Smart Infrastructure

CWQ speaks to Makoto Nagashima from Hitachi about 'smart' cities

INTERVIEWS, Projects

CWQ speaks to Makoto Nagashima from Hitachi about its ‘smart city’ concept, which combines quality of life with environmental awareness and infrastructure development

Can you give us a brief overview of the Hitachi Group’s involvement in the Middle East to date?
In the Middle East, we are focusing on such areas as power generation equipment, all-electric household products, EPC of petrochemical plants, engineering and building, compressors, water treatment, air-conditioning equipment, construction machineries, elevators, medical equipment and more.

Our symbolic achievements: Hitachi Plant Technologies entered into a package contract with Utilities & Offsite for EPC of the refinery in Jizan, Saudi Arabia in November 2012; the monorail in Palm Jumeirah in Dubai; and the MEP works of the air-conditioning system for the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Have you had any involvement in Qatar to date?
Our involvement in Qatar includes the MEP works of the air-conditioning system for the New Doha International Airport, as well as the cooling sea water pumps for Ras Rafan.

What is your view of the potential of the Qatar market?
Qatar is one of the most important countries in the Middle East to us since it maintains a stable high growth with its rich natural gas resources, while it focuses on infrastructure improvement, since it will host the FIFA World Cup 2022. Therefore Hitachi will focus on social infrastructure business related to stadium equipment, mobility, water-treatment equipment and more. We aim to boost our business by offering energy-saving, high-efficiency products and technologies which contribute to the environment and satisfy the market demand, while we strengthen our ties with our partner, Special Investment Services (SIS).

Can you give us a brief overview of the ‘smart city’ concept?
Hitachi’s vision for the smart city seeks to achieve concern for the global environment and lifestyle safety and convenience through the coordination of infrastructure. Smart cities realised through the coordination of infrastructures consist of two infrastructure layers (service/public infrastructure) that support consumers’ lifestyles, together with the urban management infrastructure that links these together, using IT.

What are the main Hitachi technologies / innovations behind this concept?
Hitachi is utilising information systems and control system technologies it has built up over time to provide the platform to underpin this coordination of infrastructures. The key features of Hitachi’s IT platform for supporting smart cities are the urban management systems in the energy, water, mobility and communications fields, including healthcare and education services.

How do you attend to apply the concept to the Middle East?
By coordinating the generation and storage of renewable energy with seawater desalination, it becomes possible to stabilise water usage. The provision of stable services also leads to improvements in reliability with respect to city managers in the region. The coordination of infrastructure is also expected to provide new benefits to city managers in areas such as electric power and transportation. These benefits can be categorised as providing stable infrastructure services, providing new infrastructure, and contributing to reduced environmental loads.

What are the main challenges and opportunities for the Hitachi Group in the Middle East?
We see the Middle East as a highly-promising market, considering its market size and population. Hitachi Group will especially focus on the social infrastructure business by offering the most advanced energy-saving, high-efficiency, eco-friendly products, the demand for which is increasing in the region. 

Makoto Nagashima has been deputy GM of the International Strategy Division of Hitachi (Japan HQ) since 2010.

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