Microsoft has announced an expansion of its partnership with Japanese multinational Hitachi. Specifically, the companies are entering a new era of deeper collaboration as part of a multi-year strategic alliance.

Leading the goals of the partnership is to drive transformation in logistics and manufacturing across North America, Southeast Asia, and Japan.

On its end, Hitachi, will integrate its solutions into Microsoft’s cloud services. For example, the IoT industrial controllers HX Series and Lumada platform will now integrate with Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Microsoft and combine our OT, IT and products excellence to provide manufacturing and logistics companies with digital solutions. We use Lumada to provide total seamless solutions to solve challenges by connecting cyberspaces with physical spaces. Through this collaboration with Microsoft, we will be able to accelerate our customers’ digital transformation and continue to deliver social, environmental and economic value,” said Jun Abe, Vice President and Executive Officer, CEO of Industry & Distribution Business Unit, Hitachi Ltd.

Partnership

Both companies will also work to combine Lumada and Azure into a new industry data platform. In a blog post to announce the alliance, Microsoft says Hitachi will bring the following benefits to its Microsoft Azure platform:

  • “Increase manufacturing productivity: Using Hitachi Digital Supply Chain as well as Azure IoT to analyze 4M data collected from manufacturing sites for the visualization and analysis of production processes to optimize factory operations and increase productivity.
  • Optimize logistics with data analytics: Increasing the logistics efficiency and reducing operational costs by analyzing traffic congestion, storage locations and delivery locations, and enabling smart routing to save miles and deliver faster through advanced digital technologies such as Azure Maps and Hitachi Digital Solution for Logistics/Delivery Optimization Service.
  • Predictive maintenance and remote assist: Enabling predictive maintenance, real-time remote assistance and remote training scenarios for first-line workers, leveraging HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist as well as other smart devices.”

Those solutions will make their debut next month in Thailand and will arrive in Japan and North America later in the year.

“Building resilient and flexible digital supply chains is critical to grow a business and meet customer needs in today’s fast-changing environments. By expanding our collaboration with Hitachi, we’ll unlock new opportunities for manufacturing and logistics companies as they strive to lead in their industries and pioneer with a data-driven mindset and digital capabilities,” said Çağlayan Arkan, Vice President Manufacturing at Microsoft.