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    Alistair DormerAlistair Dormer
    Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.

    Globalization and economic progress over recent years have brought an increase in the movement of goods and people. Meanwhile, society is facing new challenges that include natural disasters increasing in severity due to global warming, aging demographics and low birth rates, and the concentration of populations in cities. In this environment, railways together with elevators and escalators play an essential role in maintaining safe and comfortable living, the former by transporting goods and people with low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and the latter by providing the means for people to move around ever-taller buildings in comfort.

    Hitachi’s Mito Works started out as a center for railway systems in 1940, and has also been producing elevators and escalators since 1961. As a hub for railway, elevator, and escalator systems, the site has been a place where both businesses have engaged in relentless technology development and demonstrated dependable performance based on their shared purpose of transporting people. While the site was split in two in 1999 following Hitachi’s adoption of a group structure, the two businesses continued to collaborate as they expanded internationally, supplying attractive products throughout the world. In April 2019, Hitachi restructured its business units around the IT, Energy, Industry, Mobility, and Smart Life sectors respectively, having identified these as five key growth areas in its 2021 Mid-term Management Plan. This has brought Hitachi’s Railway Systems Business Unit and Building Systems Business Unit together again in the mobility sector. Along with closer integration, the new structure will also involve a deepening of collaborative creation in areas like operation, service, and maintenance as well as components.

    With the incorporation into the group of Ansaldo Breda S.p.A. (now Hitachi Rail S.p.A.), a company with 150 years of history, and Ansaldo STS S.p.A. (now Hitachi Rail STS S.p.A.), a company with staff across more than 30 different countries or regions, Hitachi’s railway business has successfully evolved into a strong global player, enhancing its competitiveness by combining the strengths that each company brings. The intention is to continue to expand this portfolio, further strengthening the businesses that deal with signalling and traffic management and with turnkey solutions. The business was also restructured in FY2019 into the three “business lines” of rolling stock, signalling and turnkey solutions, and operation, service, and maintenance, further combining and strengthening technology and manufacturing across production facilities around the world.

    In the building systems business, extensive use is being made of the latest digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) in product and service development, supplying safe, reliable, and comfortable elevators and escalators together with services that help overcome the diverse challenges that customers face in urban spaces around the world. In 2019, the business supplied the world’s fastest* elevator (1,260 m/min) to the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, an ultra-high-rise building in Guangzhou, China. In addition to those products, Hitachi is also expanding its building services business globally. In the future, Hitachi intends to accelerate the development of products and services that help make smart buildings possible, including the sort of non-touch solutions needed to adapt to the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As they work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed to at a 2015 United Nations summit, these two mobility sector business units intend to spur each other on as they continue striving to build better societies by delivering new value through innovation to meet societal needs in their role as system integrators for the sector.

    According to Hitachi's research in July 2020