Schneider Electric Wants To Power The Digital Future

Schneider Electric CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire presents at the Innovation Summit held at The Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong, 2017

Schneider Electric CEO and Chairman Jean-Pascal Tricoire presents at the Innovation Summit held at The Kerry Hotel in Hong Kong, 2017

Schneider Electric are powering full-steam ahead into all things digital, and once you move past the buzzword bingo of keynote speeches, there’s plenty to like about what the company is up to.

Schneider is one of those companies IT folk have often never heard of, since they deal with all the hard-core infrastructure like power and cooling systems that all the IT gear actually needs to function. It can be safely ignored by IT most of the time because of how reliable it generally is, at least in the parts of the world obsessed with all things disruption.

Over in many parts of Asia, however, it’s a different story. India is still figuring out how to provide reliable power in a country that doesn’t have a reliable, country-wide grid system, and is looking at jumping straight to more distributed methods. I was in rural Thailand recently, and the power going out is a regular occurrence you just learn to work around.

Modern computing systems are built on the assumption that power is constantly available, and it takes a remarkable amount of engineering to make that possible. CEO and Chairman Jean-Pascal Tricoire believes that “access to energy is a fundamental human right.”

“To achieve this goal,” Tricoire says, “We need to become three times more efficient in energy production and use.” Tricoire sees the increased adoption of technology, particularly automation and the Internet of Things, as key to achieving this goal. “The future will be more automated, more digitized, and more de-carbonized,” he says.

Of course, being heavily involved in the power industry, this isn’t really surprising, but I was struck by how much of the vision for Schneider’s more industrial customer base mirrors that of data-center and enterprise IT more generally. It’s all about automation, digitization, and putting sensors into as many things as possible.

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