishes.
Same data,
greater insight.
When we started to build solutions we frequently
discovered that it was possible to deliver much
more than the original scope of the project. Our
experience of handling issues such as monitoring
every component within our own industrial
machinery gave us new ways to store and process
information, revealing far greater levels of insight
than was previously attainable. This enabled us to
introduce predictive maintenance, reducing the
cost of maintaining and managing the equipment
and increasing its longevity. In this way we can help
you release the value that your data contains.
This approach of using multiple data sources across
different systems and analysing the results means
that we are able to act more rapidly and effectively
in many instances. For example, as the designers
and manufacturers of Japan’s bullet train we used
live data gathered from across the country to detect
the recent earthquake before it became a threat,
shutting down the train service in a controlled
manner and allowing all passengers to be safely
the challenge.
The example of the police information system on
these pages shows just one issue relating to big
data and how resolving it can provide
opportunities beyond simply overcoming the initial
problem. Of course every business is faced with
different challenges and each one requires careful
analysis and planning to ensure that the solution
maximises the value within the data that will be
captured, stored, processed and re-purposed. It’s
also essential to achieve this in the most costeffective way according to the needs of the users.
For example, in many cases the value of data varies
with time, perhaps being of immediate use such as
with real-time sales reports across a number of
retail outlets. The same statistics then become less
valuable until they form part of a larger set for
analysis. Hence, as the need for access to this data
changes, it can be moved through the value chain
from expensive, immediate storage to cheaper, less
costly archives that can be processed as a
background task.
Our approach is to do this by disaggregating the
application from content, making it easier for any
system to access whilst also avoiding vendor lock-in
and creating a long term strategy that puts data at
the heart of the business. This provides a platform
that drives agility, efficiency and innovation across
the organization.
Improving safety,
increasing efficiency.
We were asked to help a police force in the USA restructure the video information
captured by mobile units during routine operations. The primary objective was to
simplify the storage of more than 12 petabytes (12 million gigabytes) of data that
was held in siloed systems, making sharing and analysis virtually impossible. Each
video file also contained embedded metadata regarding the details of the
recording such as the patrol route, incident facts and officer identification.
As part of the solution we moved the individual databases held by each police
barracks to a single, centrally-stored location and made it accessible and
searchable by other agencies. By using the embedded metadata we were also able
to re-purpose the recordings, providing new insight. This ability to interrogate and
interpret the data at a more detailed level meant that it became possible to use the
captured information to identify trends and recognize patterns. This knowledge
could then be used to determine future policies and actions that would reduce
inefficiency and prevent abuse as well as drive safety improvements. By reengineering the approach to handling data the project delivered far more than
was originally expected.
Intelligent networks,
better management.
The island of Maui is devoid of natural energy resources and, with the rising cost of
oil and gas, this has become a major issue threatening the economic prosperity of
the island. However the region does benefit from plentiful sources of alternative
energy such as wind power. We worked with the authorities to construct a series of
wind farms backed by a smart energy grid, electric “refueling stations” that store
the electricity generated in electric cars using Hitachi batteries and electric motors.
In this way Hitachi is showing islanders how this resource could be effectively
The advantage of our system was the manner in which we ensured that each
element was interconnected. For example, the location of charging stations was
logged into a central database and, with in-car monitoring, it was possible to
identify when a vehicle would need recharging and direct it to the nearest station.
Then, using this data, patterns of transportation and charging needs across the
island could be interpreted and used to model power distribution management.
Ultimately this could show the optimum location for additional charging stations
and enable Maui to develop the most effective network for the use of a valuable
commodity that would reduce its dependence on imported energy.
Supporting healthcare,
improving lives.
People are the most valuable asset of every organisation, so when they are absent
for long periods it’s important to help them return to work in a way that is both
effective for the employer and of course serves to protect the wellbeing of the
We developed a monitoring wristband that could be worn by patients after a
lengthy or chronic illness. The band captures data based on sleep patterns and
other activity and compares it to their ‘norm’ or healthy model. This allows medical
professional to spot early warning signs of any possible relapse and act quickly to
check the patient and provide any necessary treatment. The result is a more
pro-active approach to healthcare, reduced impact on employers and potentially
lower total healthcare costs.
Big data
forms part of
our heritage.
Our industrial and
meant that we
were one of the
first to see the
problems that
massive amounts
of structured and
unstructured data
would create.
Helping our customer’s
demystify big data
And we were amongst the first to turn
that to advantage. The experience we
gained enables us to identify the changes
that need to be made to deliver the
benefits our clients expect, then call on
the resources of a global organization to
deliver the systems needed to fulfill, or
exceed, those objectives.
Building machines that communicate
– linking sometimes disparate data
sources and using the collective
knowledge they contain – is something
we’ve been doing for decades.
Effective use of Big Data can drive real
business change particularly when it is
combined with best of breed visualization
tools. For example when a large retail client
is faced with the challenge of performing
sophisticated analysis on its supply chain to
drive out risk, the measurement of
numerous different data points from a
multitude of different systems is a complex
task for which the correct choice of
infrastructure, tools and technologies is
paramount. Imagine a world where supply
chain issues such as the horsemeat scandal
can be predicted by the use of clever data
analysis. At Hitachi not only do we believe
that this is possible we are helping our
clients to solve problems like these on a
daily basis.
Delivering measurable,
sustainable results
The excitement in the market around big
data is unmistakable. At Hitachi we take a
mature and long-term approach to new
technology and IT trends.
We work with our customers to help them
understand what Big Data means for them
and how to use the correct tools,
technologies and infrastructure to deliver
real business benefit and solve real
problems. More importantly we work with
our customers to define their overall
Business Intelligence strategy and how Big
Data fits into their roadmap.
Our unique Hitachi group company
expertise puts us at the forefront of
technology-driven engineering and
cross-industry insight that gives us the
ability to drive the social innovation that
supports safer, greener and more
sustainable commercial solutions.
To begin the journey towards more effective and powerful
information handling we can provide a quick start initial assessment of
your challenges and the potential opportunity. We can then put
together a programme of design, implementation and transformation
supported by a long term strategy tailored for your business.
Contact us via the details below to discover how we can help you
realise the true value of the data within your organisation.
[email protected]
Tel: +44 207 947 4864, Mob: +44 7747536414
Our social innovation promise.
The breadth of our technological and industrial base means that we are applying the
principles and practices of the big data opportunity across areas including energy,
transportation, telecoms, health, manufacturing and the environment.
Through our programme of research and development we continue to invest to create
new, innovative solutions that together form part of a vision to encourage the positive
impact of commercial activity and improve the lives of millions across the globe. To us,
big data is part of a much bigger picture.
Nick Toozs - Hobson, Chief Technology Officer of
Hitachi Data Systems’ Global Markets Team in EMEA.
[email protected]
Shabaz Haque, Director in Global Hitachi
Convergence of Hitachi Consulting.
[email protected]
Global scale,
global delivery.
■■ More than 100 years of
product and service innovation,
engineering and quality
■■ £76.6 billion FY11 Revenue
■■ 939 Companies
■■ 323,540 Employees
■■ Invested £3.1 billion in R&D
■■ Strategic focus on
social innovation
Hitachi Consulting is the business consulting capability of Hitachi, Ltd., a
global technology leader and a catalyst of societal change. In that same
spirit-and building on its technology heritage-Hitachi Consulting is a
catalyst of positive business change, propelling companies ahead by
enabling superior operational performance. Working within their existing
processes and focusing on targeted functional challenges, we help our
clients respond to dynamic global change with insight and agility. Our
unique approach-‘strategic pragmatism’- produces consistent, measurable
business results and delivers an exceptional consulting experience.
UK Head Office
2 More London
Riverside, London, SE1 2AP
Tel +44 (0)20 7947 4500
Fax +44 (0)20 7947 4510