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Social Innovation in Las Vegas
Wed, 18 Apr 2018

This week I had the opportunity to hear Michael Sherwood, Director of Technology and Innovation for the city of Las Vegas talk about the IoT innovations that he helped implement there. For Michael, IoT is less about the technology and more about the outcome in terms of making the city safer, smarter, healthier and saving money for the city through greater efficiencies. The bottom line drives the story and like Hitachi, he works to a double bottom line. One is the business bottom line and the other is the bottom line for society. This fits perfectly with Hitachi’s vision for social innovation.


Some of projects that he has been able to implement are a self-driving shuttle, smart Intersections, smart trash collection, and a smart edge network.



The self-driving shuttle project is called “Hop On”. The autonomous vehicle, which launched last November, is limited to eight passengers as it travels along a 3/5-mile loop in downtown Las Vegas. Locals and tourists may ride for free. If you have been to Las Vegas you’ve experienced the long walks between the hotels, where it doesn’t justify the cost of a taxi or Uber. However, walking between hotels can be exhausting. The city blocks are long, and the proportions of hotels are so gigantic that the perception of distances are distorted. The first glitch with Hop On occurred within hours of its launch. A semi truck backed into the shuttle before it could go into reverse to avoid the collision. Fortunately no one was hurt. The first lesson learned was to put a horn on the shuttle to warn other drivers.


Sensors and cameras at intersection can monitor the flow of traffic and optimize traffic signals to minimize the wait time for vehicles and pedestrians, cutting down on carbon emissions from idling cars. Cameras can monitor public places not only for safety, but also for trash collection. Now instead of scheduling trash on a time table, whether it was required or not, the trash can be collected on demand, freeing up workers to do other tasks like graffiti removal.


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Las Vegas owns the majority of its streetlights and the city is upgrading these fixtures to create an intelligent platform not only for lighting but also as a security and communications network. Each upgrade includes multi colored led lights, a module for a security camera system and options for fibre, WiFi, and cellular connectivity. Other modules that maybe included are gunshot detection and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) that uses pulsed lasers to measure distances. When multiple streetlights are connected together, they can create a mesh network to enable automated actions like light driven alerts that are managed locally rather than requiring a connection back to a cloud.


When asked what Hitachi platforms are involved in these projects, he mentioned Hitachi’s Visualization Suite and Pentaho. Hitachi’s HVP camera solutions empower edge recording and compute, which is a key component to addressing network efficiency and policy for video storage/access. Michael emphasized the need for analytics which he believes will be the next big thing over the coming 5 years.


Michael was also asked if it is hard to attract talent to Las Vegas to work on these projects. Michael said that he did not have a problem in attracting the right people. The talent is drawn to these projects in Las Vegas, not for the money but for the vision and a chance to be part of something that is truly innovative.

Modernize Your Data Center with An Award-Winning Object Storage Solution
Thu, 12 Apr 2018

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Digital transformation revolves around our ability to modernize our data center because that is where our data resides. The data center is no longer a physical location. It extends beyond the walls of the enterprise, to the cloud, and to the edge where new data is being generated and analyzed. Data holds the key to our success in this new digital era.


The key requirements for Data Center Modernization are an agile data infrastructure that is cloud aware and container integrated, data governance which ensures that data is continuously available and adheres to compliance objectives, operation intelligence to provide deeper insights, and automation to optimize and accelerate innovation.


Many of our customers are well on their way to modernizing their data center. An example is Rabobank, a banking and financial services company that serves 10 million customers in 47 countries. Like all financial institutions, Rabobank is subject to a wide range of strict government regulations in each of the countries in which it operates. Previously, IT gathered communication data from multiple sources in each country, which might include email, recorded voice calls, instant messages, and chat applications. Just gathering the data was time-consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone. Analyzing the data for compliance was even more time consuming since IT would have to mine multiple data sources spread across many disparate silos; some from third party vendors, and some held on backup tapes. There was no way to associate one communication type with another and if the enquiry changed they would have to search the same systems over again. The compliance division had to wait for IT to service each request for data before they could begin their work.


Rabobank needed to modernize their data center by creating a solution that would collect every piece of relevant data into a central, comprehensive data set where the data could be correctly managed and governed with compliant access control, audit trails, and automated policy-driven deletion. Rabobank engaged Hitachi Vantara to build this centralized data platform on Hitachi Content Portfolio (HCP). With HCP, Rabobank has simplified access to the data that they need for compliance investigations. They have significantly improved the efficiency and flexibility of their investigations and cut the discovery time from weeks to hours. Investigators get access to the data they need from their desk without having to ask for help from IT. As a result, the IT team was released from administrative data search and retrieval tasks to focus on more proactive tasks.


Hitachi Content Portfolio (HCP) is an object storage solution that enables IT organizations and cloud service providers to store, share, sync, protect, preserve, analyze and retrieve file data from a single system. HCP automates day-to-day IT operations like data protection and readily evolves to changes in scale, scope, applications, storage, server and cloud technologies over the life of data. Tightly integrated with HCP, Hitachi Content Intelligence addresses the challenges of exploring and discovering relevant, valuable and factual information across the growing number of data producers and siloed repositories that plague organizations today. By aggregating multi-structured data, Content Intelligence enables insights to be surfaced faster, data management and governance to be more complete, and to understand the distribution of organizational data based on its value to the business.


The Hitachi Content Portfolio was recently recognized by the Business Intelligence Group with the 2018 Fortress Cyber Security Award for Regulatory Compliance. The differentiation in the nomination was the addition of Hitachi Content Intelligence to the Hitachi Content Portfolio, making it the industry’s only integrated object storage portfolio offering sophisticated search and analytics capabilities. The new intelligence solution rounds out the HCP portfolio, which already offers a seamlessly integrated cloud-file gateway and enterprise file sync and sharing and continues to improve an organizations’ ability to strategically manage data. More than 2,000 customers have already adopted HCP as a key component in their digital transformation journey. With Hitachi Content Intelligence, these customers can transform data into relevant business information and deliver it to the right people, when it matters most.


The HCP portfolio provides the agility, governance and operational efficiency to modernize your data center.