Microsoft’s annual partnership event is inspiring to its 16,000 attendees from 130 countries, showcasing where we’ve been together and, more important, where we’re going.
In recent years, Schneider Electric has joined forces with Microsoft to advance new and innovative ways of connecting people, data, and processes to create value for our customers. There are many examples that underscore how successful this partnership has been at solving unique problems.
We recently worked with WaterForce, a leading provider of water management and irrigation solutions in New Zealand to develop a cloud-based, mobile control solution. It’s built on Microsoft Azure’s collection of integrated cloud and IoT services. This solution lets farmers manage their irrigation systems remotely from their phones. Farmers easily can set and adjust the water based on soil type, crop, and weather conditions. They also can save electricity by using the pumps more efficiently.
WaterForce demonstrates that irrigation agility is about more than just ease and convenience. It’s also about sustainability. More accurately controlling water use and pumps is essential for sustainable farming and freshwater conservation. With Microsoft, we’ve handed over digital control capabilities in an easy yet powerful and mobile format.
Opening the IoT world
Our Microsoft partnership is widespread. Microsoft Azure opens the IoT world to all of Schneider’s end markets: building, grid, industry, and data centres. We’re leveraging this cloud platform as part of the backbone of our EcoStruxure™ architecture to scale, escalate, and deliver our digital services, apps, and analytics. Microsoft advancements enhance our innovation efforts. Azure allows our 4,000 industrial partners to improve our R&D and/or bring it to specific markets.
Take drinking water management, for example. The combination of our industrial software and Azure is making a big impact in Seminole County, Florida. Water plant managers and operators are using big data to improve their ability to ensure safe drinking water for more than 440,000 residents. Now they can see plant data on their mobile devices and make critical operational decisions in minutes.
Beyond the Internet of Things
That’s just the tip of the IoT iceberg. In 2016, we reached a turning point in innovation with the development of Microsoft HoloLens applications. In industry, this mixed reality technology takes our industrial maintenance, asset performance, training, and safety offerings to another level. Plant operators can engage in immersive training experiences that help them simulate operational decisions in many “what if?” safety scenarios. Operators also can use mixed reality applications to fix equipment problems on the spot.
Closing the energy gap
Energy management, efficiency, and safety have driven our Microsoft collaboration for years. At the same time, we are addressing the fact that there are still 1.2 billion people in the world who don’t have access to electricity. Microsoft Azure supports us in closing this energy gap. For example, we’re using it to optimize solar power plants that serve healthcare clinics and 172 schools throughout Lagos, Nigeria. We are channeling IoT technologies and energy solutions to make sure better educational tools and healthcare can reliably reach rural areas.
Our digital transformation
Microsoft has supported and accelerated Schneider’s digital transformation, with customers at the core. We’re using Microsoft artificial intelligence to improve customer relations directly. We have pilot projects in the works, including a chatbot using Digital Bot Framework. Our goal is to create value for customers by automating repetitive steps so that our customer relations specialists can dedicate their expertise to requests faster than ever before.
30 years and counting
Our 30-year-old relationship with Microsoft continues to grow. Stay connected to see what the future of our partnership brings. We promise that it will inspire you.