How Hitachi's Innovations are Powering Good in the COVID-19 Era
COVID-19 has been among the biggest disruptors in recent history and Southeast Asia is one of the regions most affected by the pandemic.
This has raised concerns not just about how the region can curb the coronavirus’ spread, but also about how countries can restimulate socio-economic activity to once again reach the stellar growth levels the region saw before the pandemic.
As many ASEAN countries have slowed down to cope with the pandemic, Hitachi’s innovations are answering the call to help businesses and communities in Southeast Asia adapt to the current situation and pave the way for a more sustainable future in the new normal.
Addressing the Immediate Fall-Out from COVID-19
Hitachi has been leveraging its extensive ICT experience and competencies to help organisations and people align with best practices in combating the crisis, namely by using smart home quarantine management solutions.
This includes a Central Monitoring Application that allows safe distance parameters to be defined and alarm signals to be activated in real-time when rules are being breached. Linking that with wearable internet of things (IoT) devices that are tamper-resistant, organisations can better enforce compliance with quarantine regulations.
Hitachi is also applying the Central Monitoring Application for close-proximity solutions in buildings that experience high daily human traffic. Here, the application can be programmed to identify users and retrieve their information. From there, historical data can be analysed to generate premise usage reports and better facilitate contact tracing efforts.
Hitachi is also supporting public efforts to flatten the curve by ramping up vaccination drives.
In Vietnam, our organisation has made key contributions to Vietnam’s national COVID-19 Vaccine Fund, aimed at helping purchase and import vaccines, as well as producing domestic vaccines, in addition to the COVID-19 prevention and control fund.
Hitachi is also strictly aligning with best workplace practices mandated by Vietnam’s government, such as following the Health Ministry’s 5K guidelines, working online, complying to distancing regulations and conducting health screenings.
Another crucial thrust in our efforts to address the crisis is giving much-needed support to frontline workers.
This includes adapting assembly lines to meet the high demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) facemask production, which we are doing with other global organisations and in regions such as Europe.
Keeping Operations Going in Times of Crises
Hitachi’s innovations are also being leveraged to restimulate economies during the pandemic via business continuity efforts.
This includes our work with the Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM) to introduce and deploy Industry 4.0, cloud-based digital solutions to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to help them digitally adapt their operations.
This collaboration is focusing on bridging the technological gaps faced by Malaysian SMEs, namely via technologies such as a computerised maintenance system and an inventory analysis solution.
To help organisations in myriad sectors continue their operations while limiting infection risks, Hitachi has doubled down on the use of biometric authentication solutions.
This includes the fully contactless Finger Vein Biometric Authentication Unit which, when combined with the Hitachi Biometric SDK for Windows Front Camera, helps enable easy and safe personal authentication, be it for cashless payments at retail businesses or entry/exit management at offices.
The pandemic has also increased the need for scientific medical research to new heights.
This area is now being challenged not only by physical limitations stemming from the ongoing crisis, but also by the need for large amounts of data to be transferred quickly and securely in today’s more digital-first world.
Here, Hitachi Vantara’s technology has supported efforts by technology companies and healthcare associations to use cloud-based Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) solutions, allowing them to focus on actual research and analytical work rather than mechanical or logistical work.
Powering a More Productive and Sustainable Future
Hitachi is also helping to create better societies in the post-pandemic era.
For instance, we have been working to equip Southeast Asian companies with technologies that can help facilitate smarter factory operations, namely via IoT capabilities and big data analytics.
We have done this in Thailand by integrating Lumada Manufacturing insights with an IoT data server to allow for “4M” data (huMan, Machine, Material, Method; data relating to production operations and elements related to them) in manufacturing to be collected, analysed and visualised digitally.
This helps to produce integrated data sets that not only help factories improve their processes to reduce operational inefficiencies, but also optimise production resources and output to lower emissions and, by extension, reduce pollution.
Hitachi is also co-creating a brighter future for cities through our involvement in projects such as the SLEB Smart Hub, which aims to share data and solutions that can help to assess and improve energy-efficiency in buildings.
With the SLEB Smart Hub, buildings owners can more easily discover and implement energy-efficient building technologies, all while receiving data-driven insights and information to guide them in this process.
Furthermore, with the pandemic-induced boom in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce and delivery services, as well as the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, human traffic in buildings is no longer as consistent as it used to be.
This makes solutions like Hitachi’s Intelligent Building Management System particularly useful in optimising energy-efficiency.
By ensuring energy use is matched to the actual human traffic within a building (along with a multitude of factors such as weather conditions) energy usage is lowered where possible while still retaining the optimal level of comfort for building occupants.
We are also helping to facilitate the physical-to-digital evolution of financial services.
COVID-19 has catalysed the rise in digital payments, due to the risks involved with travelling around to obtain or transact with physical cash.
As such, Hitachi has been working with various stakeholders in Vietnam to allow more organisations and people to benefit from cashless payment services for e-commerce activities, in addition to facilitating cash transfers via mobile phones.
Gearing Up for the Long Haul in Innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic is ushering unprecedented change worldwide, but it can be especially felt in regions such as Southeast Asia, where businesses and communities have largely enjoyed a renaissance in their growth before the crisis.
As the region’s stakeholders, whether from the public or private sector, reimagining societies in the post-pandemic era requires more innovation to ensure that they can be made more resilient to not only withstand future disruptions, but also find opportunities in them.
On this front, Hitachi remains committed to powering a more liveable and sustainable future.
Date of Release: October 2021