Jul. 7, 2015

Benoit Dubarle

UAE, Dubai

Benoit Dubarle

President, Schneider Electric in the UAE, Oman, and Pakistan

TBY talks to Benoit Dubarle, President of Schneider Electric in the UAE, Oman, and Pakistan, on the company's main business segments, Dubai as a smart city, and working toward 2030 development goals.


Benoit Dubarle is Country President for the UAE, Oman, and Pakistan for Schneider Electric. He joined Schneider Electric in 1997 and has held several managerial positions within the company in the past 16 years, living in different regions such as France, Hungary, Poland, Cameroon, and now in Dubai. Dubarle is a graduate in Engineering and also has a Business Management degree from INSEAD.

Which of Schneider Electric's business segments has the most importance in Dubai and the UAE?

We have seven targeted segments that bring us the strongest growth and where there is a strong differentiation in our offer to our customers. The first is oil and gas, where we have a dedicated team to follow the sector from the beginning of pre-fitting to the installation of our equipment in the field. The second one is water infrastructure. We provide not only the electricity needed to treat the water and run the desalination and wastewater plants, but also all the software needed to monitor these plants. The third segment is energy, and we focus on delivering equipment for electrical solutions and smart grid software that allows the utility providers to manage their energy supplies in the most efficient way possible. The fourth segment is real estate, especially hotels. There are many hotels in Dubai and across the UAE, and authorities are planning to expand the tourism industry. The fifth segment is healthcare, and the sixth is data centers. More and more data is needed all the time, and this is where we can provide a full turnkey data center for storing and securing data. The last segment is the smart city concept itself. The point at the country level is to make all the component parts communicate together to have a layer of data control that manages the data, the water, and the grid as one.

What is the potential for Dubai to become a smart city and how can Schneider Electric contribute to this goal?

Dubai is already a smart city to some extent, and there is a major focus moving on to the next level. Data and public services can be accessed through your smartphone, and for every public entity we do business with currently, such smart services are being rolled out. We provide a lot of training to these entities. Schneider Electric is well recognized in this field globally. We are one of the top three companies worldwide in terms of creating smart cities, along with Cisco and IBM.

Dubai is developing an integrated energy strategy to improve its energy matrix by 2030. What are the main challenges that Dubai has to face in this sector?

The smart grid is something that Dubai should embrace, and we have high-level workshops with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and other authorities to work toward this. Demand is clearly rising in the Dubai energy sector, and there are several initiatives by the Dubai government to try to control this. One is being carried out by DEWA. It has a department called Etihad Energy Services (Etihad ESCO), which specializes in doing energy saving work on existing buildings. They encourage the private sector to save energy by retro-fitting their buildings with better technology that will allow their buildings to consume less. This is the demand side of the issue, where we can decrease the consumption of energy through existing infrastructure. Schneider Electric is the main provider of this type of technology for these buildings. In every country and city, there are certain seasons of greater consumption. It is important to monitor this consumption by data so that we can adapt production in real time. In the UAE, there is certainly some progress needed on smart grid implementation, and this is one of DEWA's main priorities at the moment. We need to be able to produce just enough energy in accordance with what customers need in real time, while not overproducing and creating more of a carbon footprint.