Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hitachi Testing Green Technology

The Japanese conglomerate - a company in energy circles mostly known for its work in nuclear - has been conducting an experiment with a software application that delivers health advice and dieting tips.

In a trial with its own employees, Hitachi employees lost a collective 5.1 kilograms (11,200 pounds), said Etsuhiko Shoyama, chairman of the company in a keynote speech at Ceatec, a large technology convention taking place outside of Tokyo this week. Ceatec is similar to CES, but in a foreign language. (Panasonic also discussed its green home strategy at the convention.) On average, the application works on about 67 percent of the people who try it and testers have typically been losing around 5 percent of their body weight in 90 days.

As a follow up, Hitachi is testing another technology called Life Microscope, a wristband that monitors vital signs such as heart rate and sleeping time and downloads it to a computer. If you’ve been getting up slightly later, Life Microscope will confirm it.

The idea is that all things are interconnected. If software and hardware like this can make people healthier, it starts to erode the demand for more expensive healthcare down the road. Is it green technology? A lot of investors insert the health and lifestyle category under the clean and greentech umbrella because it fits in with the concept of sustainability. The customer base also overlaps quite a bit.

Other interesting technologies at Hitachi: Geomation. The application crunches satellite data to determine the optimum time to harvest wheat and rice. In tests on the island of Hokkaido, where farmers saw carbon dioxide output during harvesting reduced by 30 percent.

The company also has two data center technologies - Harmonious Green and Cool Center 50 - that aim to reduce CO2 emissions and power consumption by 40 percent to 50 percent, respectively. The two technologies revolve around ways to centralize data centers.

By 2025 Hitachi wants to reduce its carbon output by 100 million tons annually from current levels.