Will 2015 be a breakthrough year for the Internet of Things?

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Get ready: we’re about to see some big advances in what digitization delivers

Digitization brings a lot. Data is growing exponentially. In fact, almost 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the past two years alone. People and machines are gaining easier access to more intelligence, and we expect solutions that are connected to – and leverage the power of – that intelligence.

Schneider Electric is at the forefront of putting this Internet of Things (IoT) to work for enterprises, industries, cities and living spaces across the world. IoT is breaking silos and borders within business.


Earlier this year, I attended a conference in China. China’s skyline today, especially in a tier two or three city, is marked with cranes. A population unto themselves, they tower above cities that are the hotbeds of one of today’s most urgent environmental issues: urbanization. But these cranes are players in another trend impacting our world, and that’s digitization.

Today, a crane in a development zone in China will not just be operational; it will be intelligently operational. It is equipped with sensors but did you know that it will be also host its own data center? Every second, sensors deliver data on height-above-sea-level, angle, load balance, and more. And that data is analyzed in real time, thanks to computing capabilities that stretch to “the edge”.

As I discussed on CNBC at Davos 2015 in January, we’ve produced smart technologies for some time, 20 years in fact. But there are some critical changes that have taken place in the market that signal a next evolution. Consumption of these sophisticated technologies used to be reserved for the B2B world. As these smart technologies become simpler and more affordable, the shift to consumers is inevitable. It has already happened. With this new-found power, consumers are putting pressure on enterprises to manage this internet of things better. Partner this with seamless communication, everywhere, and cloud services to collect and aggregate data for predictive analytics and behavior, and yes, we may be in for a breakthrough year in IoT.

At Schneider, we’re not merely adapting to this changing world—we’re building it. We have been actively nurturing a portfolio to perform in this space: while remaining true to our fundamentals of energy and automation, we’ve now added new capabilities with software and connectivity to help industries, enterprises, cities, manage process better with solutions that are making everything smarter, more efficient and more sustainable. Our Invensys acquisition is strategic: we’ve added industry automation capabilities with solutions like SimSci simulation software; a set of professional tools that power process design, simulation, operator training, and process optimization. It is software like SimSci that makes sense of digitization.

These are indeed exciting times and we’re aware that for our customers, digitization is opportunity. And “on-demand” isn’t just a buzzword—it’s the new reality. This is top of mind as we dive into new possibilities of 2015. Although we cannot predict the future, one thing is certain: we ensure that no matter where data is created, transmitted or stored, it is always available, and useful for our customers, and their ecosystems.


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