The Oilholic finds himself at Schneider Electric's North America Innovation Summit 2018, here in Atlanta, stateside, and what a first day its been. North America accounts for nearly 27% of the global energy management and automation giant's headline business, and is home to several of its innovation hubs, making Atlanta a perfect place for the latest round of its innovation summit series.
Unsurprisingly, the company is using the occasion to reveal several new announcements, the most eye-catching of which (so far) has to be the launch of a dedicated venture capital funding arm. The unit called Schneider Electric Ventures would have around €500 million of dry power to invest in new tech ventures (See The Oilholic’s detailed report for Forbes here
But the buzzword for the event is – 'EcoStruxure' – Schneider Electric's Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) architecture conceived to deliver "smart machine" solutions within the energy sphere. To quote the company's Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire if you still haven't heard about it by the time the event comes to a conclusion, well you really haven't been here.
EcoStruxure's innovative pathways run along five slants. First there's EcoStruxure Power, a solution that deploys the IIoT premise to strengthen power management capabilities with advanced monitoring and analytics. It is also designed to improve operational safety, reliability and efficiency.
Then there's EcoStruxure Machine to deliver advanced smart machine solutions, including connectivity, control, tracking and monitoring.
You'd be surprised if there wasn't an EcoStruxure IT platform, which you've probably guessed is a cloud-based solution for improved monitoring and visibility across the entire data center ecosystem.
EcoStruxure Grid solution is where you'll find Schneider Electric in its element as an industry leader; the solution is an enhanced microgrid offering aimed at maximising "onsite renewable energy penetration and simplify power management."
And finally, EcoStruxure Building offers to fortify occupant engagement, optimise space utilisation better and empower personalised environments. For Schneider Electric, the direction of travel is clear – IIoT need not be a phantasm. It's here, it's now, it's accessible via EcoStruxure solutions, says Tricoire.
In his keynote address to over 1,400 attendees, the boss added: "How IoT will change things meaningfully is yet to be written, the journey is just starting. But at the same time IoT is more accessible that you think. We will continue to introduce new additions to the EcoStruxure architecture in step with the digital transformation of industrial automation markets."
Analysts here, including yours truly, believe we'll get more of the same from the company, with its connected products, edge control software, apps, analytics, and services, and more. It is the inexorable direction of travel in a digital economy.
And Tricoire rightly notes that digital is not a zero-sum game. That means collaboration between energy and utility sector clients will bring about an integrated approach to energy management, and the boss' favourite topic – greater energy supply reliability and efficiency.
Tricoire also said data and energy go hand in glove. "Major demand and consumption growth of electricity is coming from the proliferation of IT and datacentres. Nearly every new innovation uses electricity."
So expect plenty more innovations under the EcoStruxure umbrella. And well, on a day both Brent and West Texas Intermediate oil futures contracts are down by over 7%, Tricoire says Schneider Electric sees "enormous opportunities" with the world moving from a largely fossil fuel-driven economy to an electrified economy! Bring in the noise people! That's all from Atlanta folks! Keep reading, keep it crude!
© Gaurav Sharma 2018. Photo 1: Schneider Electric Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire addresses the company' Innovation Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Photo 2: Schneider Electric Summit's Innovation Hub. © Gaurav Sharma Nov 13, 2018.