At Schneider Electric’s software-focused conference last year, Ravi Gopinath, executive vice president of the software business, put forth a pledge of game changers that would result from merging Invensys’s software offerings with Schneider Electric’s portfolio. They’ve spent the past year delivering on those promises, transforming the industrial software market with leading technologies and building a strong portfolio with strong penetration rates, said Tom Comstock, vice president of marketing for Schneider Electric Software.
“We’re already delivering value to our customers across every important technology frontier that applies,” Comstock said, pointing to 11 customer presentations at the Wonderware Conference taking place this week in Dallas.
Comstock emphasized technologies in a number of areas, including the cloud, mobility, situational awareness, industrial Big Data, asset performance management (APM) and social/collaboration/workflow.
Schneider Electric committed last year to growing its industry base, added Rob McGreevy, vice president of information, asset and operations software for Schneider Electric Software. “Our continued investment in both the manufacturing sector and infrastructure does continue,” he said. “But we’re also focusing on creating more verticalization.” That means creating more packaged solutions for specific industries, making it easier for customers to apply.
McGreevy’s side of the business is seeing a few key trends, he said, including continued significant investment around information access and mobility, with pervasive mobility being required by all types of users; enterprise APM, with more recent emphasis on predictive maintenance and the company’s new predictive analytics tool, Avantis PRiSM; and transforming manufacturing operations.
With regard to transforming manufacturing operations, McGreevy pointed to the significant increase in mergers and acquisitions within the food and beverage industry in particular. “There’s a necessity to integrate all these plants and sites together,” he said. “If you’re doing consolidation, you have to marry ERP with MES in a much more tighter way than ever before. That means more IT/OT convergence.”
With Wonderware Development Studio Online, Schneider Electric has been taking its engineering tools and putting them into the cloud, noted Norm Thorlakson, global head of Schneider Electric Software’s HMI and supervisory software business.
Ease of use has been at the core of development on next-generation supervisory systems. “We need to make our offers accessible, usable and attainable by more people,” Thorlakson said. “What Rob [McGreevy] is doing for food and bev, we’re also going to be doing with water, oil and gas, infrastructure and mining.”
There is also a strengthened emphasis this year on the Wonderware brand, a change that is being welcomed by customers and partners in this space, which Comstock pointed to as part of the Wonderware team and Wonderware “state of mind.”
The renewed emphasis on the Wonderware brand is no accident, according to Phil Couling, director of HMI/supervisory software product marketing for Schneider Electric, who said the brand had admittedly been diluted by the Invensys message. But since Invensys was acquired by Schneider Electric last year, “we’ve been getting the Wonderware brand back out in front,” he said.
As part of that, they’re bringing back the WonderWorld Tour, with a North American stop in Orlando already scheduled for October 2016.