UK-based telecommunications giant BT and Hitachi Vantara, a subsidiary of Japanese multinational conglomerate company Hitachi, are teaming up to develop industrial and enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) products.
The two companies will partner globally to bring together BT’s experience in network infrastructure, cloud and cyber security with Hitachi’s Lumada IoT platform, along with other integrated IoT services and products.
The companies, who announced the partnership at Hitachi’s inaugural user conference, Hitachi NEXT 2017 in Las Vegas, claimed that the deal will drive better business outcomes for global customers, including greater efficiency, productivity and cost savings.
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Initial points of focus
They will initially focus on researching and designing asset intelligence and predictive maintenance products for industries such as manufacturing and transportation.
“Our partnership with Hitachi will help BT to accelerate innovation and ease the path to digitalisation and IoT for our customers around the globe,” said Bas Bureger, CEO of global services at BT.
“Hitachi’s operational technology, IT and IoT expertise, long-standing customer engagements and its Lumada IoT Platform will combine ideally with our global infrastructure, cloud services and cybersecurity expertise to create powerful IoT offerings that will help maximise the success of our global customers’ digital transformation journeys,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ryuichi Otsuki, CEO at Hitachi Vantara, and vice president at Hitachi, suggested that IoT represented a “critical inflection point in which the interests of business, industry and society are intersecting and aligning like never before”.
“We see the creation of strategic partnerships with leaders and market makers like BT as a critical underpinning to Hitachi’s IoT strategy as we move our company and business into the next phase of its evolution.”
String of collaborations
The partnership follows a string of collaborations between vendors in the IoT space, with several focusing on providing industrial IoT products and services.
In February, engineering company JGC Corporation said it would be collaboration with Japanese engineering organisation NEC, and technology vendor IBM agreed terms with German engineering and electronics company Bosch on an industrial IoT tie-up. Then in April, Swiss robotics and automation company ABB announced an industrial IoT partnership with the artificial intelligence (AI) experts at IBM Watson.
Rob Bamforth, analyst at IT advisory company Quocirca, believes these partnerships are often about bringing together different technical skills, rather than the technology itself.
“While a lot of technical expertise can be common to each, the application of the technology is much more about the suitability to particular markets, sectors and specific use cases. For IoT, many of these are still emerging,” he said.
Margins can also bet thin, depending on the high volumes of transactions or devices, he added, and this increased the risk for companies and means they may require broader channels.
“Building this takes time, but the IoT is a fast-paced sector, so it is often far more effective to find a partner who has the capabilities – market understanding, channel and technology – that complement your own, and is willing to make the investment and share the risk,” said Bamforth.
“This is one way that larger companies, which are often blindsided by more nimble market entrants, can use their size effectively, in partnership with another similar, but complementary player,” he concluded.