What have been the main achievements and developments in 2017 for Schneider Electric in the UAE?
The UAE, the region, and the world are being shaped by the three mega-trends of rapid urbanization, digitization, and industrialization, along with the “new normal" of lower oil prices. In order to drive energy efficiency across a wide range of industry verticals, Schneider Electric has seen strong success in diversifying our business models from oil and gas into building, transportation, water and waste water, oil and gas, utilities, and data centers. Developing these new solutions has helped our customers to overcome the challenge of lower oil prices and support UAE Vision 2021 and national visions across the region. Our most innovative customers include the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and its Panorama Command Center, the Hilton Garden Inn Mall of the Emirates and EcoStruxure Building solution, integrating building management systems, the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water and a nationwide smart metering project, and the Kuwait Oil Company and smart meters and smart training through virtual reality environments.
How is Schneider Electric using the Internet of Things (IoT)?
For us, 2017 was an exciting year in which we officially launched EcoStruxture architecture, our digitalization approach related to IoT. In April we demonstrated our connected products and solutions for the first time to more than 4,000 customers at a large innovation summit at Atlantis Palm in the presence of many governmental bodies and the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister of Communication and Information Technology. It was a major success because people are increasingly seeing Schneider Electric as a holistic energy efficiency company. Our partners became part of this journey of transformation and integrated our solutions into their systems. We are now being consulted for solutions by various industries, such as manufacturing and cement. In our quest to educate the market and reach out to our customers, we created the Innovation Hub on Wheels, where we displayed 17 IoT usage cases so that people from various industries can visualize how these can help them. We demonstrate how to measure efficiency and how connected products help to control and analyze data. The IoT usage cases can apply across industry, oil and gas, software analytics, performance management, and contracting. The Innovation Hub on Wheels has been a revelation throughout 2017 and is traveling across the Gulf, including with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority in the UAE, and with the Knowledge Oasis Muscat in Oman. The Innovation Hub on Wheels is also going to universities to show students what energy efficiency is and what it means to have green buildings and a decarbonized environment. In small sessions, we show how a huge industry can optimize operations, using real examples that we have implemented in Saudi Arabia.
Are you seeing an acceleration toward energy efficiency within the private sector?
There is an acceleration on the power generation side, where there are many solar projects. For example, we are working with some of the UAE's largest organizations to install solar panels on parking facilities and rooftops to generate electricity. As the world becomes more electric, connected, and distributed, the UAE is a global leader in digitalization and decarbonization of energy.
How do you assess the progress that has been achieved in the implementation of the smart grid?
Smart grid implementation is going well, especially in the UAE. In general, the authorities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain are moving forward in implementing the solutions, and we are seeing continued interest among utilities players across the UAE and the wider Gulf region.