In a most extensive interview with Niloy from BIS, Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director of Hitachi India shares insights on the company’s long legacy in the Indian market. The veteran also underlines on key trends and technologies shaping New India. Added, Bharat shared about Hitachi India’s expertise, focus, the changing healthcare sector, urban mobility, e-Governance etc. Edited nub below.
Hitachi India – Transforming Lives. Building a Sustainable Nation.
Hitachi’s partnership with India dates back to the 1930s with importing of table fans and later on went on to supply steam engines followed by Turbines for the Bhakra Nangal Dam. Since then Hitachi has been mounting its footprints in India and solidifying its position with presence of around 28 group companies (as of December 31st, 2019) and approximately 12,000 employees (as of December 31, 2019) fueling the transformation of India.
We are now in a new era, one in which globalization and rapid evolution of digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are bringing significant changes to society. Social Innovation is combining new technologies such as IoT, AI, Robotics, Big data with Advanced Analytics, capable of achieving a forward-looking affluent society that balances economic advancement with the perseverance of social problems.
Hitachi is at a vantage point to efficiently deliver Social Innovation Business solutions combining its OT, IT and products. Hitachi has been partnering to work with the government in achieving a sustainable society by developing a robust framework for a smooth transition to Society 5.0 and help resolve various social challenges through new-age digital technologies. A leading partner to the Indian government, Hitachi is efficiently collaborating with the government in Railways, Finance, e-Education, Agriculture, Urban Development and e-Governance to drive Digital India initiatives of the nation.
Through its solid foundations, Hitachi is belligerently contributing, by localising its infrastructure capabilities through sprucing up capacity in India. The geographic advantage of setting up manufacturing capacity in India allows Hitachi to offer state of the art technology not just to the Indian market, but also to South-East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa, etc., enabling it to contribute in value creation across different parts of the world.
The diversified product solutions offered by Hitachi and its commitment to the government of India’s initiative of Make in India and supply to the world, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery Company Ltd. a Hitachi group company, is exporting to Africa and the Middle East, its hydraulic excavators designed and produced in India based on specifications for emerging countries. Hitachi Hi-Rel Power Electronics Pvt. Ltd. is exporting UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) to the Middle East countries.
Offering financial inclusivity to India and to the world, Hitachi Terminal Solutions India Private Limited is exporting Cash Recycling Machines (CRMs) to countries including South Africa. Contributing to an energy reliant India, high-efficiency amorphous distribution transformers are exported to various countries in Africa including Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Hitachi Metals (India) Pvt. Ltd. is the business counter for supplying amorphous metals to Indian transformer makers.
In September 2015, under the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its core.
At Hitachi, we consider SDGs as an important thread that binds the businesses for realizing a sustainable society and improving people’s quality of life through solving global, social and environmental issues. We have significantly contributed to achieving the SDGs through our Social Innovation Business, which also serves as a source of sustainable growth for us Every solution offered by Hitachi is a reflection of its commitment. to work towards making this society a comfortable place to live.
Hitachi is committed to ‘Powering Good’ by co-creating solutions that are enhancing Social, Environmental and Economic values of the society and the customers. With our decades of legacy, we have been Powering Technology and contributing towards improving the Quality of Life of the citizens and empowering them more than ever before.
Trends Shaping Urban Mobility in India?
Mobility flows have become a key dynamic in the rapid transformation of Indian cities, requiring state-of-the-art urban transportation infrastructure; smart mobility solutions for the movement of people and goods between cities and within cities are imperative. While India has long been struggling to ensure mobile comfort for its citizens, issues like last-mile connectivity, optimisation of existing capacity, the feasibility of varied transportation modes and safety demand immediate attention.
With India planning to scale-up and surge ahead on the economic front, greater emphasis is being given to infrastructure development across the country. A significant part of this key activity revolves around urban mobility and connectivity. With rapid urbanisation happening in the country at an unprecedented pace and millions of people commuting across burgeoning metro cities on a daily basis, the pressure is mounting on public transport systems. Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) has, therefore, emerged as one of the most effective means of mobility for people in the country’s Tier-1, Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and Metrorail has been playing a noteworthy role. To cope up with these challenges, urban transportation infrastructure in India requires a big investment and large-scale up-gradation. This could be addressed and resolved through meticulous planning and implementation of varied types of MRTS network including Metrorail, Metrolite for achieving multi-modal connectivity.
India is one of the emerging economies which needs to focus on building infrastructure and meet basic requirements for people from different strata of society. What is required is a balanced focus on extending transportation infrastructure, as well as leveraging smart technology solutions augmented with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to quickly improve the efficiency and capacity of public transportation, and to create a high-quality MRTS.
With a planned and well-defined structure, MRTS can contribute towards building seamless connectivity from first mile to the last mile to achieve an integrated multi-modal transport system, which will be an important contributor towards achieving the $5 trillion economy target set by the government. Through its Social Innovation Business (SIB) solutions, Hitachi is powering good to build a sustainable society.
Hitachi’s comprehensive urban mobility solutions are empowering citizens and are enhancing the environmental value of customers by collaborating in the automotive industry’s transition to low-carbon-footprint EVs. Hitachi’s growing partnership in the successful implementation of Metro Rail Systems is consistently demonstrating the comprehensive urban mobility solutions and its pioneering capability in Advanced Train Control, signalling (CBTC) and Telecommunication Systems, Rolling stocks and Seamless open-loop transit systems.
A robust mass transportation system is key to low carbon footprint society, which is high on the country’s Social Development Goals. Therefore, by actively contributing to major urban projects like the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) and Navi Mumbai Metro Rail (CIDCO), Hitachi is contributing towards minimizing vehicular pollution and density while increasing citizen’s productivity through faster and enhanced commuting experience.
Creating new benchmarks for India’s urban transportation system through Social Innovation Business, Hitachi aspires to Power Good and build a sustainable society.
Technology shaping the healthcare sector and Hitachi India’s expertise and focus into it?
Today, more than ever, Healthcare Industry needs comprehensive digital interventions to offer sustainable solutions to the patients. The IoT and AI-enabled comprehensive Advanced Analytics Solutions are revolutionizing digital patient care and critical hospital applications. Predictive Maintenance helps healthcare professionals evaluate assets, diagnose or predict problems through advanced analytics, and take timely decisions for maintenance or other appropriate actions. With the world evolving and challenging health issues are being foreseen, digital technology is going to play a pivotal role in integrating and uniting the Universe. From predictive to preventive, digital technology will drive innovations in how patient’s needs are addressed, and health issues are diagnosed.
Hitachi through Hitachi MGRM Net is Co-Creating solutions to digitally transform citizen’s healthcare ecosystem with the aim to accomplish Greater Transparency and elevate the patient experience, significantly.
Envisaged to enrich a citizen’s entire lifecycle, M-Star enabled digital Healthcare solutions platform like e-HR is supporting government’s progressive healthcare schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Mission Indradhanush among others, Hitachi is contributing to building an inclusive Healthcare system at the very grass-root level.
How technology is shaping the agriculture sector, Hitachi India’s prowess in it?
The new-age agriculturists are deploying innovation and technology to foster a new green revolution, and precision farming is emerging as a popular feature of this transition. Precision agriculture is the application of the correct amount of inputs at the right time to the crop to increase the productivity and maximise the yield. The use of GPS allows precise mapping of farmlands. This, along with appropriate software, informs the farmers about the status of their crops and identifies the area of the farm that requires water, fertiliser or pesticide, enabling them to make well-informed decisions.
For the government, self-sufficiency in food and agriculture is essential to a citizen’s well-being. The digital agri-transformation by Hitachi MRGM Net nurtures the Connected Farmer Ecosystem enabling the creation of crop portfolio, crop protection, crop insurance and access to Intelligent Market Channels helping farmers thrive, by Optimizing Price and Best Yield Quality. It covers all aspects of the agriculture comprehensively. Educating farmer groups on the latest technologies in farming, Agriculture Extension, remote help for issues in agriculture, promotion of the agriculture as an enterprise, required knowledge sharing and training are all part of the program.
IoT, cloud and Big Data future and current scenario?
The Government of India is driving India’s growth story with transformative initiatives like the Smart Cities Mission, Make in India and Digital India. By harnessing Information Technology (IT), Operational Technology (OT), Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics, the government is redefining the way it engages with the citizens. Disruption fueled by future technologies lights a new path for governments to address rapid urbanisation challenges. Organisations are moving swiftly from “closed innovation” to co-creation and strategic partnerships to keep pace with technological advancement and innovation at greatly enhanced speeds. While IoT has been driving the technology at a scale in India, we will see various technologies with widespread adoption as well, like cybersecurity and data analytics, among others.
With the experience and expertise of over 100 years in Operational Technology (OT) and 50 years in Information Technology (IT), Hitachi has helped India become equipped for the IoT era and drive the country’s digital transformation. With Hitachi’s innovative and globally recognised OT (Operational Technology) X IT solutions and data analytics, customers progress from IoT-enabled interactive devices to artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices with the cognitive functions of living beings. This shifts how technology touches live and fuels the digital revolution. Through this technological leap, Hitachi introduces a new world of possibilities for policymakers, businesses and organisations to enhance the quality of life.
Hitachi partners with the Government of India’s progressive projects, such as the Make in India and Digital India initiatives, to take a predominantly agrarian India into the IoT era, a leap that is critical to the nation’s emergence as a global production and economic powerhouse. With its superior technology innovation and global expertise, Hitachi helps address India’s unique challenges.
The technological evolution in India is transforming the lives of citizens and Hitachi’s innovative technology has ignited a social revolution. Brought to the forefront are technologies like IoT, AI, robotics and so on, that touch every sector. Through digital technologies, Hitachi reforms social and business infrastructure to empower citizens more than ever as they reimagine how goods and services are delivered.
e-Governance instituting for better governance and Hitachi India’s role in empowering the government and citizens?
e-Governance has moved beyond government departments. It is about transforming the way governments work and reinvent people’s participation in the democratic process. e-Governance provides a platform to integrate solutions and services between Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B) and Government-to-Government (G2G), empowering both the government and the citizen like never before.
Over the years, numerous initiatives have been undertaken by various State Governments and Central Ministries to promote e-Governance in a holistic manner and improve the dissemination of public services to the citizens. This encapsulates, an evolving countrywide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages and large-scale digitisation of records to enable easy, reliable access over the internet.
India is a leader in the public sector led social change by using technology to drive e-governance measures. Several government schemes and its deployment in India are a true testimony of social innovation which is constantly easing the lives of common citizens.
With innovation and expertise, Hitachi provides a diversified range of information technology solutions across various sectors to empower the citizens of India, transform the economic landscape and continue to remain a part of India’s great growth story.
Our technologies are an illustration of how we are impacting the lives of millions every day:
- With a people-first motto, the government of Andhra Pradesh strives to provide an agile and efficient public service delivery system benefitting nearly 50 million citizens, in a 360-degree life cycle approach through its Real-Time Governance (RTG) initiative. With the help of Real-Time Governance, in partnership with Hitachi, The Andhra Pradesh government can now swiftly resolve citizen grievances and monitor infrastructure projects, incidents, weather and climatic events across the state in real-time, leveraging technology services. Big data sets gathered from various sources with the help of Hitachi are leading to insightful decisions to vibrantly transform citizen services. Blending technology and citizen centricity, Real-Time Governance revolutionize governance in Andhra Pradesh, catalyzing government operations to create a safer, more efficient and sustainable society.
Hitachi’s contribution towards building a Knowledge-Driven Economy?
Hitachi understands the power of data to build a robust e-Learning infrastructure in the country. Already touching 5 million students Hitachi through Hitachi MGRM Net is helping bring transparency, accessibility, accountability, security and compliance to the education system. Aimed at leveraging Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for enhancing the academic delivery system in schools under Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghathan, KV Shaala Darpan is an e-Governance platform for all Kendriya Vidyalayas in the country. It aims to improve quality of learning, the efficiency of school administration, governance of schools & service delivery to key stakeholders namely, students, parents, teachers, community and schools.
Revolution through the cashless economy and new game-changing technologies from the payment gateway to smart cards?
India’s banking sector has undergone a paradigm shift in the past two decades. The role of technology has grown from being a mere cog in the strategic framework of companies to driving, shaping and redefining business models and revenue streams. While the digital interface in FinTech has grown by leaps and bounds, cash remains an equal catalyst in bridging the conventional vs digital gap.
The Government’s push to improve digital knowledge through initiatives spanning infrastructure, literacy and ease of accessing digital services has had a significant impact. These include building the digital infrastructure by the creation of Unified Payments Interface-based ecosystem to boost payment transactions, making high-speed internet available at low costs, increasing smartphone penetration and more. The burgeoning rural sector is also paving the way for a transformation in how cash and digital payments are accessed through multifarious platforms.
The rise of e-commerce, innovation in payments technology using artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time payments; and the introduction of mobile Point of Sale (POS) devices and QR code has led to a reduction in the cost of acceptance infrastructure and also contributed to its growth. The technology levered Aadhaar programme is the biggest disrupter in financial inclusion delivery as it enables targeted transfers of government benefits.
Hitachi Payment Services (HPY), a leading player in the payments space and a part of the Hitachi group, has been revolutionising the cash and digital payment channels in the country with over 55,000 ATMs (including Cash Recycling Machines), 1.3 Million POS devices (includes mobile POS and QR) and 3,500 White Label ATMs besides Toll and Transit Solutions across the country.
Hitachi Payment Services has been at the forefront of developing digital payment infrastructure with its range of solutions, which includes end-to-end POS processing services, e-commerce processing services, reconciliation and settlement services, risk management services as well as toll and transit solutions.
HPY’s end-to-end POS processing services enable seamless and secure cashless payments. Its inhouse developed switching platform is PCI DSS compliant, device and communication agnostic that also supports several initiatives of Digital India Stack like UPI and Bharat QR. With end-to-end turnkey merchant acquiring managed services that include Merchant Onboarding and Management, Merchant and Transaction Risk management, Settlement and Reconciliation Services, Asset Management Services and Field Services, HPY is contributing to the rapid growth of electronic payment channels in the country.
It’s customised offering of an Integrated POS payment platform, is the next generation payment mechanism for POS devices that enables Bharat QR, UPI and wallet transactions apart from standard card payments via the POS device. It is also helpful from the merchant’s perspective as the merchant can accept various payments through a single device.
The e-commerce market has grown exponentially in the past few years. For this segment, HPY’s state-of-the-art, agile and secure Internet Payment Gateway provides a faster and single-click checkout experience for top payment gateways. Hitachi Payment Services and State Bank of India (SBI) entered into a Joint Venture (JV) for the establishment of state-of-the-art card acceptance and future-ready digital payment platform for India. The JV combines the unparalleled distribution network, customer trust of SBI with cutting edge technology and services of the Hitachi Group in areas such as digital payments technology, services, big data, analytics and artificial intelligence. The JV will provide a comprehensive suite of payment options to customers and merchants focusing on areas such as roll-out of a nationwide card acceptance infrastructure, quick response (QR) code acceptance, Unified Payment Interface (UPI), mass transit sector and e-commerce businesses. To support the Government’s recently launched ‘one nation, one card’ initiative, Hitachi Payment Services in a strategic collaboration with SBI created an open loop card-based ticketing system on qSPARC 2.0 (NCMC) standards for Noida and Nagpur metros. HPY’s open-loop system is designed to help people use the same card for both transits as well as retail payments. HPY’s toll and transit solutions for Metros, Buses and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) provides commuters with a satisfying experience that blends the convenience of travel with secured digital payments. HPY’s solutions seamlessly integrate payment systems with auto gates (accepting open and closed-loop card solutions) and automatic fare collection system, thereby transforming the fare collection process. With over a billion transactions occurring daily, Hitachi is disrupting the payments landscape of India, thus enabling greater financial inclusivity.
Key leadership focus of Mr Bharat Kaushal in Hitachi India after his incumbency?
After working for 25 years in the investment banking sector, I took this challenging opportunity on June 1st, 2017 to be the first Indian head of Hitachi India and feel truly honoured to be appointed at this position.
India is a strategic and emerging market for Hitachi. I believe that my experience in promoting cross-border business relationships between the Japanese and Indian government and companies is a unique advantage for Hitachi to achieve unprecedented growth. With strenuous efforts, I will continue to work towards aggressively expanding Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business, develop novel solutions and draw upon Hitachi’s wealth of technologies and expertise to provide a diversified range of information technology solutions in various industrial sectors, empowering the citizens of India, transforming the landscape of Indian economy and aligning with India’s growth.