TOKYO -- Hitachi will bring its "internet of things" expertise to offer all-in-one monitoring of elevators, staff entry and power usage at office buildings in China, hoping to spur sales of its hardware there as well.
China has undergone rapid urbanization over the past several years, erecting many high-rise buildings. But comprehensive building management services that ensure safety and compliance with environmental regulations remain limited.
The new service, to be rolled out in fiscal 2018, will monitor escalators and elevators, as well as power consumption and people's entrances and exits via sensors and cameras attached to control devices, for instance. The status of elevator use, air conditioning and other systems will be viewable on a personal computer to help reduce electricity consumption.
Chinese demand for new elevators and escalators accounts for roughly 60% of the global market. Last year, however, demand for fresh installations decreased 3% to 490,000 units, according to Hitachi.
Hitachi holds a roughly 10% share of this market in China, generating about 300 billion yen ($2.71 billion) in annual sales. But since around 2015, construction has slowed and price competition has intensified. The aim is to leverage the new service to promote its hardware.
Hitachi plans to launch the service first in large cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. About 1,000 marketing employees at 88 sales offices will market the service to hotels, condominiums and office buildings.
The plan is to source cameras, card readers and other equipment from Chinese manufacturers. Hitachi is aiming for annual sales of 30 billion yen from the business by fiscal 2021.
In recent years, a host of accidents involving railways, elevators and the like have raised the Chinese public's awareness about infrastructure safety. And the government, facing extreme air pollution and climate change, is tightening regulations to curb emissions. Hitachi sees a business opportunity in such changes.