In a new audio webcast presentation, Carsten Baumann, a consulting engineering specialist with Schneider Electric, raises two salient points about Secure Power for industry and infrastructure.
As moderator for the presentation, which can be accessed here, two important points stuck out for me: 1) the Secure Power opportunity is a large one because of the digital, connected nature of today’s equipment, and 2) consulting engineers and others involved in designing and operating assets have plenty of support and tools from Schneider Electric to help them fit the right solution for a particular environment.
First, a bit of background on what secure power for industry and infrastructure means. Secure Power is about the protection and optimization of non-IT assets found in commercial and industrial settings. The asset in question could be a navigation system on a ship, a security system in an airport, or medical imaging equipment in a hospital. From a consulting engineer’s perspective, it would likely involve a range of equipment and subsystems that need protection but sit outside the confines of a traditional data center setting.
As Baumann observes in the webcast, one of big trends in industry today is the “digitization” of equipment. For example, medical imaging equipment that a generation ago used to output to film now captures a digital image that is shared via network. Because this equipment is now digitally feeding up information in real time, it needs to be protected by equipment such as uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units to ensure uptime and clean, reliable power.
Many observers, not just Schneider Electric, are pointing out the immense impact of the digitization of equipment and the related trend of the “Internet of Things.” For example, Cisco Systems estimates that by 2016, there will be nearly 18.9 billion smart devices and digitized pieces of equipment using Internet connections, up from 10.3 billion connected devices today. That will far outstrip the number of people (3.4 billion) using the Internet by 2016.
In the health care industry, the era of digitized imaging equipment can be seen in the growing market for picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), which enable x-rays and images to be shared electronically. According to research firm Kalorama Information, the U.S. PACS market reached $1.46 billion in 2010, and is expected to grow at double digit rates through 2015.
To fully protect digitized equipment or other assets that sit outside of a traditional data center environment, there typically is the need to apply some of the same technologies that are used to protect IT assets such as UPS, cooling, or power distribution gear. However, consulting engineers or other professionals who don’t normally design data center physical infrastructure might need help with configuring the most appropriate Secure Power solutions for non-IT assets. This is where the expertise and tools from Schneider Electric come into play, according to Baumann.
As Baumann points out in the webcast, the lines between IT and facility domains are blurring, so professionals involved in the designing, building, and operations of facilities need more IT knowledge than ever before. Schneider Electric, with strengths that span data center solutions, energy management, and infrastructure for facilities, is an ideal source of expertise. For example, as Baumann points out in the webcast, Schneider Electric offers a range of tools and resources than can be applied to Secure Power opportunities, such as “trade-off tool” calculators that estimate return on investment, a “Drawing Selector” online tool, an Engineer Web page, and online training via Energy University.
As the webcast points out, such tools and expertise help consulting engineers and others better understand what is needed to deliver Secure Power solutions. Another means of grasping the Secure Power opportunity is to attend one of the upcoming MIX2013 events put on by Schneider Electric. MIX stands for “Meet, Inspire, Exchange” and aims at helping consulting engineers, mechanical contractors, electrical contractors and other professionals more fully understand the Secure Power opportunity. Look for more information soon on this event.