How does Mexico fit into your global network?
ENRIQUE GONZALEZ HAAS Mexico, within the global spectrum, is a very important country. In terms of employment, it is in the top five. We are a very large contributor within North American manufacturing. Out of the five global design centers that Schneider Electric has, one of them is located in Monterrey. We have more than 150 engineers working in that design center. Currently, we are investing more than $65 million in the upgrade of this center as well as to double the number of highly specialized Mexican engineers. Mexico is a very critical country because of its location close to the US, and it is a growth platform for the rest of region. We have, in the last 10 years, almost doubled our growth. We have a strong market share in Mexico and we are now implementing a new vision of energy management.
ARMANDO MARTÍNEZ It is very important. Mexico has the largest headcount of Johnson Controls employees globally outside of the US, at 26,400 employees. We are bigger than our operations in China and Germany. The company has 170,000 employees in total, and we represent about 15%-16% of that. The number of employees grew 19% between 2011 and 2012. Johnson Controls has 27 industrial plants in Mexico, where most of our people are located, and we have invested more than $200 million annually for the last eight years. It is an important place for us to invest. Our operations here represent about 10% of the company's total global revenues. The company is on the Fortune 500 list, with revenues of $42 billion annually. We are a large company, both in Mexico and globally.
Could you tell me a little more about your “Smart Cities" project?
EGH Today's cities occupy only 2% of the earth's surface, yet they account for 50% of the world's population, 75% of global energy consumption, and 80% of global carbon emissions. Truly, cities are at the forefront of our world's energy and water supply challenges. Cities also face transportation congestion issues that significantly undermine business processes and the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. Schneider Electric's integrated SmartCity solutions are tailored to the unique needs of each city and deliver improved efficiency, sustainability, and livability. Our solutions are comprehensive and practical to deploy and manage. They help cities improve the efficiency and sustainability of all urban infrastructure, yield better and more integrated mobility management, help meet ambitious environmental goals, and yet remain affordable to cities' strained operational budgets.
What are some of the most innovative products you have launched?
AM In our Power Solutions business, we are developing lithium-ion batteries, batteries for hybrid vehicles, and Start/Stop technology. These products have already been launched in the EU, but they are still to come to Latin America. An example of cutting edge technology is the Start/Stop battery technology. Today, when a car is stopped at a traffic light the engine continues to run, so it continues to consume fuel; however, with the Start/Stop battery, when you bring the car to a stop, the engine stops as well. When the traffic light turns green, in a matter of microseconds the engine starts again. In cities like Mexico City, the amount of fuel that could be saved would be significant. In regards to air quality, it would be very important for our customers and for the world. In our Building Efficiency business, we have recently signed several contracts with hotels and buildings where we have been able to change the equipment with newer, more efficient machines, as well as change the windows to employ better insulation. We include software for the operation of the building so customers can save energy by making better use of the machinery, such as elevators; it all adds up.