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New uses for IT are leading to growing activity in initiatives aimed at innovation in manufacturing and other parts of the social infrastructure. Drawing on the strength of its experience in control systems for social infrastructure and other industries, Hitachi is also working on fusing these with information systems.
The social system challenges that have come to prominence in recent years include global warming, insufficient maintenance of aging infrastructure, a low birth rate, and an aging population. Meanwhile, the Internet of things (IoT), which connects numerous devices to networks, has made rapid advances that are giving rise to a trend toward its use in the creation of new societies, markets, and ecosystems.
In 2015, the Internet of things (IoT) consisted of about 15 billion connected devices. The data gathered by these smartphones, radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, and wireless sensors is fuelling web-based services that have disrupted sectors such as transportation and media. But the big changes are yet to come. In 2020, we expect there to be more than 30 billion connected devices.
THE manufacturing industry in particular has been home to considerable activity in recent years targeting new innovations based on the IoT. This has included standardization initiatives and the creation of ecosystems that tie together the manufacturing and IT industries, with the launch in the USA of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) led by General Electric Company (GE), and the launch in Germany of the government-led Industrie 4.0 initiative.