In light of our exciting collaboration with Microsoft, this post takes a look at four innovative technologies that will ultimately combine to boost industrial production: the IoT, the cloud, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality.
“By collaborating better, we can produce a stream of testable ideas that then lead to innovation” – Vahé Torossian, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft France.
IoT improves efficiency
We are making the Internet of Things one of our key focuses when it comes to our partnership with Microsoft, it’s especially important to us as IoT related offerings actually represent 45% of our current sales which include energy management solutions… We have created an IoT enabled ecosystem which consists of three layers: Connected devices, control at local level (i.e., automated production), and the application software. There are even versions of this to suit all of our markets worldwide. While it’s important to understand that no two production plants are the same, these technologies are already working together to:
- Boost productivity at almost 100,000 industrial sites
- Manage everything in real time
- Enhance workplace efficiency
- Collect smart data
- Monitor Schneider Electric’s largest solar power plant’s efficiency and maintain it remotely
- Provide workplace comfort management
“We have structured ourselves so we can move fast, learn faster, launch solutions, and test them quickly” – Christel Heydemann, Executive Vice President of Schneider Electric France.
The cloud intensifies security
Let’s face it, businesses of today need data centers that can keep up with the pace of innovation. Huge volumes of data can be recorded during any kind of industrial production, so the worry of cyber security becomes an increasing problem. One of the deciding factors that led us to choose a partnership with Microsoft was the ability for data collected via IoT solutions to be stored both in the cloud and locally on sites where connection is difficult, without security, reliability and efficiency being compromised in any way – helping boost industrial production on a daily basis.
Microsoft’s experts are the people in the know when it comes to the cloud, and when you are looking to implement a secure hybrid solution to maximize production output at every site, you can’t afford to work with anyone other than the experts.
“Simply having processing in the cloud means we can have much higher security levels than we could have imagined in the past.” – Hervé Coureil, Schneider Electric’s Information Systems Executive Vice President.
Artificial intelligence is working to improve customer relations
Microsoft is always at the forefront of working toward a better future for their own clients and those of their partners, often meeting new demand before anyone else. Case in point, they recently put together a new AI and research group of more than 5,000 researchers and engineers. They’re dedicated to developing advancements in the magical world of AI, building on nearly two decades of existing progress in machine learning and natural language processing.
This kind of research will directly aid us in improving customer relations, by automating the most repetitive part requests that are simple to process – boosting productivity in the most satisfactory way to customers and also allowing employees to dedicate their time to requests that produce more added value.
Thanks to mixed reality, electrical maintenance has taken on a new dimension
Mixed Reality is basically a futuristic hybrid of virtual reality and augmented reality…only a bit more advanced. It uses multiple technologies that scan the physical environment and map surroundings like a smart grid, to know exactly where to place digital content – impressive stuff, right?
Microsoft’s HoloLens has already been ranked as the superior mixed reality device. We actually spotted the potential for its use in electrical maintenance prior to its availability within the industrial environment. This led to the exciting development of our pilot scheme involving HoloLens, exploring how it can become a fundamental component in boosting our industrial production process in the future.
The concept will eventually allow technicians maintaining our products to get help via visualized 3D diagrams, without having to physically dismantle a device – even having instant access to maintenance history data.
To sum up, IoT + Cloud + AI + Mixed Reality = Boosted Industrial Production.
Take a look at augmented reality in action, in this case by improving asset management.