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The Social Infrastructure Systems Business Unit provides IT solutions for customers in the public sector—for example, government offices and local governments—and social infrastructure such as the energy and rail industries.
We are working on the full range of social challenges that depopulation and an aging society will bring. As Japan's population declines,various things supporting its society, such as demand within the country, tax revenue, and the labor force, will decrease. This in turn will create new social issues.
To solve these issues, the Japanese government proposed a vision called “Society 5.0,” and Hitachi aims to contribute to realizing this. According to the Cabinet Office, in Society 5.0, people, things, and systems will all be connected by the internet of things (IoT) and able to share knowledge and information. This will bring new value to solve social issues and difficulties. In addition to this, we believe that creating new value is essential for companies to grow sustainably.
What is “new value”? As the world changes, people's values will also change. In the past, we usually provided services according to our customers' requests. However, from now on, we need to provide services to customers who are not even sure themselves what is valuable. Our business unit regards the achievement of the SDGs as one of the guidelines when planning a business. Then, through our actual business activities, we contribute to solving social issues. During the “Japanese economic miracle,” our customers found value in high productivity to meet the needs of mass production. However, in a shrinking and aging society, improving productivity is no longer valuable. We believe that we need to create new value by establishing an approach to providing targeted support that meet individual requirements.
Most themes of Society 5.0's strategic fields, including “Extending the nation's healthy life expectancy” and “Building safe, convenient, and economical next-generation infrastructure,” are related to our business opportunities.
Regarding healthy life expectancy, for example, we recently started to provide a cloud solution for local governments to support community-based integrated care. This solution integrates medical care information collected and used by multiple businesses. By sharing this information via the cloud between many different parties, such as family members, local governments, medical institutions, ambulance crews, and care providers, this solution supports medical cooperation.
On the other hand, because our business has a strong public component, it has some risks capable of influencing the world. Malfunctions in the systems we provide for operating social infrastructure could have a major effect on electric power supply or rail freight. There are also security risks; for example, the leakage of personal information. To reduce these risks, we will continue to innovate technologies and protect our society and its members. We will also treat potential changes in the systems and regulations of countries and regions as risks as we continue to contribute to society through our business.
In a way, the SDGs are the goals of Hitachi itself in its role as a promoter of its Social Innovation Business. In short, our business unit believes that if we cannot contribute to achieving the SDGs, it will be difficult for us to continue to exist.
The mission of our business unit is to create new value by integrating existing facilities and data. The SDGs are the measure of this new value created with customers. For example, in the social security field, we contribute to achieving Goals 3, 9, and 11. In the electric power field we contribute to achieving Goals 7, 9, and 11. As a business unit overall, we are in charge of activities contributing to achieving Goal 16. We will keep contributing to realizing Society 5.0 through our business by utilizing Hitachi's management resources. We believe this will lead to the achievement of the SDGs.