The “next normal” in business is sustainability

December 28, 2020 | 16:00
With experience and leadership in digital transformation, Eric Leger, senior vice president, Global Marketing, International Operations at Schneider Electric, shared his perspectives on Schneider Electric’s strategies and offers to support enterprises and how businesses and organisations need to balance business operations, transformation, and innovation in the context of the next normal.
the next normal in business is sustainability
Eric Leger, senior vice president, Global Marketing, International Operations at Schneider Electric

With the world entering the next normal, the role of technology and digitisation is becoming more pronounced and is becoming a priority for businesses and organisations. How will it help businesses in the region enhance their competitiveness from an energy management perspective?

Energy demand, particularly in Asia, has and will continue to increase significantly in the coming years. To sustain this rapid expansion of the economy while adapting to the new normal brought about by COVID-19, digitisation is the solution. Asia will need new energy solutions and strategies. Technology and innovation are required for achieving far greater energy efficiency.

Today we can take data information from every flow of energy that is going through our technology in your house, real estate, and factory. Power-critical and energy-intensive industrial businesses across Asia are fighting a battle, unlike anything they have seen before. As they face these challenges, digitisation, power management, and service partnerships can help keep electrical infrastructure running safely, continuously, and efficiently.

Power infrastructures can also now be affordably modernised. Fully digitising your electrical network will leverage intelligent, Internet of Things-enabled connected devices that deliver rich power, energy, and other data from across one or more facilities.

For example, if you are a manufacturing owner and you need electricity to operate the facility, you need factory automation technology to understand the performance and operations of the factory. Schneider Electric provides all devices that enable you to track and monitor your production.

As part of our EcoStruxure Power platform, our award-winning EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert software is purpose-built to help power-critical and energy-intensive facilities maximise uptime and operational efficiency. EcoStruxure Power Advisor offers a proactive, analytics-based service for your power management system, combining expert advice with advanced algorithms to ensure data quality and help you achieve optimised energy performance and power reliability.

the next normal in business is sustainability

Recently, Schneider Electric has organised the Innovation Summit 2020 which introduces the New Electricity 4.0. What is this about?

Today we are on the brink of Electricity 4.0. A convergence of digital and electric, with its scale, scope, and complexity driving a transformation unlike any in history. Digitised power distribution systems are essential to developing resilient, sustainable, and productive buildings and infrastructure of the future. This digital transformation requires us to adopt an outcome-oriented mindset throughout the project lifecycle to meet owner and end-user expectations, minimise risk, and reduce reworks and costs.

The digital transformation of power distribution is a journey that requires commitment from all players in the value chain to adopt a business-outcome mindset.

The old system is being ushered out, leading us to a more efficient, sustainable, and resilient New Electric World, which describes a set of criteria we must achieve: decarbonising demand as well as generating and improving energy efficiency.

The transition of energy towards the mass electrification and digitisation of power distribution is a challenge facing all of us. In the New Electric World, customers' lives will be simpler through digital solutions. That’s why we work together with our ecosystem of partners, building on a foundation of trust, sustainability, and resilience.

In our vision, Schneider Electric helps orchestrate the power ecosystem of design consultants, panel builders, contractors, and system integrators to make the digital transformation of power distribution a reality. For example, we can provide a system-level design approach with standardised architectures, help with specifications like choosing the right technology for the job, or facilitate connections with other players (the best-suited people) in the value chain.

The digital transformation of power distribution is a journey that requires commitment from all players in the value chain to adopt a business-outcome mindset. Schneider Electric is well-positioned to facilitate this transformation with our industry-leading, comprehensive technology portfolio; a vast wealth of domain knowledge and experience; and a collaborative, multi-local partner ecosystem with the global reach, regional expertise, and local representation necessary to deliver.

In your opinion, what will be the key trends for investment in the renewable energy market in Vietnam?

I think the mix of energy will continue to be more balanced than today, the traditional centralisation of the energy generation, transmission distribution will get decentralised with a lot of new producers, including some rooftop solar technology. But fundamentally, the market continues to have two main points to focus: the first one is continuing to digitise the existing installation base on one hand, and on the other hand, to electrify a lot of the country, which has still very little access to the electric infrastructure away from the main city, but to continue to develop access to energy.

What is Schneider Electric's strategy to be the digital partner for sustainability and efficiency? How can your products help Vietnamese business balance sustainability and efficiency?

Schneider Electric continues to develop and roll-out EcoStruxure in Vietnam and other countries in the region, focusing on healthcare, food and beverage, life science, transportation, data centre, and real estate. We integrate EcoStruxure solutions into power grids, energy, buildings, IT, and processes to enable customers to operate and predict what's going on in their installations with the support of automated systems that analyse with AI to promote sustainable orientations.

One of our successful clients is Saint-Gobain (North America), one of the largest building material manufacturers in the world. At the site level, they use energy 24/7 and they have to optimise costs and energy consumption at those sites. They have the proper tools within the plants and the experts to support them in this management. Each plant was buying energy from their local utility. EcoStruxure has been the tool to give them full visibility from the site to the corporate level, to the global level. Thanks to EcoStruxure, they have saved hundreds of millions of dollars and fuelled innovation at the company.

In other cases, E.ON is the largest network company in Sweden. They have a vision and a large project to be completely fossil-free by 2025 and avoiding SF6 gas is a sub-goal in that project. The SF6-free switchgear is a part of their network stations which is a big part of their distribution network to deliver their products to the customers. Digitisation is important for E.ON to be able to have more control of the network.

To learn more about Schneider Electric's comprehensive solution, please visit:

By Anh Duc

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional