|Yoon Kim, CEO of Schneider Electric Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar |
How is Industry 4.0 changing the way energy is produced, distributed, and consumed in Vietnam?
Energy is one of the key enablers for Industry 4.0 in Vietnam and it offers a wide spectrum of opportunities and challenges to both the economy and our company. In the context of Industry 4.0, the demand for energy in Vietnam is increasing significantly, and there will be higher demand for efficient energy management as well.
Vietnam has a young population and dynamic economy whose growth, at 7.08 per cent in 2018, is much higher than the global average. However, to catch up with other developed countries around the world to maintain its competitiveness, we believe that energy management would be one of critical factors for Vietnam’s growth. Infrastructure and energy management will be a great incentive for foreign investors as it promises safety, reliability, efficiency, and sustainability for their projects in the country.
I noticed that country is also promoting the concept of smart buildings and smart cities. The smart city concept includes a lot of segments, ranging from commercial and residential buildings, schools, hospitals, hospitalities, data centres, to power generation and water treatment. There are lots of different technologies that varies from building management system, grid management, waste water, waste treatment, energy management and much more. I think everyone agrees that digitalisation will be essential and help Vietnam reach the next stage of becoming one of the key players in the global context.
What is the role of Schneider Electric in promoting energy efficiency in Vietnam during the 4.0 era? Are you partnering with domestic businesses in this mission?
We are committed to helping Vietnam with its development agenda, particularly as a provider of digital solutions for energy efficiency. In 2018, we continued to develop our digital platform called EcoStruxure, which is our architectural Internet of Things (IoT) technology platform for optimal energy management in buildings, data centres, factories, and power grids. Our platform is open and interoperable with different structures and systems, making it highly competitive in the market.
We continuously research and produce international-standard products with an accessible price tag in Vietnam. For example, we are planning to move our entire manufacturing line in Malaysia to Vietnam, which means we will double the production capacity at our Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) factory, which opened in 2017. Most of our premium switches, sockets and home automation products are now manufactured in Vietnam both for the domestic market and exports to global markets.
In 2018, we also signed numerous agreements with Vietnamese industry leaders, helping transfer our technology to domestic partners. For example, our partnership with FPT Corporation aims to develop and implement EcoStruxure in Vietnam and our co-operation go global in the software development, with a focus on Artificial Intelligence, analytics and augmented reality.
With An Cuong Wood Working JSC, we will provide smart building management solutions for An Cuong’s clients. Other manufacturing partners such as A Chau Industrial Technology JSC and Dat Vinh Tien Company will work with us to produce Prisma iPM. Our domestic partners have deep understanding of the Vietnamese market and customers, while we have the modern and integrated technological solutions, resulting in a win-win partnership.
Schneider Electric will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Vietnam this year. What are your greatest achievements and contributions to the Vietnamese economy so far?
We are very proud of our 25-year journey in Vietnam, as we can say that we have been here since Vietnam first opened its economy to foreign investment. In the past 25 years, we have contributed greatly to Vietnam’s development agenda, while growing our business here. For example, from 1991 to 1993, we contributed in the very first north-south 500 KV electric line between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Then, in 1996 we opened Clipsal Factory and between 2011 and 2014 we integrated with Telvent and Invensys. In 2017, as mentioned earlier, we opened our high-technology factory in SHTP. It was also a landmark year as we launched EcoStruxure for the first time in Vietnam.
Throughout our journey and in whatever activity we do in Vietnam, “Life Is On” has always been our motto. We want to ensure that energy is safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable by providing qualified products and efficient solutions, especially the EcoStruxure platform to enterprises and end-users in Vietnam. At last year’s Industry 4.0 Summit in Hanoi, we participated in a panel discussion about industrial automation and digitalisation, which we believe is the next step for Vietnam’s development.
This motto is also embedded in our corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. We support young people around the world with the ‘Go Green in the City’ competition for sustainable and innovative urban areas. We are pleased to see many outstanding projects from Vietnamese students.
Another cross-country programme is ‘Light it Up’, which helps unprivileged people in 18 countries improve their livelihood by selling Mobiya lamps. In 2018, Vietnam had the largest number of lamps donated.
To us, sustainable growth also means investing in future generations. We have partnered with technical colleges in Vietnam to support the development of young electricians and engineers through vocational training.
Following this milestone, what is next for Schneider Electric? How will you continue contributing to Vietnam’s economic growth?
In the future, Schneider Electric will continue to enhance energy efficiency, safety, reliability, and productivity in various business fields. With our flagship technology, EcoStruxure platform, we will keep on offering comprehensive technical solutions and services for smart building management, as well as optimising their application to Vietnamese businesses.
We are proud to receive very positive feedback from customers about EcoStruxure platform, and in the years ahead, we will continue to work with domestic customers and partners to improve the use of analytics in the energy management. We would also want to increase our presence in rural and remote areas, as we see that Vietnamese provinces has been growing with lot of potential.
Some possible areas of focus for us in the coming years include the building segment, which encompasses hospitality and hospitals. Energy management at data centres is another highly potential segment as tech firms move their data servers into the country. Automation, AI and augmented reality at factories are also part of our development strategy.
Last but not least, we will continue to promote our global CSR programmes in Vietnam, especially those that push innovation and sustainability such as the ‘Go Green in the City’ competition or the ‘Light it Up’ campaign. We have been in Vietnam for 25 years, and we hope that we will be able to contribute to Vietnam in next quarters of century to come.