Schneider Electric held the Innovation Day: Resilient Digital Transformation today. Opening the conference, Pankaj Sharma, EVP, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric, said the IT and OT convergence is happening all around us. Data centers are enabling the all-digital world through a centralised, regional edge, and local edge hybrid architecture.
Our goal in this era of digitalization is to make the data centers as sustainable and carbon friendly as possible. We need a broad portfolio of connected offers. We can integrate solutions, as well as integrated software and digital services. These three ingredients would help in the long run.
In the context of data centers, there are three factors — building, power, and IT. The future is in automating power. We are having the Schneider EcoStruxure data center that connects the end point to the cloud to maximize the value of data for greater efficiency. We are one of the few companies that take a lifecycle approach. Most of the companies are managed site by site. Data centers enable the integrated company management. Data centers and IT are fundamental to enable the energy and digital transformation.
Challenge of AI and exaptation
Dr. Omar Hatamleh, Technology Integration Manager, NASA, talked about the future of innovation and strategic transformation. According to him, the expected robotics market will be worth about $70 billion by 2025.
The key challenge is artificial intelligence. It is applicable for manual labour and intellectual jobs. We now have algorithms, computing and big data. We also combine technologies. Real world examples include AI, VR, IoT, 5G and robotics. We can create an avatar for the people. You can, perhaps, imagine the capabilities in collective learning.
The global population will be about 9.7 billion by 2050. There is disruption in biotech, AI, etc. We need to bridge the gap between the academia and the industry. The lines are blurring between the industries. Technologies can have vast implications across legal, finance, medicine, etc. Even 3D printers are finding use everywhere.
When strategizing about the future markets, it is important to keep these in mind. Small start-ups can disrupt big businesses and create new markets. There needs to be an incremental approach towards technology. Diversity drives the innovation and provides a competitive advantage. Eg., Amazon has diversified.
Exaptation is a biological term adopted in innovation. It is a process by which the features acquire functions for which they were not originally adapted or selected. We need to validate the key business assumptions early. We also need to take measured risks. Doing nothing, is a greater risk! We need to push the boundaries. Failure cannot be an option, as we all learn from failures.
Having a team and joint resources can help in solving the complex data challenges. We need to establish collaborations that consist of various industries, academia, etc. We can solve anything by working together.
Digital twin and augmenting reality
Delivering a strategy talk on re-imagining intuitive industries, Peter Herweck, EVP, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric, noted that there are examples in metals and mining. The challenge is to go underground and supply the power. Another example is the copper mine in Panama. This is in a remote location with poor infrastructure, a strict timeline, and challenging environmental conditions.
How do we connect from the end point to the cloud? The operator can use the Schneider EcoStruxure. They can use augmented reality to run the machine. The points of interest are located strategically.
A digital twin begins with the EPC 4.0 strategy. Seventy assets are digitalized and maintained in E3D — one of the world’s largest national energy companies. You can design and build. You can also operate and maintain. There is an end-to-end digital thread. You get real time data to use and improve operations. You can also run predictive maintenance.
Digital enablers are much easier to achieve today. You can optimize the data during all the stages. For design and build, there can be analysis of processes and equipment through multiple simulations for optimal safety, reliability and profitability. The Schneider EcoStruxure Asset Advisor has over 100 variables that get measured and computed.
Schneider is working with Adnoc, one of the world’s leading energy producer, and a primary catalyst for Abu Dhabi’s growth and diversification. It is the world’s 12th largest oil producer. We are also working with India’s first greenfield smart city. Cybersecurity is very important. Cybersecurity sophistication continues to grow, with ICS and OT emerging as targets. Schneider is the founding members of the ISA Global Alliance, and Tech Accord partner.
Conservation of energy and automation provides full resiliency and efficiency. Connection is key to digital transparency and remote operations. Integration from design to build, operate and maintain is more than digitalization. It is about improving safety, optimizing processes and increasing the productivity. The future of supply chain depends on resiliency through an integrated digitization. We also need to extend the cybersecurity to the last mile with IT/OT integration.
Building a digitally resilient enterprise
Talking about building a digitally resilient enterprise at the Schneider Innovation Day, Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, AVP, IDC, gave the example of DBS Bank who has been changing the benchmark. It is also changing the balanced scorecard — top tier (40%), middle tier (20%) and lower tier (40%), are managed by DBS.
He said that disruption is all around us. We are building resiliency. The new CEO’s agenda has four disruptive pillars of DX 2.0! These are: addressing new customer requirements. Create empathy at scale. Capabilities — develop into an intelligent organization. Deliver innovative services and experiences at scale. There is a need to create a dynamic work model. CEOs need to drive the industrial ecosystems.
The race towards the future enterprise includes the futures of customers, intelligence, operations and work. There should be empathy, insight, operations and work model — all at scale.
The future of digital innovation will see software capabilities deliver innovation. The future of connectedness will be built around digital. Eg., Domino’s Pizza allowed customers to own the experience and being empathetic in their response. Rambam is working with start-ups to improve its Covid-19 response, for intelligence. For operations, Ford is partnering with 3M and GE to produce masks and ventilators.
So, how mature are organizations worldwide? 37% are opportunistic, and 36% are repeatable, worldwide. 15% are managed, but only 4% are optimized. The digital determination blueprint includes strategy, financials KPIs, business KPIs, and operational KPIs. Integrated strategies and technology roadmaps are uncommon. At least 63% enterprises are in the digitally distraught state. Only 37% are digitally determined. Enterprises need to develop new digital KPIs.
There are islands of innovation in the enterprise IT. Many are adopting the side-car approach. The enterprise IT platform needs to move to digital platform. There is need to design for an integrated technology platform for scale. The DX platform is an integrated technology architecture. It has an intelligent core (data services), developer services, integration and orchestration services, and engagement services. There is need to enable digital services and experience.
By 2022, 30% of APEJ companies will incorporate metrics on digital resiliency for autonomous facilities. By 2023, 50% of CIOs will be entrepreneurial leaders. They will evolve the organizations into centers of excellence that engineer enterprise-wide collaboration and innovation. There is a need to assess maturity and set digitalization goals and digital metrics. There is also a need to invest in digital technologies and skills.
Sustainable data centers
Kevin Brown, SVP and CMO, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric, talked about building sustainable and resilient edge data centers. Not all data centers are created equal. Massive compute and storage are located in remote areas. The regional edge is where large compute and storage is located in central or urban areas. The local edge is the compute and storage.
Recently, hyperscale data centers are demonstrating their focus on renewable energy. We are also investing in technologies that improve sustainability, such as SF-6 free switchgear, advanced battery technology, liquid cooling, and interaction with grid. Now, it is time for the industry to focus on the local edge. Local edge data centers are IT infrastructure enclosures/spaces, etc.
Schneider sees three major edge computing areas — commercial, industrial and telecom. There is also an edge energy challenge coming our way. Energy consumption by the edge data centers will exceed 3K TWh per year in 20 years. Making the edge micro data centers energy efficient at scale is crucial from a resource standpoint. The local edge dominates the availability equation and must be more resilient.
However, there is a paradox: resiliency brings lower efficiency. We are managing, supporting and standardizing using software tools, services and repeatable solutions using the latest technology. We utilize AI for predictive failure.
You can remotely manage local data centers with the Schneider EcoStruxure IT expert. You can get instant visibility, do benchmarking and assessment, device configuration and firmware updates for remote device management, smart alarming and data-driven recommendations, etc. We have invested in new services powered by analytics.
Schneider Electric has an integrated, preconfigured and prefabricated EcoStruxure data centers that deliver predictable performance and mitigate risk. We have a range of data centers, from micro, to row and pod, to prefabricated modular data centers. Schneider also recognizes the need for an ecosystem to meet this challenge. We are working with the physical infrastructure providers, IT equipment providers, etc.
The edge data center energy consumption will create a new challenge for the industry. Availability and sustainability can present a paradox that is forcing us to rethink on how we design and deploy the edge. Manageability, serviceability, and new solutions are enabled by a collaborative ecosystem. Schneider’s focus is to address this challenge.