Schneider Electric, based in Ruel-Malmaison, France, is a multinational company that operates in over 100 countries and employs more than 135,000 workers. Schneider Electric provides energy and digital automation solutions (hardware and software) with a focus on energy management to improve efficiency and sustainability.
After recognizing challenges, such as a lack of summarized and measurable data, the inability to view capacity risks, and a lack of collaborative sales forecasts, Schneider Electric began utilizing Industry 4.0 technologies to increase efficiency, align with customers, and improve sustainability. More specifically, Schneider Electric optimized energy management at a granular level by implementing end-to-end, cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) predictive analytics, and energy use analytics across several sites. Since using these Industry 4.0 technologies, Schneider Electric has improved operational efficiency with its advanced energy management system, resulting in a 26% reduction in plant energy costs, a 78% reduction in CO2 production, and a 20% reduction in water use.
Schneider Electric’s end-to-end use of IoT provides similar advanced features found in a smart building. The company’s IoT platform connects to a network of devices, such as meters, sensors, and actuators, that can be remotely accessed from anywhere in the world. Schneider Electric also created a fully integrated building management system (BMS) that responds to and integrates with data from weather monitors and financial information, such as electricity rates, utilities, and various commodities, that can affect how buildings are managed. Advanced management of buildings and data analytics can autonomously improve energy and operational efficiencies, facility planning, preventative maintenance, and fault detection while providing comfort for building occupants.
Moving to a connected network with cloud-based IoT has allowed Schneider Electric to harness the power of big-data analytics to improve customer experience. End-to-end IoT connectivity provides information for operational efficiency and allows Schneider Electric to provide the service of demand response pricing to customers. Demand response pricing rations out the electric power supply to better match the demand for power supply. Simply put, smart metering can communicate changes in price to customers and off-peak metering to show when power is cheaper during lower-demand times of the day. Having buildings that are connected to smart meters makes demand response an easier service to manage. This is clearly illustrated with Schneider Electric’s 20% improvement in the accuracy of energy demand forecasting (Schneider Electric, 2018).
Industry 4.0 technologies and the use of IoT in tandem with data sharing and analytics at a regional level has driven $6 billion of energy savings in North America (Schneider Electric, 2018). Such technologies and the model of transparency around energy usage enable Schneider Electric to make better data-based decisions about energy procurement, resulting in sustainable eco-efficiency improvements. With global changes in demand, technology, regulations, and increased awareness of environmental impacts, Schneider Electric is leveraging Industry 4.0 technologies to gain a competitive advantage.