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Hamed Ghanem

UAE, DUBAI - Telecoms & IT

Hamed Ghanem

Managing Director, Hitachi

Bio

Hamed Ghanem is MD at Hitachi Middle East Branch and General Manger, Egypt Office. He was previously Deputy General Manager, Middle East Branch and General Manager, Egypt Office, having joined Hitachi, Ltd. (Egypt Office) in 1985.

"Hitachi has several verticals in the healthcare sector. One is medical equipment, and within that we have diagnostic equipment and testing equipment."

What are your key areas of focus in the UAE?

Hitachi is experiencing a lot of changes at the moment. Traditionally, Hitachi has been a manufacturer of all sorts of equipment and, also, we were one of the major world participants in infrastructure projects, whether that was in transportation, water treatment, or power generation, amongst others. However, the changes that we are undergoing all revolve around digitalization. This means that our focus will not merely be supplying equipment or taking part in infrastructure projects but also providing end-to-end state-of-the-art solutions to our customers. In order to do that, we are utilizing the IoT. Hitachi has established a group of very advanced experts based in Silicon Valley, and they are leading this process. We have also acquired a lot of companies with expertise in the field of big data analytics. Combining this with our experience in the infrastructure business and in providing equipment, machinery and so on, we are aiming to provide customers with solutions that are relevant to the 21st century. At this moment Hitachi’s core businesses are divided among 12 business units, and now every unit will have an officer to implement IoT solutions in their units. We have already come a long way in markets like North America, Europe, and Japan, and now is time for the Middle East to catch up. This is my mission now, to change Hitachi from just a traditional old equipment supplier to a company driven by IoT. Our starting point is going to be public safety, which is something that is not naturally related to Hitachi, but this is one of our major starting points in the Middle East. We are now approaching several key customers in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries and hope this will be our new future business.

Will crowd safety solutions be part of this renovation of Hitachi?

In 2020 there will be Tokyo Olympics. Hosting the Olympics has been a major trigger to expedite development of new solutions. Public safety is a major concern in the world. The Middle East has a long history of troubles with crowd management, which is precisely why we have decided that this will be one of our major targets.

Why are you moving away from the infrastructure sector when there are still many infrastructure projects coming up?

We are not moving away from them. In the past we have been providing just simple products but we are changing our business model and now we are interested in offering complete solutions. Today, investments are not as abundant as they were in the past and you have to be very focused, you have to optimize your investments. We are trying to introduce IoT, big data analytics, and so on in all our businesses. For example, in healthcare we are offering complete solutions to patients and operators of hospitals and medical institutions instead of just medical or diagnostics equipment. We are including the clinical analytics, informatics and IT services together to provide more encompassing solutions.

What solutions from other markets do you expect to bring to this region?

We have several examples but one of the outstanding examples is from the UK, where Hitachi has a contract for the high-speed rail, HS2. We are supplying the trains and are also doing the operational maintenance. We are applying our IoT solutions in that project, for example we have sensors all over the trains that collect a massive amount of data, which we are analyzing and using to optimize the operation. In North America, we also have many examples, such as our public safety solutions in Washington DC. With these solutions, we are collecting data from 3,000 different cameras around the city, which have not necessarily been installed by us. We have the Hitachi Visualization Suite, which gathers the data from all these cameras and systems. Through this data we can support city authorities when they make decisions about where to allocate their resources. For example, you can use this data to predict crimes. We found that some of the crimes are not only associated with the location but also, interestingly, the weather.

What do you see as your biggest market in the region?

Our office here in Dubai is in charge of the MENA region, and we are part of the EMEA region. Essentially our main market is the GCC countries, with UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar being the most important players. In North Africa, Egypt is the biggest market, although there are difficulties in the country at the moment. This makes it difficult for us to expand further; but certainly North Africa is of interest to us.

What opportunities do you see in the local market?

Hitachi has several verticals in the healthcare sector. One is medical equipment, and within that we have diagnostic equipment and testing equipment. We have been developing Hitachi data systems hospitals for many years now and we also have a new technology for the treatment of cancer. In the past, all these verticals were in different companies, but we have merged them under the Hitachi Healthcare business unit. More recently, we are trying to offer this total package to hospitals, patients, and so forth. Every region has its own characteristics; you cannot sell a solution design for the US or Japan in the UAE without adapting it to this market. Certainly, we will have to work with partners who know the needs of this market; we cannot work alone. We need to adapt these solutions to the market’s needs.

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