Hitachi President and CEO Kojima Declares: "We will Build a Digital Infrastructure that Supports People."

President and CEO Kojima speaking at HSIF 2022 (Photo: Makoto Kake)

Hitachi Social Innovation Forum (HSIF) 2022 JAPAN, an event organized by Hitachi, Ltd. in 2022, is the largest event of its kind within Hitachi Group, showcasing Hitachi's strategies and cutting-edge initiatives.

On the event, there was a keynote speech given by President and CEO Keiji Kojima. After introducing examples of Hitachi's response to an increasingly complex world and evolving technology, President Kojima made a powerful declaration: "Hitachi will build a new digital infrastructure that takes advantage of data and technology."

Tough times preceding a "new period of growth"

At the beginning of his speech, President Kojima touched on such issues as extreme weather, natural disasters, and pandemics affecting the world that have disrupted people’s social life and business activities. He also noted that the global economy is heading toward a recession with inflation worsening in many countries and central banks tightening monetary policy in an attempt to curb inflation.

President Kojima pointed out that, while these difficult conditions are expected to continue over the short term, "Once we get through this period, we will enter a new period of growth." He also speculated: "Green and digital initiatives are the top priority for companies, and these initiatives will accelerate. We foresee that a next-generation of digital technologies, such as Web 3.0, will emerge and create new demand."

Web 3.0: The next big thing

Web 3.0 is the third stage in the evolution of the internet, and 2022 is said to be its "genesis." President Kojima stated: "The so-called IoT environment, in which all kinds of devices are connected to the internet, will become more widespread, and data on activities in various fields will be visualized. The use of blockchain technology, which prevents information from being tampered with, will enable people to exchange information with confidence."

He also pointed out: "In the age of Web 3.0, individuals will be able to connect directly with people around the globe who share their interests and form a community in which they can see other people’s faces and trust them."

He expressed Hitachi’s intentions as follows: "Hitachi believes that the chain of activities in these communities will be the driving force behind the evolution of society in the future. We hope to take advantage of the power of data and technology to build a digital infrastructure that supports people's decision-making in order to expand the range of options for improving society and to enable people to choose their own actions and live life as they please."

Two projects Hitachi is tackling

Many projects are already in motion at Hitachi to realize such a future. President Kojima introduced the following two cases as examples.

Example 1: Smart Mobility Genoa

Users can easily ride public transport in Genoa using a smartphone.

In the Italian city of Genoa, a project has been launched to digitally connect its urban transportation network, including public transportation. The project has its origin in the city lockdown caused by the pandemic in the spring of 2020, in which people's movements were drastically curtailed, and bus and train services were suspended. Many residents began to use their own cars instead of public transportation, causing chaos and heavy congestion on the city's roads.

A sensor installed inside a subway station (the white device on the left)

Hitachi was asked by the Genoa city government to solve this problem and installed over 7,000 sensors in subway stations and buses. By linking these sensors to smartphones via Bluetooth, fares are automatically calculated, and passengers can now easily get on and off the city's transportation system with a smartphone.

"In the future, we will provide a digital infrastructure that enables users to choose environmentally friendly means of transportation by learning about the impact of their travel on the global environment and local communities," said President Kojima.

Example 2: Sustainable finance platform

Framework of the sustainable finance platform

Another example is the sustainable finance platform developed by Hitachi to accelerate investment in the environment.

This initiative started in 2015, and it was an idea conceived by a Colombian researcher working for Hitachi Europe Ltd. At the time, reports on "green bonds," a financing instrument for environmental investment, were created based on theoretical values calculated at a desk, rather than on actual measurements of CO2 emission reductions. Thus, investors had difficulty trusting the reports, which hindered the spread of green bonds.

Researchers therefore installed IoT devices equipped with sensors and communication functions at power generation facilities and also utilized blockchain technology, which prevents information in data records from being altered, and developed a sustainable finance platform that accurately measures CO2 emission reductions, enabling the reporting and analysis of the results.

In June 2022, this platform was adopted as one of the mechanisms for the "Digitally Tracked Green Bond" issued by the Japan Exchange Group (JPX) for environmental investments.

President Kojima stated: "Currently, green bond issuance and investment is limited to large corporations and major investors, but if use of this sustainable finance platform spreads, it will make it easier for small business to raise funds for environmental investments, and it will also make it easier for individual investors to support businesses that are involved in environmental management."

Harmony, Sincerity, and a Pioneering Spirit

(Photo: Makoto Kake)

At the end of his speech, President Kojima mentioned Namihei Odaira, who founded Hitachi in 1910, and asserted that he would carry on the founding spirit of "harmony, sincerity, and a pioneering spirit" and work to solve social problems in this new era.

By building a new digital infrastructure that exploits data and technology, "We will strive to create a world of 'Powering Good' in which people can live their lives on their own terms and voluntarily contribute to solving various social problems," he said.

He then concluded his speech by addressing the audience with the following words.

"Hitachi has many forward-looking concepts, technologies to solve problems and highly motivated employees. We want to work together with our customers to contribute to the creation of a better society. Let's work together to create a new future."

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