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Social Innovation

Understanding Smart Cities and Lumada in ASEAN

What is a smart city and how does Hitachi play a role in its development? We speak to Andrew Mui, Hitachi’s Chief Commercial Officer for Social Innovation Business in the Asia Pacific region, to hear his personal take on the matter.

In this interview, Andrew shares his opinions on the importance of Hitachi being a Corporate Social Value company and how it contributes to improving the lives of people in the countries Hitachi operate in. He further analyses smart cities and explains its role in answering the problems posed by mega-trends affecting all cities in Southeast Asia. Andrew then breaks down Lumada, Hitachi’s digital solutions platform and explains how it can help to improve lives in ASEAN.

Video Transcript

Interviewer Please tell us what you do at Hitachi.
Andrew Mui My responsibility, it will be to synergize and strategize the deployment of Hitachi’s very diverse technologies and capabilities to achieve two goals, either to solve a problem or to make improvement to the current status quo. Now for most of the projects, if not all of them, is this: to address some of the pressing issues in society. Basically, Hitachi is a Corporate Social Value company. What it means by that is that we strive to be a profitable business through serving society.
Interviewer So you mentioned diverse technologies, could you describe what these technologies are? And how do you find that synergy between them?
Andrew Mui I know that the general public recognizes more for our home appliances, but we do a lot more than that. Examples like we build high speed rails, we build nuclear plants, we build very sophisticated healthcare systems such as proton beam. It's a lot more than just home appliances. Hitachi has very unique set of technologies in these segments, but we had to take it one step further. That will be the synergized consolidation of these diverse technologies. Examples of such consolidated applications will be in areas of smart cities, smart healthcare, smart transportation and smart energy, just to name a few.
Interviewer I never knew Hitachi had such diverse technologies but what really caught my ear was the application of smart cities. Maybe you could give us a definition of what a smart city is and exactly what Hitachi is doing for the development of smart cities.
Andrew Mui A smart city is determined first by the vision of the policymakers. Now, this vision is heavily influenced by the needs of the citizens or the aspiration of society of what a smart city is like in the near future. To give an example, a smart city can be determined by the need to address certain oncoming or existing mega-trends. Mega-trends like population trend, environmental trend, economic, mobility, energy trends and so on.
Interviewer So exactly what kind of trends are we looking at, that's driving the decisions of how to create the smart cities?
Andrew Mui Let me deep dive into one of these mega-trends. Let's pick the more pressing one: population trend. What is really interesting is to note that for the next 40 years, the population growth is projected to occur in developing countries and particularly in their cities. Now you have to really plan ahead of this, because if you do not cater for this population growth, with a highly crowded population comes all sorts of social issues. The big question then, is current cities such as those in ASEAN, like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok: can they cope with this rapid growth in population?

Besides general population growth, there is a more pressing issue relating to population trend and that is the ageing population. By 2050, it is projected that the Silver Generation, hereby referring to people 65 years and older, is going to outnumber the 14 years-old and below and this is the first time in human history. Now what it implies, is that there will not be enough young people, in terms of ratio, to look after the Silver Generation.

And then you have to consider the impacts on quality of life, on government services, taxes. Basically, somebody has got to pay for it. So, if we look into this two population trends, population growth and ageing population, if we do not do something about it, if we do not consider using smart city as one of the solutions, then we are heading towards some very serious social crisis.
Interviewer What about Lumada? I hear Lumada is playing a very big role in how Hitachi is actually developing smart cities.
Andrew Mui Lumada is Hitachi’s branding for the digital ecosystem solutions that we co-create with our partners and clients to achieve different objectives. It supports the convergence of both physical and digital infrastructure to achieve certain outcomes. Let me explain further through some of the world's initiatives and goals. For example, Lumada Smart Manufacturing will cater to Europe's Industry 4.0, China's Made in 2025 and North America's industrial internet goals. Now for Japan Society 5.0 and ASEAN’s smart cities initiative, we have Lumada’s smart transportation, smart healthcare and smart urban integration. So, Lumada is the strategic utilization of our diverse technologies, our capabilities and our experience to create such digital ecosystems.

Lumada is not about one particular product or a particular technology in Hitachi. It is the synergized combination of our technologies, our experience and our capabilities. And for that, we strongly believe that Lumada will play a key role in improving the lives for the people in ASEAN.