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Hitachi America, Ltd.Hitachi America, Ltd.

Hitachi America, Ltd., Research & Development

The Digital Solution Platform Laboratory (DSPL) is part of the Hitachi’s Global Center for Social Innovation (CSI), located in Santa Clara, CA. DSPL’s broad mission is to develop industrial IoT platforms to deliver solutions for a wide range of IoT verticals such as Manufacturing, Transportation, Energy etc. Specifically DSPL activities encompass sensing technologies, smart connectivity, edge analytics and cloud based management and analytics. DSPL is also looking to leverage blockchain, AI/deep learning for making industrial IoT platforms intelligent enough to adapt and respond of evolving requirements. DSPL works closely with product and business units for developing PoCs through customer engagement and contribute to Hitachi’s patent portfolio in the process.  Additionally, DSPL also monitors and participates in various standardization activities including Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), ISA-99 and OpenFog as well as promote ties with academic institutions for research collaboration. A sample of the most recent projects in DSPL is,

  • An intelligent IT x OT platform with edge intelligence to accelerate PoC deployments in the Industrial IoT (IIoT) space and engage with the customer to solve their problems.
  • Development of end-to-end IoT platform technologies, such as turnkey connectivity of sensors to analytics platform, edge analytics, machine learning, Cloud-managed OTA remote management of edge devices etc.
  • Flexible, scalable, reliable cloud technologies development with emphasis on integration with open source tools for providing an on-demand computing and services platform to support a wide-range of applications and IoT use cases.  
  • Complete Optimized Factory solution to increase visibility into factory processes, optimize yield, improve IT x OT security, and detect events and workflow notification for factory operators and workers. 
  • Smart Transportation solutions to realize an intelligent in vehicle analytics platform for performing data compression, scheduling in presence of varying network conditions for a variety of use cases such as connected cars, fleet management in connected convoys, digital railways etc. 
  • Hybrid Edge / Blockchain-based resource broker  for operations involving small-scale production with large production variety which require on-demand mapping of various resources such as human, things, data and money.

The lab comprises of a dedicated team of researchers located in the Santa Clara campus for the Global Center for Social Innovation, North America (CSI-NA) and works closely with other researcher labs in CSI-NA, and Hitachi’s Center for Technology Innovation (CTI), in Tokyo.

Research Topics

Industrial IoT Platform with Autonomous Edge

DSPL developed an intelligent IT x OT platform with edge intelligence to accelerate PoC deployments in the Industrial IoT (IIoT) space and engage with the customer to solve their problems. The focus was on using maximum OSS technologies for rapid development and adoption. The platform and the solution built on top of it consists of many inter-related components. The bottom layer is the ingestion and intelligent sensing of data from OT infrastructure to a gateway(s). To enable this, the OT infrastructure is authenticated, reliable, secure and low-latency connectivity over a multitude of radio technologies such as WiFi, Zigbee is provided and then various actions related to storage, edge analytics, visualization and transmission of the data all the way to the cloud is performed. Vertical features such as security, management and orchestration and services are also included. A major design philosophy is to the ability of quickly distribute analytics functionalities to the appropriate node in the continuum from edge to the cloud depending on the specific use case. In this sense the platform and solution are closely aligned to Fog Computing principles.

Smart Manufacturing

DSPL actively participates in customer co-creation activities around smart manufacturing solutions. One outcome example of our recent engagement with a Metallurgical Plant is as follows:

  • Visualization of actual factory production: Previously there had been lack of visibility of actual production in the factory. Actual production quantities are entered manually at the end of the shift and may differ from actual production. The DSPL solution provides real-time access to shop floor activity, automated production counting and inspection process and report hourly production data based on actual production
  • Improve Yield: Currently there is wastage incurred in the powdered raw material and a better insight into the sources of the wastage will lead to overall improvement in production yield. Wastage expected is < 3% and currently the wastage is 5-7%. The DSPL solution provides root cause analysis of raw material wastage and identifies processes that are leading to wastage.  Another feature is workflow notification where factory operators and workers can be notified about machine downtime and other events in real-time so that corrective action can be taken quickly.

Smart Transportation

Smart transportation is the prime example for mobile IoT and thus brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities. DSPL is looking into multiple technical aspects of smart transportation including connected driving, managing efficient connectivity over variable network conditions, edge filtering, data compression and prioritization. DSPL is developing a platform to efficiently collect and process data from a large number of collected vehicles over the cellular network or WiFi and perform in vehicle edge analytics of this data to extract meaningful information. DSPL is working into all sub categories of smart transportation such as connected cars, fleet management in trucks and convoys and digital railways.  

IoT Cyber Physical Security

With millions of devices connecting our homes, cities, factories and infrastructure to the cloud, security becomes a major concern. The problem is compounded for industrial IoT scenarios where legacy OT systems are increasingly being taken out of their silos and connected to internet based modern IT systems. It is not clear if the traditional models of IT security will suffice for securing IoT devices and applications. DSPL is leading a fundamental rethink on IoT security for all layers from the sensors to the gateways and the cloud. DSPL believes that security should be an integral part of the IoT system design and not a later add-on feature.

List of Publications (Since 2012)

  • Fog Computing Design Principles for Industrial IoT Applications
  • Mobile Network on Twitter, Mobile World Congress (MWC), Barcelona, 2015 URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhKT0dvRfxA
  • J. Acharya and S. Akoum, "Optimizing Vertical Sectorization for High-Rises", Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC), Anaheim, CA, Feb 2015
  • S. Akoum and J. Acharya, "Vertical Beamforming for Three-Dimensional User Placement", Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC), Anaheim, CA, Feb 2015
  • J. Acharya, L. Gao, and S. Gaur, Heterogeneous Networks in LTE-Advanced, Wiley, April 2014.
  • S. Akoum, J. Acharya, “Full-Dimensional MIMO for Future Cellular Networks,” Proc. Of IEEE Radio Wireless Week, Newport Beach, CA, Jan. 2014.
  • A. Mukherjee, "Queue-aware Dynamic On/Off Switching of Small Cells in Dense Heterogeneous Networks, " Proc. of IEEE GLOBECOM 2013 Workshop - Emerging Technologies for LTE-Advanced and Beyond-4G, Atlanta, GA, Dec. 2013.
  • J. Acharya, L. Gao, and S. Gaur, “Heterogeneous Networks – Theory and Standardization in LTE”, Tutorial presentation at IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, Shanghai, China, April 2013.
  • L. Gao, J. Acharya, and S. Gaur, “Multiuser MIMO Transmission in Distributed Antenna Systems with Heterogeneous User Traffic”, Proc. of IEEE VTC, Yokohama, Japan, May 2012.
  • J. Acharya, L. Gao, and S. Gaur, “Heterogeneous Networks – Theory and Standardization in LTE”, Tutorial presentation at IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, Yokohama, Japan, May 2012.