Douglas Howatt

Today Was NEXT 2018

Blog Post created by Douglas Howatt Employee on Sep 26, 2018

If you were at NEXT 2018 today, you would have started with this quiz: What makes these emerging technologies actually work: mobile, robotics, automation, virtual reality, blockchain, neural networks, 5G and few more?


Got it?


I’ll wait.



Yes! Data is what makes them work. The NEXT audience got it right, too. Renée McKaskle, Hitachi Vantara’s CIO, went on to talk about how in her role she is constantly dealing with the growth of data and understanding its real-world implications for the strength of the business. She’s not alone, she points out. Business today is all about the data. And that’s the theme of the NEXT 2018. Data and innovation.


The first day of the annual Hitachi NEXT event was a smash hit. Bigger and better than last year (ahem, just like we promised!) and filled with insights and expertise. Attendees seemed pleased, some saying that they were learning even more this year than they did at last year’s NEXT.


Renée introduced Mr. Toshiaki Higashihara, president and CEO of Hitachi, Ltd., who talked about the rewards and risks of the digital age. “The light gives us opportunity,” he said. “And we should not discount the shadow of cyber-attacks, and security and data breaches.” He continued, “Hitachi is aligned with the greater demands we face today. Our mission is clear: to contribute to society through the development of superior, original technology and products.”


Mr. Higashihara said, “We have never stopped innovating. Today, our diversified portfolio includes data storage, IoT solutions, bullet trains, elevators, power plants, medical devices and so much more. This is demonstrated by our tremendous progress in delivering our digital solutions through Hitachi Vantara.”


Hitachi Vantara and You

Brian Householder, Hitachi Vantara CEO, took the stage next. “This is the most disruptive time in history because technology is changing everything. We’re poised to see more digital progress in the next ten years than we have in the last 50,” he said. “The game has changed and companies with the best data strategy will win.”


Brian described Hitachi Vantara as an innovation company, helping customers get the most out of their data. He stated five advantages that the company gives to its customers:

  1. 100 years of operational technology experience and 60 years of IT experience
  2. A fundamental belief that customers should own their data
  3. A portfolio that unlocks the value of customers’ data
  4. The double bottom line of measuring success for business and society
  5. An ecosystem of trusted partners


Malcolm Gladwell and Brian

Malcolm Gladwell, noted author and disruptive thinker, joined Brian for a provocative conversation about disruption and data. One of Malcolm’s points was that companies and industries should carefully find the balance between data analysis and judgment. “All the data in the world won’t predict strength of character,” he said. Brian added that the best data leaders are the ones that have the right culture and the right mindset.


Brian introduced Brad Surak, Hitachi Vantara’s chief product and strategy officer, who talked about how companies can innovate with their data. (Do you sense a theme line drawing through NEXT?) He talked about Hitachi Vantara's data stairway to value, consisting of store, enrich, activate and monetize. Suggesting that it is an excellent way for organizations to understand their maturity level as they go through the stages of their digital transformation and modernization.


So Much Information

Still with me? You can see how much was covered already, right? And there are still three more speakers in the general session. Next was Hicham Abdessamad, CEO of Hitachi Consulting and of Hitachi Global Digital Holdings. Hicham placed Hitachi customers at the center of a digital ecosystem of Hitachi and Hitachi partners, all with a focus on value and outcomes. He asked why some people are not adopting digital and suggested that many digital technologies have been overhyped and now scare people who don’t know how to articulate the digital advantages. He pointed to Hitachi’s approach of co-creation as a useful way to approach digital solutions: “We don't have all the answers. But we have significant experience and capabilities we can bring to our customers.”


Then Jay Gopinath, general manager of advanced technologies, innovation, data and analytics of Toyota Motor North America, joined Hicham on stage. He said that digital technologies and analytics have great value throughout Toyota’s business. Opportunities for innovation spread across how Toyota manufactures cars, markets them and sells them. Plus, they are pursuing additional business models like self-driving cars and more. In fact, he says, Toyota doesn’t see itself as a car company, but as a mobility company: “Wheels are optional.”


Beverly Rider, senior vice president and chief commercial officer of Hitachi America Ltd., then introduced three Hitachi customers who are this year’s winners of the Hitachi Transformation Award:

  • Enterprise Transformation: NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Excellence in IoT: Andhra Pradesh Real Time Governance
  • Social Innovation: Smart Payments by Nets


The audience was asked to vote for the People’s Choice Award, which will be awarded tomorrow. Sorry, polls closed at 5 p.m. today.


Wait, That’s Not All

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted, and I’ve hit just some of the high points from the General Session. Don’t worry, I won’t take you through the rest of the day. Except to say this:

  • An inspiring Spotlight Session by Bob Madaio, VP of infrastructure solutions marketing at Hitachi Vantara, about building the agile foundation for modern data strategies
  • The Solutions Showcase with wall-to-wall demonstrations of current and future technology and solutions
  • 25 breakout sessions by Hitachi, our partners and our customers across every data and innovation topic you can think of – with 25 more tomorrow
  • Certifications and training all day long
  • Many, many interviews recorded in Studio NEXT with Hitachi experts, partners, customers and analysts to be released after NEXT 2018


Oh! And we made a handful of announcements you won’t want to miss:

  • Hitachi Vantara Advances IT Infrastructure Portfolio With Updated Converged and Hyperconverged Systems, Enhanced Applications Support
  • Hitachi Vantara Helps Customers Govern and Protect Data in a Multicloud World
  • Hitachi Vantara Strengthens Lumada Portfolio With Applications for Intelligent Maintenance and Repair
  • Hitachi Vantara Expands Smart Data Center Intelligence and Automation for Self-Optimizing Data Centers
  • Hitachi Vantara Enhances Cloud Services With Container Security and Innovative Multicloud Support for DevOps and Data Services


Wish You Could Have Been Here

After a good night’s sleep, we’ll all be back at it for the second day. Maybe next year you should just come and join us. You’ll get so much more out of it.