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Social Innovation Forum 2021

Going virtual for the first time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2021 INDIA ONLINE saw the virtual gathering of eminent industry experts, thought leaders and policymakers to envisage a roadmap to Sustainable India. Inspired by the theme "Sustainability in the New Normal: the WHATS, WHYS and HOWS", the 2-day virtual event organized in partnership with Times Network on 3rd & 4th March 2021, witnessed engaging online business sessions to fuel digital transformation across India's core sectors such as Mobility, Payment Infrastructure, Urban Development, Smart Manufacturing, e-Governance, Energy, e-Health, e-Education and Smart Farming. The key challenges, opportunities and technological disruptions unfolding in the digital new normal were deliberated upon with a mission to realize India's vision of "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat or Self Reliant India" and improve citizens' Quality of Life.

Get a glimpse of the insights shared at the Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2021 INDIA ONLINE

The catalyzing technological developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and Data Analytics among others are creating limitless possibilities for sustainable growth and addressing the complex challenges in the post pandemic world. Leveraging its globally recognized OT X IT expertise and legacy of Social Innovation Business, Hitachi organized the virtual edition of this Collaboration Creation platform to enrich knowledge and invite path-breaking ideas and solutions from industry’s best minds to propel India's transformative journey and place it in a leading position on the global stage. Keynote speeches, panel discussions and virtual exhibitions with interactive audience chat and polls marked the 2-day virtual event, digitally amplifying Hitachi's vision to co-create a Sustainable Society together with stakeholders, community and partners and pave the way for a better future for all citizens.

Inaugural Ceremony

The virtual event kickstarted with Hitachi sharing its vision for the country and showcasing its Social Innovation Business solutions for improving Social, Environmental and Economic values of the society. The welcome address by Toshiaki Higashihara, President & CEO, Hitachi, Ltd. and keynote address by Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director, Hitachi India set the context for the need for digital transformation in these turbulent times. Rajiv Kumar, India's leading economist and Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog graced the event as Chief Guest. The inaugural ceremony also witnessed an insightful special address by Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog on sustainability in the 'New Normal'.

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Hitachi Vantara - Maximizing the Value of your Data

Moderated By:

  • Ruchi Bhatia, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Jithesh PV, VP & Head, Digital Centre of Excellence, DCE, Federal Bank

  • Sankarnarayanan Raghavan, CTO, India First Life Insurance Company Ltd

  • Akhilesh Tuteja, Global cyber Security Practice Leader, Partner, KPMG in India

  • Prabhakar Venugopal, Regional Director, West, Hitachi Vantara India Pvt. Ltd.

The Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector is experiencing heavy reliance on data-digitization to drive operational efficiency and deliver a compelling customer experience. But as data continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, the panelists believe that the biggest emerging challenge for the BFSI sector is to derive meaningful outputs from multiple data-sets and decipher innovative ways to achieve optimal data management throughout organizational departments. Taking note of how digital transformation has changed the working within the industry, industry experts in the panel further highlighted the necessity of ensuring a convenient yet productive experience for their customers through available digital channels. Formulating an advanced combination of digitization and customer personalization, along with establishing top-notch data protection measures, were reckoned as the pillars that will assist industries and businesses navigate through the testing waters of the digital era.

Hitachi Railway Systems Business Division - Re-Imagining Mobility in the Aftermath of Covid-19

Moderated By:

  • Ruchi Bhatia, Times Network

Keynote Address By:

  • V.K Yadav, Ex Chairman – Railway Board Ministry of Railways

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Rajesh Aggarwal, Ex-Member Rolling Stock, Railway Board, Ministry of Railways

  • Pradeep Yadav, IAS, Managing Director, Chennai Metro Rail Limited

  • R N Singh, Principal Executive Director, Infrastructure Railway Board, Ministry of Railways

  • Anshul Gupta, General Manager, Northeast Frontier Railway

  • Michele Fracchiolla, Executive Officer and Head of Sales & Projects – Asia Pacific Hitachi Rail

The technological disruptions and the pandemic situation proffer an opportunity to re-imagine mass mobility and usher in safer, faster and more reliable networks, especially in the rail mobility sector. Setting the pace for India's tryst with post-pandemic transformation, industry experts in the panel discussed the dynamics of emerging technologies, infrastructural developments, government's visionary plans such as Dedicated Freight Corridors, National Rail Plan and the vision to make Indian Railways "Net Zero Carbon Emitter' by 2030. The panelists also accentuated the critical need for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in re-energizing urban mobility and driving the success of multi-modal shared mobility solutions for first and last mile connectivity. Improvement in citizens' quality of life and safeguarding environmental values were agreed upon as the founding pillars for the post-pandemic transformations.

Hitachi Vantara - Manufacturing Excellence in the Digital Era

Moderated By:

  • Pankaj Poddar, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Mr. Atul B Lall, Managing Director and Vice Chairman, Dixon Technologies (India) Limited

  • M S Unnikrishnan, CEO, IITB-Monash Research Academy, and Former Managing Director & CEO of Thermax Group

  • Rajesh Devnani, Vice President, Hitachi Vantara India Pvt. Ltd.

Led by the pursuit of "AatmaNirbhar Bharat" or self-reliance on all fronts, particularly the manufacturing sector, and the Digital India and Make in India initiatives, India is keen on digitally transforming its manufacturing operations to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic new normal. The panelists comprising industry specialists and Hitachi leaders discussed the opportunities presented by technological breakthroughs such as Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twining, Preventive Maintenance and Data Analysis solutions which are equipping manufacturers with tools and insights to deal with any unforeseen challenges. The pressing need to upgrade skillset of the workforce was highlighted at the engaging virtual session while envisaging a roadmap to digital revolution and emergence of India as a manufacturing hub of the world.

Hitachi India Research & Development - Artificial Intelligence in Post-COVID India

Moderated By:

  • Kingshuk Banerjee, Vice President, Hitachi India Research and Development Division

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Vijaya Deepti, CEO TATA iQ & Board Member TATA AIG, TATA AIG & TATA iQ

  • Anna Roy, Advisor (Industry), NITI Aayog

  • Prof Arnab Laha, Faculty - Production and Quantitative Methods, IIM Ahmedabad

In the quest of getting businesses back on track after the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, India is vehemently chalking out new-generation discourses that leverage technologies like AI to resolve pandemic-induced challenges. Deployable across a gamut of sectors like manufacturing, finance, customer service et al, organizations and businesses are also accelerating AI adoption in varying capacity to recuperate from the damage caused by the global shutdown. Explaining how AI can transform millions of lives, the veterans highlighted the predictive capabilities of AI mentioning some of the AI-based applications wherein the government is utilizing AI to anticipate weather changes and predict adverse conditions well in advance. The panelists also shed light on how AI has interesting applications in ensuring good governance and expressed their excitement to watch how tech-giants will utilize AI in the future.

Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic - Digital India Landscape

Moderated By:

  • Nayantara Rai, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Vipin Kumar, CIO, Isgec Heavy Engineering Ltd.

  • Venkatesh Sarvasiddhi, Senior Head- Digital Skills, Innovation, Partnerships & CSR NSDC, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship

  • Seema Gaur, Head – IT, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance

  • Vivek Gupta, Technology Leader, Cyber Security Practice, Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic Pvt. Ltd.

From the increasing transition of physical classrooms to digital classrooms to the growing use of digital technologies in manufacturing and financial sector, the Digital India landscape is fast evolving. Giving a push to the Government of India’s Digital India initiative, industry experts and thought leaders virtually gathered in this insightful session exploring the opportunities and challenges presented by digitalization, India’s preparedness for 5G, upskilling of workforce, and the need for active collaborations between the government and private players to drive digital penetration across every nook and corner of the country. Hitachi underscored the crucial need for having strong cybersecurity as the backbone of any digital solution to ensure safety, privacy and accountability. The propelling power of digitalization in empowering industry, economy and citizens was reaffirmed for building a resurgent India for tomorrow.

Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd., Infrastructure Systems Division - Digitalization of City Gas Distribution Network in India

Moderated By:

  • Pankaj Poddar, Times Network

Keynote By:

  • Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director, Hitachi India

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • AK Jana, Managing Director, IGL

  • Dr. B.S Negi, Former Member PNGRB & Current Chairman Resonance Energy Pvt. Ltd.

  • S C Gupta, Joint Advisor, PNGRB

  • Sunil Chaturvedi, CMD, Gainwell CAT

  • Amit Gupta, Vice-President, Infrastructure Division, Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd.

Government's commitment to environmental sustainability and meet the exploding energy demands of domestic, commercial and industrial sectors have bolstered its resolve to usher in a gas-based economy in India. Energy experts gathered online in an illuminating session on ways to build a robust energy infrastructure and a suitable architecture to meet the government’s roadmap of a gas grid with low carbon footprint society and enhancing Quality of Life of citizens. The enormous benefits of automation and integration of City Gas Distribution (CGD) Infrastructure were outlined for matching supply and demand and leveraging the maximum potential of natural gas as a low polluting urban utility. Hitachi's leadership in OT X IT digital technologies and automation were seen as the way forward for strengthening India's energy security and providing clean energy to millions of households.

Hitachi MGRM Net - Bridging the Education Gap of India

Moderated By:

  • Heena Gambhir, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Major Harsh Kumar, Secretary, NCERT

  • Vivek Pattanayak, ex-UN Diplomat (Director, International Civil Aviation Organization), Board Member - National Stock Exchange

  • Professor Sankarshan Basu, Professor, Finance & Accounting, IIM Bangalore

  • Partha Mohanty, Sr. Vice President (Technical), Hitachi MGRM Net

Over the years, India has made great strides in improving the state of education. However, it’s time for another revamp to meet the 21st-century challenges. Underlining the role of quality education in improving people’s lives and enhancing the nation’s economic performance, the session touched upon the following key topics: bridging the urban-rural divide in education access; the government’s initiatives for transforming education via policy changes, improvements in infrastructure & implementation; the need for adopting a more holistic approach & pedagogy with a focus on learning outcomes, the role of online education & technology-enabled learning, especially in the pandemic times et al. Acknowledging that the pandemic has created an unprecedented disruption, the experts concluded that building a robust digitally-led hybrid learning ecosystem is the only way forward to expand the access and the delivery of education to meet the needs and aspirations of the new generation.

Hitachi MGRM Net - Re-imagining Healthcare in India

Moderated By:

  • Heena Gambhir, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Dr Sanjeev Bagai, MD & Chairman, Nephron Clinic

  • Dr K Madan Gopal, Senior Consultant Health, NITI Aayog

  • Vaibhav Tiwari, COO, Portea Medical

  • Shishir Kumar, Director - Healthcare & Lifesciences, Hitachi Vantara India Pvt. Ltd.

Health is the core investment in human capital and economic growth. During the session, the discussion centered around the need for building state-of-the-art healthcare infrastructure for the effective execution of healthcare policies. The expert panelists emphasized scaling up the existing healthcare system and reinforcing it with technology to improve accessibility and delivery across various phases. Pointing out how ICT and other digital technologies have proved their worth amid the COVID-19 health crisis, the experts opined that we must create a ‘smart’ healthcare ecosystem that is personal, primary, preventive, precise, proactive & predictive. They also expounded on how the government-public sector-private sector convergence is transforming the healthcare framework and delivery, enabling the National Digital Health Mission.

Hitachi MGRM Net - Unlocking the Agri Potential in India

Moderated By:

  • Heena Gambhir, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Dr Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA)

  • Gopal Naik, Professor Economics & Social Sciences, IIM Bengaluru

  • T R Kesavan, Group President (Corporate Relations & Alliances), Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd (TAFE)

  • Raja Setlur Raghavan, Vice President, Global Social Innovation Business, Hitachi India Pvt. Ltd.

In 2020, when India got hit by the global coronavirus crisis, it was only agriculture that clocked positive growth while every other sector slipped into de-growth. It reaffirms that agriculture is the backbone of our economy. The session highlighted the need to enhance focus and efforts on unlocking the true potential of Indian agriculture for the benefit of all stakeholders across the entire farm-to-consumer spectrum. It will entail increased collaboration & co-creation efforts among the government, farming community, public and private sector, supported by increased innovation and technology infusion, the experts noted. Digitally-driven agriculture systems alongside digitally-led farming practices, as per them, will lead to ecologically sustainable production while ensuring food security for all. Besides improving the farmer incomes and living standards, it will also help strengthen the overall Agri economy.

Hitachi Hi-Rel Power Electronics Private Limited - Solar Inverters Contribution Towards Indian Solar (Renewable) Domain

Moderated By:

  • Ruchi Bhatia, Times Network

Keynote Address By:

  • Harshad Soni, General Manager, Corporate Marketing, Hitachi Hi-Rel Power Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Sanjay Sharma, General Manager (Contracts & Procurement, CP & IT), SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India)

  • Dr. Debajit Palit, Director - Rural Energy and Livelihoods, TERI

  • Rajendra Shrivastav, Market Business Leader, AES India

  • Sachin Borisa, General Manager, Sales & Service, Solar Business Division, Hitachi Hi-Rel Power Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

As India aims to augment its industrial and economic health by transitioning to renewable energy sources, the country is accelerating towards building sustainable energy infrastructure. With burgeoning electricity consumption due to rapid urbanization, the government is identifying the necessity of solar farms to achieve green stability across businesses and society. The panel experts discuss how the Indian government is formulating supportive policies that align perfectly with the government’s National Solar Mission of generating 100 Giga Watts of solar electricity by 2022. With more than 300 sunny days and Hitachi’s solar inverters that enable conversion of DC to AC, the panelists divulged engaging information explaining how India can kickstart its home-bred green energy revolution.

Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic - Cyber Security - A Next-Generation Identity Technology & Data Protection

Moderated By:

  • Sunanda Jayaseelan, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Mini Gupta, Partner - Cyber Security, Ernst & Young India

  • Dr. Sriram Birudavolu, CEO, DSCI, Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence

  • Rishi Rajpal, Vice President, Global Security, Concentrix

  • Anuj Gupta, CEO, Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic Pvt. Ltd.

The need for cybersecurity has grown exponentially with businesses and ever-increasing userbase jumping on the digital bandwagon. To envision the creation of a safe digital society, industry experts deliberated on the complexities and nuances of cybersecurity threats and the need for collaborations between government, organizations and private sector to evolve new regulations and processes and strengthen OT (Operational Technologies) security and IoT (Internet of Things) security. Development of a highly skilled workforce as well as reskilling of existing workforce were cited imperative for India to capture the global cybersecurity market. Hitachi's robust solutions for enterprises such as password-less authentication, biometric-based authentication, creating digital identities or digital personas of individuals et al were highlighted for creating secure and resilient digital spaces in India.

Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. - How Cash and Digital Economy Go Hand in Hand in a Developing Economy

Moderated By:

  • Ajaya Sharma, Moderator, Times Network

Keynote Address By:

  • Mr Ravindra Pandey, Deputy Managing Director (Strategy) & Chief Digital Officer, State Bank of India

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Shashank Kumar, Co-Founder & CTO, Razorpay

  • K Ramachandran, Executive Director, Indian Bank

  • Girikumar M Nair, MD & CEO, SBI Payment Services Pvt. Ltd.

  • Rustom Irani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd.

With heightened digitization in the economy and a strong preference for cash-based transactions, India’s payment system is undergoing a massive transformation. The interactive session presented a holistic overview of the government’s vision of building a digital payment ecosystem to boost economic growth along with on-ground statistics that indicate that digital payments as well as cash-in-circulation are growing substantially at the same time. The panel experts came up with insightful information highlighting the importance of integrating digital and real economy. The experts also underlined the need for a robust digital payment system to ensure the success of a cashless economy while maintaining top-notch digital security.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids - Electric Mobility for Mass Public Transportation – The Path for EV Revolution

Moderated By:

  • Sumiit Lakhutia, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Sanjay Krishnan, Founder, Lithium Urban Technologies

  • Charu Lata, Lead Consultant, Electric Mobility & Clean Energy, NRDC

  • Randheer Singh, Sr. Specialist, E-Mobility, NITI Aayog

  • Vivek Ramachandra, Senior Vice-President - Grid Integration, Hitachi ABB Power Grids

The government of India is committed to delivering mass electric mobility solutions but it needs to establish an efficient and well spread-out battery-charging infrastructure to end India’s tryst with range anxiety. As the panel experts call attention to finding innovative solutions to complete electrification of rails and metros, the panelists further discussed how India can spiritedly take notes from the roadmap adopted by the United States government to build a comprehensive EV infrastructure. With private players introducing electric mobility solutions in the Indian market, the experts agreed that electrification of mass public transportation is the major pivot that’ll ensure the adequacy of India’s grid infrastructure for a successful EV evolution.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids - OT X IT Integration in the Energy Landscape – The Future of Power

Moderated By:

  • Sunanda Jayaseelan, Times Network

Panel Discussion Speakers:

  • Amit Jain, Senior Energy Specialist, The World Bank

  • Biswadeep Biswas, Executive Director – Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare (IGH), KPMG in India

  • Upendra Tripathy, Director General, International Solar Alliance

  • Akilur Rahman, Chief Technology Officer, India, Hitachi ABB Power Grids

The need of building an all-embracing infrastructure with advanced integration of OT x IT to alter the energy landscape and pave the way for a new future of energy; this session with energy experts dove deeper into envisaging how operational technology can be converged with IT to develop superior manufacturing capacity and revolutionizing the manufacturing sector. The panel experts further discussed how the Indian power industry has undergone a technological metamorphosis over the years but the convergence of OT x IT will address crucial issues of broad economic consumer patterns and individual prosumers energy grids. Every energy expert chimed in with insightful bytes related to the necessity of integrated renewable energy, the emergence of digital-energy in the IoT era, and future energy trends bearing the potential to create a lasting positive impact on the environment.