New Hitachi Vantara IoT App Makes Smart Repair Recommendations


Hitachi Vantara announced on Wednesday the launch of Lumada Maintenance Insights, a new software solution that uses machine learning and data analytics to deliver intelligent recommendations for maintenance and repair issues at large industrial companies.

Revealed at Hitachi Vantara's Next 2018 conference in San Diego, Lumada Maintenance Insights is the latest addition to the company's Lumada Internet of Things portfolio of offerings.

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John Magee, vice president of portfolio marketing for Hitachi Vantara, told CRN that the new solution is meant for customers with mission-critical equipment, "where uptime is critical," which includes companies working in transportation, manufacturing and energy. In these verticals, according to Magee, companies have been slowed down by the siloed nature of different data types that are related to maintenance issues.

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"I think the whole [operational technology] world is ripe for more standardization and automation of these processes," which is what Lumada Maintenance Insights seeks to solve, he said.

In a manufacturing environment, Magee said, there is a variety of data types being produced, including sensor data and video data on the physical side of things, as well as maintenance history, installation history, part history and a history of how technicians make repairs.

With Lumada Maintenance Insights, the software pulls together these disparate data sources, analyzes them to understand the full picture of a company's equipment health and then makes recommendations for when and what kind of maintenance or repair actions to take. The software relies on machine learning algorithms to inform the decision-making.

"Pulling this into a contextual knowledge center, It might be the case that you see in the data some anomalies. Maybe it's hotter than normal or vibration patterns are out of whack," Magee said as an example. With the correlation and analysis of that data, Lumada Maintenance Insights gives companies the ability to make corrective actions "before things go wrong," he added.

Hitachi Vantara's new Lumada Maintenance Insights is a solid addition to the vendor's IoT and analytics capabilities, said Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time Hitachi partner.

Maintenance is a key issue with certain large customers such as trucking or shipping firms or government agencies with large vehicle fleets, Kadlec told CRN.

"If you can help cut losses for customers by pre-determining when things need fixing and then alleviate the problem, that's huge," he said. "For such customers, taking a vehicle or a ship out of services for a few days or weeks can be detrimental for a company."

This is especially true when such businesses are trying to keep their vehicles safely on the road, but where they do not keep many spare vehicles available because of costs, Kadlec said.

"This is something we will definitely work with our state and local government customers," he said. "This ties closely into our Smart City initiatives."

Kadlec used as another example of the applicability of Lumada Maintenance Insights a large customer of Consiliant's that is focused on waste management.

"The customer is putting IoT sensors in trash cans," he said. "The cans tell the truck drivers when they are full. That increases services, as the drivers are not wasting time to stop if it's not needed. This decreases the need for so many vehicles on the road. But that increases the need to ensure vehicles are maintained because the customer is using fewer vehicles."

Hitachi Vantara's Lumada Maintenance also provides new opportunities to channel partners who have not yet adopted IoT analytics capabilities, said Kent Kellough, an 18-year veteran of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver, Colo.-based solution provider and long-time Hitachi Vantara partner.

Channel partners are already doing a lot in areas such as smart energy and smart grids on the IT infrastructure side, and the ability to connect that infrastructure to IoT and analytics technology such as Hitachi Vantara's Lumada offering is a real differentiator, Kellough told CRN.

"As opposed to focusing on speeds and feeds--and they are important--we can show a strong focus that goes beyond the hardware itself," he said.

Kellough cited an ASG customer in Hawaii that contracted with Hitachi's Japan organization to analyze energy needs and look at how they will be impacted by electric vehicles.

"ASG built a complete integrated solution with blades, storage, and the infrastructure," he said. "The data was managed by Hitachi and the customer, while ASG provided the infrastructure. Hitachi engaged us in the deal. We wouldn’t have known about it if they had not engaged with us."

Additional reporting by Joseph Kovar.