"Social innovation" seems to be the buzzword for Hitachi in India as the company tries to leverage its presence by banking on internal inorganic growth and power core sectors of the Indian economy with solutions.
Masayoshi Tamura, general manager of the company's software group, said social innovation is key to India's development if the country needs to actualise its vision of the ambitious Smart Cities.
"What we are working on is social innovation. It means we are trying to provide solutions for social infrastructure like power, water and transportation. Four hundred million people are still not connected to power," Tamura told IANS on the sidelines of a conference organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Tamura said the company has framed an India-specific policy whereby it aims at not just revenue from the core sectors but is also trying to bring about change through innovation.
In 2012, the company had devised a strategy aimed at localised enablement of technology in the Indian space and targetting consolidated revenues of Rs. 20,000 crore ($3.2 billion) by 2015. According to Tamura, innovation is essentially an approach to addressing pressing needs and getting a work done keeping realisation of objectives at the forefront.
It is here that technologies like Big Data will play a key role. "Everything must be prepared for such kind of thing (surge in data consumption). Everything becomes Big Data kind of a project in India", he said.
Tamura maintained that the unplanned expansion of mega-cities and escalating urban population in India have given rise to a new set of challenges that have been taken up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has formulated campaigns aimed at sustainable urbanisation.
He opined that there is a need for developing social infrastructure, particularly in the areas of healthcare, water, urban mass rapid transportation and IT, where his company can play a big role.
The importance of India for the company can be best understood as it ranks fifth in stationing key managerial staff outside of its home country, Japan.
Specifically, it is bolstering businesses supported by production for consumption in India by increasing localization, besides strengthening its partnership network with Indian firms as well as designating India as the base-country for expansion into Africa and the Middle East.
"We cannot just copy our projects in the US and elsewhere in India as the requirements and the environment are different. We have been understanding exactly what is needed in India as per the country's needs," Tamura said. As part of bringing in social innovation, the company is promoting research and development activities closely tied to the region, strengthening the human resource management system and executing a cost structure reform project named Smart Transformation.
"We have 31 companies under the name of Hitachi in India (as subsidiaries) and are open to acquisitions in India so long as our objective of social innovation is met," Tamura said.