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At the Schneider Electric Xperience Efficiency 2013 event in Washington, D.C. early this month I caught up with Alistair Pim, who is Vice President of Global Strategic Alliances for Schneider Electric. This is not an easy task, as living up to the “Global” part of his title requires Pim to spend quite a bit of time traveling the globe.
But he was in D.C. for the full three days of the event, where he was hosting a keynote panel exploring ways in which IT companies can collaborate with infrastructure companies like Schneider Electric to build smart cities.
As he mentions in the short video we filmed at the event, the panel included representatives from IBM and Microsoft along with Accenture, Navigant Research and Schneider Electric’s VP of Smart Cities, Jim Anderson. Part of the goal was to learn from IT companies how to mine data to find the valuable nuggets.
“IT companies know well how to mine data to make it useful and actionable,” Pim says. At the same time, IT companies have been interested in engaging with cities to make them smarter. “I believe that together, combining their experience and understanding of how data can be best used with our understanding of all the operational systems, we can really help cities solve some of their problems,” he says.
Schneider Electric also used the event to announce two partner-related programs, the EcoStruxure Technology Partner Program for technology partnerships and EcoStruxure Alliances Program for global strategic alliance partners.
“They will help us collaborate better internally, align our resources behind some of our key partners, and help them integrate into our EcoStruxure architecture,” says Pim, who also authored a blog post on the announcements.
Part of the EcoStruxure Technology Partner Program centers on Web services APIs, he notes. “That’s all about how you connect our software with other partner’s software in a simple, efficient way using standard protocols. I believe it’s going to help us drive innovation,” he says. “We don’t know what sort of problems it’s going to solve right now but it’ll just make it easier for us to collaborate, whether it’s us providing some of our software to [a partner’s] solution or vice versa.”
That will help with issues such mining data for those useful nuggets and will also help Schneider Electric more easily and effectively integrate its products with those from partners such as IBM. “We have to know how to collaborate with them,” because IBM is often tapped as the integrator for large smart city projects. “This program will help enable that,” Pim says.
Such alliances are crucial if we are to keep CO2 levels from rising too fast, which is a topic Pim has touched on previously. The challenge that is particularly acute in cities, simply because they have large concentrations of people.
“If we focus on cities as the crucible for experimentation, we’re going to learn how to be more efficient,” he says.
You can learn more about these issues and more at upcoming Xperience Efficiency events around the globe. Next up is Dallas this week, June 18, 19 and 20, where keynote speakers will include former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.
For information on Schneider Electric’s solutions for Smart Cities, visit our solutions pages.