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Digital transformation of energy management and automation

Interview with Marius Persinaru, Country President Schneider Electric Romania & Republic of Moldavia

2017-11-29 15:58:29 - From the Print Edition

2017 marks the twentieth anniversary for Schneider Electric in Romania. What is your feeling on this great achievement?

Celebrating twenty years in Romania is a great achievement given the volatility of many businesses on the local market. I am confident that within the next 20 years we will see the concept of "energy efficiency" becoming an integral part in any company's long-term strategy as well as in the development strategy of cities.
During its two-decade presence on the Romanian market, Schneider Electric has managed to make the difference by helping many customers reach their goals and achieve better efficiency figures with lower environmental impact. We are talking especially about the residential and building sectors, which have been particularly open to energy management solutions.

How do you feel about the company's current development?

We are in the right place, doing what we know best: developing and implementing innovative solutions like EcoStruxure for a better energy management. This is our flagship solution! Our portfolio includes also more niched solutions, developed for specific industry sectors- eg electrical installations, thermal-management systems and many more. What all these solutions have in common is the ability to gather energy-related data and enable our customers to achieve more control and efficiency.
All in all, our plan is to continue to shape a more sustainable and greener future for our customers and the society we are living in.

What is your strategy regarding the expansion on the local market?

The subsidiary in Romania is the biggest of the South-Eastern Europe cluster. Moreover, we have our Customer Care Center located in Bucharest, helping our customers from all over Europe.
We plan to continue achieving sustainable growth in line with the market and delivering innovative energy efficiency solutions. It is my deep belief that energy efficiency is going to be an important part of the strategy for most of the companies. There is no other option except for a better energy management, otherwise we will come to consume more than we produce. From where we stand, these are the keywords defining the future: "sustainable", "efficient" and "green".

What are the main challenges in the Romanian business environment nowadays?

The main issues of the local business environment are related to the challenging fiscal and regulating system and finding specialized workforce. The latter is currently an issue in several industries including: IT, building and manufacturing. This needs to be addressed countrywide, in a strategic way, by improving and updating the education system.
I think complex issues can be solved when public and private entities communicate and work together in the best interest of citizens and the business environment.

How do you see the transformation of the energy market considering the need for energy-efficient solutions?

The growing need for energy is one of the main trends shaping the future of energy. We build more, we have more industrial facilities, everything becomes more and more digital: all these require more energy. At Schneider Electric we believe that we can shape a better energy future by seizing several opportunities. The first is decarbonization: reducing gas emissions is certainly an important step to take. We can already do this by using microgrids in order to achieve lower energy costs and efficiency.
As for digitization, it certainly changes the way consumers use energy: in a more efficient, secure and sustainable manner. Our IoT platform EcoStruxure can be used in grid, industry, buildings, and data centers to help our customers embrace digital transformation more efficiently and better prepared.
Last, but not least, multiple energy sources have a significant impact on the energy landscape. Distributed storage and solar PV are grid edge technologies, which are decentralizing energy and allow for better return on investment figures.

What is the current status of your "Life is On" image campaign?

We launched our global "Life is On" campaign in 2015, aiming to showcase in a plain and straightforward manner how we help our customers transform the way they procure and use energy. The focus of the campaign is on our customers and their ability to make a difference in their organizations but also in the society , in their lifestyle.
"Life is On" is more than a mere slogan. It sums up our mission and reflects the way we promote sustainability and efficiency for businesses and individual customers. Efficiency is one of our main goals when it comes to companies all over the world: less resources and more efficient buildings ensure stronger and more profitable businesses. Sustainability is another pillar for Schneider Electric: we strive to reduce CO2 emissions and allow our customers access to more sustainable resources. Last, but not least, "Life is On" is also about reliability and safety. We embrace safe work for our employees and our partners, in every project.

How is your company coping with the advanced automation trend of Internet of Things and Industry 4.0?

Briefly, industry 4.0 is the trend of connecting physical devices and the additional value it brings to a company. While the idea of placing physical objects in a connected network is not new, the unprecedented volume of connected objects is. Internet of Things is the environment in which we operate and we are prepared to help our customers make the most of it. Internet of Things in the enterprise area means optimized asset tracking and performance – for all assets, not only for some of them. In other words, whenever a machine is not working properly or can be improved in terms of productivity, the company is aware of it in real time and can act accordingly.
Our EcoStruxure system architecture enables the convergence of some of our expertise areas like management of power, IT, building, process & machine and security. EcoStruxure allows for compatibility in key areas, resulting an integrated solution: everything is united, from business and energy strategies to process operations. All applications that are related to energy-related data are unified and carefully monitored: SCADA systems, building and process automation systems, utility billing systems, EMS systems and many more. Energy-related expenses become more predictable and easier to control.

What are the biggest market opportunities for the upcoming years in your opinion?

There are three main areas where we see the greatest potential for a better energy management and efficiency: buildings, infrastructure and industry. According to our estimation, the split of this massive untapped energy efficiency potential is as high as 82% in buildings, 79% in infrastructure and 58% in industry, which is one of the biggest energy consumers, all over the world. Our EcoStruxure platform and system architecture for monitoring and optimizing energy consumption for B2B customers is focused on these areas in particular: buildings, industry, power distribution and also data centers.
It′s been 20 years during which we remained focused on innovation, delivering best-in-class solutions for our customers, that helped them be more energy efficient. We have kept our eyes wide open towards the main tech trends in order to improve and adapt our solutions to them. We pioneered by speaking about emerging trends like IoT long before the public has become familiar with them. These two decades have been about introducing innovative solutions that have shaped a greener and more sustainable future for our corporate and private issuers and we will keep on doing that.



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