Schneider Electric intros IoT collaboration platform, pre-packed analytics apps
Schneider Electric has launched a new digital ecosystem, called Exchange, to foster collaboration between industry, software, and startup elements within the IoT space. The French automation specialist wants to drive easier innovation in the market, and get IoT solutions deployed more quickly.
At Hannover Messe 2019 last week (check out the video of the press conference below), the company also released a set of seven new pre-packed analytics applications for bringing efficiency and intelligence to industry, smart buildings, data centres, and energy grids – the four ‘vertical’ markets where Schneider puts focus.
These are available as part of its Advisor portfolio, available via its EcoStruxure platform.
Exchange will work as a community group for Schneider resellers and integrators to engage with an array of digital providers to design, develop, and deploy IoT systems and solutions for customers.
As well as messaging groups, the cloud platform offers access to private and public communities, as well as resources including data-sets, analytics software, application programming interfaces (APIs), and software development kits (SDKs). It has a digital marketplace for hardware and software solutions attached as well.
Schneider said adoption since the Exchange platform soft-launched at the end of 2018 has been split between Europe and Asia Pacific, each with 35 per cent of members, and the Americas, with 20 per cent.
Schneider quoted market projections from Gartner in its release, that 20 billion IoT devices will be in operation by 2020, providing the plumbing in an industrial IoT market that will add $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
Its EcoStruxure portolfio brings access to the company’s wider IoT architecture and services. EcoStruxure is deployed in almost 500,000 sites, it claims, and connects over two million assets under management. The new Exchange platform makes these services and applications collaborative, it said.
Cyril Perducat, executive vice president of IoT and digital offers at Schneider Electric, commented: “The world can no longer work in independent silos; the need for better integration and collaboration has unearthed new opportunities. Exchange brings together a diverse ecosystem… for collective intelligence. This digital ecosystem creates, collaborates, and scales business growth.”
Its new Advisor apps are aimed at buildings and industrial operatives, in the first instance, and promise real-time data about their connected products, allowing for remote management, optimisation, and maintenance.
“If you go around here, you’ll find lots of companies have develped fancy tools to sell them to customers, in the hope they will solve problems. We have focused instead on productising solutions, to solve these problems,” said Perducat, speaking with Enterprise IoT Insights at Hannover Messe 2019.
He references the company’s Machine Advisor app, as a tool for remote machine diagnostics, and a means to solve a “classic need” in the industrial space. As it went about its industrial problem solving, it realised it needed help, he observes.
“The IoT space has a very wide and diverse sets of needs, and we realised Schneider could not cannot address them all on its own. We have large ecosystem of partners – of installers, and panel builders, and equipment manufacturers, in the traditional way of IT. But if you want to create new digital solutions, you need data scientists and software specialists as well.
“That was the starting point for Exchange – as a community of solvers, and a means to onboard solutions. It is a community space, to tap the crowd for answers to complex problems. Because the best answer doesn’t come from one indisvidual, but from a community, with a variety of experience and expertise.”
Perducat added: “The experience of Exchange is a conversation – it’s a feel, and the more we get to know you, the more we suggest assets and tools that are relevant.”
Among its new Advisor apps, it has unveiled a pack for power management systems (Power Advisor), to identify “gaps or issues” in larger electrical distribution system. It allows users to track and analyse equipment conditions, manage capacity, and get advanced warnings.
Power Advisor has already been installed at more than 650 sites, with 130,000 assets under management (AUM). Schneider is adding 10-20 new facilities and over 5,000 new AUM every month, it said.
A package for data centres (IT Advisor) has also been released, providing a analytics dashboard to optimise capacities, plan and analyse changes and impacts, automate workflows, and enable energy-based billing.
A new suite for buildings managers (Workplace Advisor) provides a dashboard to analyse data from in-building devices and systems, and includes tools to optimise utilisation and comfort of workspaces and amenities, including room allocation, and environmental monitoring.
It has similar dashboard-based analytics and optimisation tools for variously monitoring digital process safety (Process Safety Advisor), micro-losses in manufacturing (Equipment Efficiency Advisor), wastage at water pumping stations (Pumping Performance Advisor), and clean-in-place operations (CIP Advisor) in the food and beverages industry.