Schneider Electric and Microsoft recently held a webinar on the topic of ‘Buildings of the future: Smart to autonomous’. The speakers were Anil Chaudhry, MD and Zone President, Schneider Electric, India, and Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
Opening the session, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety of our employees. We are also very focused on providing the digital capability and infrastructure required for any customer. There are three aspects: respond, rebound and re-imagine. First, how do we empower the employee? We first need to have an inclusive and flexible environment that supports the employee. That empathy is the foundation. Microsoft has come together to support all the employees.”
How are we supporting the frontline? We are also here to help the governments, especially, in the healthcare and education segments. We are helping them continue to do what they are doing, and enable them to fight back. Especially, how do you bring data, AI, and all the other capabilities, as well as the remote capability?
The organizations are also doing good work in supporting them. It is not easy for everyone to get on the platform from day one itself. Even the schools and the teachers were never trained to do this. For the customers, how do you enable WFH was also key. Security, privacy and transparency is inbuilt into our platform. As we go along, these will be very critical.
Agility at forefront
Anil Chaudhry, MD and Zone President, Schneider Electric India, added: “These have been times where we have had to re-invent very strongly for our partners, customers, and employees. Our first priority has been to support our employees, customers and partners. They should also be able to continue doing what they have been doing. We have also seen how all these pillars have reacted very fast.
“Most of the partners, mid-to-small enterprises, micro enterprises, etc., have been able to adopt WFH. Agility has also come very much on the forefront. We have been able to react, and connect with the customers and partners.”
He said that we have accelerated the way training was done, as was digital connect. We have also brought innovation to the forefront. We have also supported communities that were very much vulnerable to the Covid-19 situation.
We have also focused on how we can get the youth back with new skills. It has also helped us accelerate the digitization process and connect with our customers. It will also go a long way to refine the productivity of the ecosystem. E-commerce platforms are also on the rise. This situation has accelerated the adoption of our e-commerce platform. The traditional engineering customers have accepted that and come on the Schneider e-commerce platform.
In these testing times, there are sectors like data centers, telecom, healthcare, and energy, who have stood the test of time. There are also industries that have been impacted in these times. Even the society is redefining the Schneider-Microsoft partnership. There is very strong commitment from Schneider on the foundations of this partnership. Our partnership is all about sustainability, efficiency, resilience, and being responsible for the climate change. The future looks even brighter.
Anant Maheshwari, Microsoft, alluded to the fact that there is very large transformation happening in this world. One, there is trust for the individuals, and person-centric. Second, is the trust for data and digital ecosystem that a number of people are using, and the companies are providing. Even the government is getting involved. They are also figuring out the security, privacy and transparency. Three, there are virtual handshakes hand-shakes happening all around us. You don’t even get to meet somebody even before you sign a deal now. Therefore, how do businesses trust each other? That’s an altogether different level of trust.
There are very interactive and secure technologies. Microsoft and Schneider Electric are helping businesses stay responsible, and be adaptable to this change. There are digital apps that tell you whether it is fine to enter a facility. Trust is of multiple dimensions today.
Partnership with Schneider
Elaborating on the Microsoft-Schneider partnership, Maheshwari added that one of the founding parameters of the partnership is the desire to co-innovate, create solutions, etc. We are harnessing the power of Big Data, AI, IoT, especially, to transform businesses, and also solve customer problems at scale. Data and cloud capability are also coming together. Capgemini is a customer who has used the EcoStruxure.
Chaudhry noted that all the partnerships are based on fundamental principles. Schneider’s EcoStruxure platform and Microsoft Azure are bringing in solutions. These are providing the data around which services are being provided, when you have to manage them remotely. People want real-time data on the occupancy of buildings to monitor their space.
How can they do the best utilization of the buildings? This real-time data should help the buildings maintain energy usage. They should be able to track the overall efficiency of the buildings. Now that things are being remotely controlled and maintained, we need to be able to diagnose them. We also need to take preventive maintenance steps. Whenever we digitise any building, there is an overall impact on the efficiency by 10-30%.
The experience of the occupants of any building is going to be very important. Experience is all about trust. We want more and more contactless operations. Buildings of the future have to focus on the well-being of the occupants. There is need for a very strong infrastructure. How are we using the real-time data for the future building designs?
We need to make the buildings as a unified location, and make them autonomous buildings. We also need to keep in mind that the data is kept safe. We can monitor buildings 24/7, give them the data, and make the occupants feel confident, etc. All stakeholders feel safe, and get extra value and trust. That’s how we are looking at the future of autonomous buildings.
In a separate session, Sanjay Sudhakaran, VP Digital Energy, Schneider Electric India, said there will be an unprecedented change in the real estate. There are changes across globalization — 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050, risk — $6 trillion predicted annual cost of damages due to global cybercrime in 2021.
In digital — there will be 20X more connected devices than people by 2021, sustainable development – 39% of global energy-related CO2 can be attributed to the global construction and buildings sector, and war for talent – with 7% millennials saying they would take modest pay cut for better office environment. Human capital is the most important element.
Data is the key to solve our problems. There are things like lighting management, building management system, smart telephony, access control, EV charging, energy monitoring system, lift management system, visitor management system, and parking management.
Guillaume Estegassy, Worldwide Lead, Smart Place & Smart Building, Microsoft said that data chaos is at the core of the building inefficiency. How can we make sense of the data? There will be building transformation. It will move from smart to autonomous.
We have remote management, intelligent IoT sensors, health safety, integrated system, predictive analysis, contactless operations, smart sensing, and condition-based maintenance, etc. You can future proof your buildings using even better solutions. Microsoft Azure takes care of AI, ML and Big Data, besides cyber security and digital services.
Sudhakaran added that Schneider EcoStrucxure Advisory Suite has features such as building advisor, power advisor, workplace advisor, asset advisor electrical, and resource advisor. There are close to 30,000 assets being monitored across the globe in over +19 countries, at 1,000+ sites. The building advisor has AI for HVAC systems. You can improve the productivity and comfort, maximize efficiency, and increase the value of the building.
The AI for electrical network increases the reliability, improves decision making, and reduces risk and liability. The AI for workplace leads to ensuring safe distancing, monitor occupancy levels, occupant well-being, and enhanced experience. Eg., Capgemini is a customer who has used the EcoStruxure.