AutomationInterviews

Organizing Accurate Data Flows Can Provide Valuable Insight

Peter Weckesser, the Executive Vice President for Schneider Digital and Chief Digital Officer, speaks about how AI can boost productivity, and how remote management can help companies rethink industrial operations

How according to you can AI boost productivity in various industries?
Digital solutions are one of the key enablers to drive a more sustainable future, not just in oil and gas, but in other industries as well. The area where we see the highest value of implementing AI is in putting data to work in support of decision making.

Today many industry players are already collecting data from the whole value chain, the next step is to organize better and accurate data flows and be able to turn them into valuable insight. This is where AI supports making smarter business decisions and allows continuous improvements through agile decision-making based on reliable, dynamic information.

With the boom in cloud computing and big data storage and analysis, artificial intelligence helps improve efficiency in manufacturing environments, leading to better performance and results through accurate forecasting, predictive maintenance (fewer failures), increased efficiency, and improved quality control.

Remote management is something that many companies use today. How can remote management tools help companies recover, rebound, and rethink industrial operations?
As companies push ahead with a focus on recovery and then growth, now is the time to unleash the efficiency potential of connected infrastructures via remote monitoring and control for more sustainable processes and operations. One of the emerging trends in digitization is unmanned and remote operations.

With a slow but visible adoption companies start to implement VR, drones, robotics, and machine learning to increase the capability to run systems and operations remotely. The time gained through the automation of manual tasks can be spent on other value-added activities that require a combination of human and technology enablers.

For example, our EcoStruxure Autonomous Production Advisor which is an edge analytics platform uses Machine Learning Models to help oil and gas companies operate remote wells while minimizing the need for human intervention.

What is your outlook for automation in industries such as public utilities?
The energy landscape is under transition driven by megatrends, such as decentralization and decarbonization of energy generation, as well as digitization across the grid. The world is becoming more electric, as electricity is the most sensible and sustainable solution.

While the migration to renewable energy gains momentum and we see the emergence of prosumers in the energy market, software and automation play an increasing role in the operation of our energy grids. EcoStruxure Grid helps the electricity companies build a sustainable future by providing greener power generation, building smarter grids, and serving affordable new energy to consumers while improving their profitability. At the same time, data analytics and automation can help public utilities achieve higher levels of reliability and operational confidence.

How important is sustainability in your overall regional strategies?
We are playing on the two sides of the equation. Schneider Electric was an early adopter of ESG commitments when it introduced its first sustainability barometer in 2005. Fifteen years later, Schneider has proven that ESG commitments cannot just be a one-off. Accordingly, the company has reinforced its commitment every three years to contribute to make the world greener and more inclusive.

On the other hand, our solutions and sustainability services can help customers achieve sustainability goals – with strategies at the local and enterprise level. We aim to lead by example within our own operations and ecosystem, and we work to be part of the solution for our customers.

How is Schneider Electric helping companies achieve their green energy goals?
At Schneider, we have experts in sustainability and digital solutions, we can help cover the expertise gap by offering our sustainability and industrial automation services and share experience in monitoring ESG goals in the past 20 years.

We partner our customers in their digital transformation and energy transition to achieve sustainability goals, make their processes more energy-efficient, and protect the environment by making these processes more reliable and secure. EcoStruxure, our open IoT platform, leverages digitization to optimize energy and resource use in our customers, our partners, and our own plants and buildings.

Ultimately, that helps us all to accelerate our sustainability and digitization agendas. We help companies move from ambition to action for climate change strategy. Our Sustainability Consulting services enable solutions to tackle the climate crisis, accelerate the company’s carbon reduction goals and build business resilience.

Measuring, assessing, and reducing supply chain emissions is a challenging aspect of decarbonization efforts. Our Supply Chain Decarbonization service combines supplier engagement and implementation via renewable energy procurement, and carbon offsetting.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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