At the grand opening of Schneider Electric’s new Boston One campus in early September, president and CEO Laurent Vernerey announced that, following the acquisition of Invensys this year, Schneider Electric now has the “portfolio we wanted to assemble” with a foothold in both the discrete and process automation businesses.
This newfound reach across industries underscored the “Game Changer” theme Ravi Gopinath, Ph.D., executive vice president of Schneider Electric’s software business, introduced to kick off the company’s 2014 Software Global Customer Conference.
During his keynote presentation at the conference, Gopinath, Ph.D., said, “We now have a scaled software organization of more than 3,000 people to address specific customer industry problems. This is an industry game changer in terms of opportunities for business value creation by our customers.”
Explaining the integration of Invensys’s software offerings with Schneider Electric’s portfolio and how it will affect existing products and customers, Gopinath said, “We have grouped the integrated portfolio into logical sets of applications that address key business problems in engineering, asset management, operations management, and information management across the value chain for the industrial and infrastructure sectors.”
All of the products in Schneider Electric’s current portfolio, whether from Invensys or Schneider Electric, are now being positioned “based on the kind of problem they solve and area of the customer value chain they address,” Gopinath said. As an example, he explained that a customer can now leverage simulation software from Invensys for refineries as well as simulation software from Schneider Electric for pipelines. “Both are simulation tools, but solve a different class of problem, are parameterized differently and, most importantly, address different parts of the customer value chain in the same broad industrial sector,” Gopinath said. “This allows us to offer significant integrated value to customers and is a tremendous opportunity.”
In instances where a functional overlap exists between Schneider Electric and Invensys software products, Gopinath said the company has initiated programs to achieve a “logical integration, ensuring that unique or industry-specific functionalities are preserved as needed. As the portfolio continues to integrate and evolve we will roll out programs that ensure our customers can make a seamless transition as needed. It is our commitment to our customers to protect the investment they have made, and to support them in deriving the maximum value from our industry leading technologies.”
In terms of how the integration affects issues such as functionality overlaps between Invensys software products and Schneider Electric’s PlantStruxure, Gopinath said, “We view Invensys software capabilities as complementary to PlantStruxure because it enables integration with a variety of PLC hardware, field instruments, and distributed control systems as well as interoperability with third party applications.”
Specific examples of Invensys and Schneider Electric software integration on display at the 2014 Software Global Customer Conference include:
Wonderware System Platform software, combined with Schneider Electric’s Aquis advanced decision-support software, improves water network behavior forecasts, water quality, what-if scenarios and information integrity between measured points for customers operating water distribution networks.
Wonderware Corporate Energy Management software combined with Schneider Electric Power Monitoring Expert software to improve reporting coverage in a variety of manufacturing applications.
Expanded Equipment Maintenance Services with Remote Electrical Asset Monitoring utilizing Wonderware Historian software to help customers manage data collection. That data can then be leveraged with Avantis Enterprise Asset Management and Avantis Condition Manager Software to improve asset performance, analytics and failure prediction, as well as to optimize field service operations and improve uptime.
The Wonderware Alarm Adviser application from the Citect development team helps Wonderware customers optimize alarms for larger SCADA applications.
New connectivity among Citect, ClearSCADA and Wonderware System Platform software unlocks the legacy Invensys software portfolio for the existing installed Schneider Electric base. The Wonderware System Platform integrates other applications including Wonderware Skelta BPM and Avantis Enterprise Asset Management.
The Internet of Things
At the opening of Schneider Electric’s Boston One campus, Pascal Brosset, chief technology officer for Schneider Electric, addressed the long-term vision for the company. A major part of his presentation dealt with the company’s plans to encapsulate the control layer on a chip (SoC) and deploy it in the field to enable Internet of Things capabilities for a variety of manufacturing industries.
At the Global Software Customer Conference, Gopinath added to Brosset’s SoC comments when he said that Schneider Electric’s portfolio across the consumer, industrial, retail, and other markets represents a “significant transformational driver and is a key element of our technology strategy. In the specific world of industrial automation, the connectedness of devices has been a baseline reality for a long time, but the envelope is now expanding with the proliferation of devices that are used to interface with automation systems.”