Schneider Electric Asset Performance Management Offering Shows Growth

Schneider Electric Asset Performance Management Offering Shows Growth

So last week I shared an update on Schneider Electric from the ARC Forum–mostly on cybersecurity. A helpful marketing person guided me to the press release with all the data that updated the software side of the week’s news–specifically asset performance management. For the most part the discussion did not center on product updates but on “increasing momentum surrounding customer adoption”. In other words, Schneider wanted to highlight an area of software not often brought to center stage and show that it is a growth area.

Kim Custeau (I misspelled her name in my last post, I believe–thank you autocorrect), Asset Performance Management Business Lead, shared how investments in the cloud, advanced machine learning, and augmented reality, coupled with new partnerships, have empowered customers.

“Defining and executing an asset performance strategy is a critical component to improving productivity while safeguarding business continuity,” she said. “We have been delivering proven, industry leading asset performance solutions for nearly 30 years, and continue to invest in a long-term strategy to drive innovation in this area. Our focus is to provide real value to our customers by empowering them to maximize return on capital investment and improve profitability. We are proud to see our customer results speak for themselves with significant savings.”

Machine learning and prescriptive analytics:

  • Duke Energy prevented an estimated $35 million cost from early warning detection of a steam turbine problem
  • Ascend Performance Materials now responds faster to alerts saving an estimated $2 million through avoided plant shutdowns

Augmented Reality:

  • BASF is implementing AR to improve asset performance, reliability, and utilization while increasing production efficiency and safety because technicians leverage an augmented digital representation of the asset.

Cloud and Hybrid Deployment:

  • WaterForce partnered with Schneider Electric to develop and IIoT remote monitoring and control system in the cloud that allows farmers to operate irrigation pivots with greater agility, efficiency, and sustainability.

New Partnerships:

  • MaxGrip and Schneider Electric announced a partnership to expand APM consulting and add Risk-based Maintenance capabilities. The APM Assessment is a first step for industrial companies to evaluate asset reliability and digital transformation strategy.
  • Schneider Electric and Accenture completed development of a Digital Services Factory to rapidly build and scale new predictive maintenance, asset monitoring, and energy optimization offerings. As a result, a large food and beverage company saved over $1 million in maintenance costs
Improve the Climate And Also Improve Business Profits

Improve the Climate And Also Improve Business Profits

Let’s put aside politics and just talk good business strategies. I had a boss. He was quite conservative on the political scale. It was the time of “sustainability”. He thought that was only liberal, tree-hugger gibberish. I told him–think money. Less waste equals more profits. Waste is unsustainable.

Those of us who think Lean, think about how to reduce waste.

As usual, where politicians bicker, businesses do things to improve profits while also benefiting the environment.

This report came to me.


  • RE100 total renewable electricity demand of over 159TWh/yr is now equivalent to the 24thlargest country electricity use – ranking between Poland and Egypt;
  • 25 companies had reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016; five of these in 2016
  • With three new members announced today, RE100’s 122 members are increasing renewables capacity globally, with operations spanning 122 countries.

LONDON: A rapidly growing group of ambitious multinational businesses are actively reshaping the energy market through their global investment decisions and accelerating a zero emissions economy, a new report release today (Tuesday January 23) shows.

‘Approaching the tipping point: how corporate users are redefining global electricity markets’, a new report from RE100 – a global corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP –  tracks progress made in 2016-17 by companies committed to 100% renewable power.

The report also provides insight into emerging trends in corporate sourcing of renewables around the world, with 122 RE100 members operating in 122 countries averaging 1.3 times more renewables in their electricity mix than the global rate of renewable electricity use.

Thanks to falling costs of renewable energy technology, there is a notable shift away from renewable energy attribute certificates towards direct contracts with suppliers, as well as onsite generation and offsite grid-connected generators (power purchase agreements, or PPAs) – meaning that increasingly, members are directly growing renewable energy capacity.

Specific findings in the report include:

  • 25 members had reached 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2016, with Autodesk, Elopak, Interface, Marks and Spencer and Sky reaching this goal during 2016, while Equinix and Kingspan surpassed their interim targets during the same year;
  • The biggest achievers in 2016 included Bank of America, Astra Zeneca and Coca Cola Enterprises Inc., whose share of renewable electricity increased more than threefold;
  • The proportion of renewable electricity being sourced via power purchase agreements grew fourfold in 2016, while the quantity of electricity sourced from onsite generation increased x15 (via supplier-owned projects) and x9 (via member-owned projects);
  • 88% of respondents cited the compelling economic case for renewable electricity as a major driver – with 30 out of 74 reporting that renewable electricity was either cost competitive or delivered significant savings on energy bills;
  • Policy barriers represent the most common challenge for RE100 companies, alongside a lack of availability of suitable contracts or certificates in some markets.

The report comes as government and business leaders gather at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss pathways to a sustainable economy, and a few days after Nike signed its second major wind contract, in Texas, US, that will take the company more than half way to reaching 100% renewable electricity globally as part of RE100.

Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, said: “I’d like to congratulate every RE100 member accelerating the roll-out of renewable energy through their investment decisions. Their leadership is vital for overcoming policy challenges, shifting global markets, and inspiring many more companies to reap the economic benefits of renewable electricity. Rapidly growing demand from world-leading RE100 companies – and increasingly their suppliers and peers – means governments can confidently look to ratchet up targets in 2020 for slashing greenhouse emissions, to deliver on the Paris Agreement.”

Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP, said: “CDP data shows a jump in renewable energy procurement and that motivations are not only environmental but economic. With nearly 90% of companies driven by the economic case for renewables, this demonstrates a fast approaching tipping point in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.  These companies prove that energy is becoming a board level issue across the globe and sustainability is essential for future business security. Now, it’s time to tip the balance and make 100% renewable the new normal.”

Regional trends

The report also shows key findings by region:

  • In Europe, renewable energy has been the main source of electricity for RE100 members for the second year running. However, the lucrative PPA market is largely untapped; EU policy makers have an opportunity unlock its full potential through the next phase of the Renewable Energy Directive;
  • In the US, we have seen a major increase in the use of PPAs by RE100 members, with continued momentum on renewable electricity sourcing by major businesses, despite political uncertainty;
  • In India, the amount of renewable electricity consumed by our members has more than tripled, thanks to falling costs. The diversity of ways in which companies are sourcing renewables has also increased.


RE100 now brings together 122 global companies, with a collective revenue of over US$2.75 trillion and operations spanning six continents. Together they represent over 159TWh of demand for renewable electricity – more than enough to power Malaysia, New York State or Poland, and equivalent to the 24th largest electricity demand of all countries.


The Climate Group is an international non-profit organization, founded in 2004, with offices in London, Beijing New Delhi and New York. Our mission is to accelerate climate action. Our goal is a world of under 2C of global warming and greater prosperity for all, without delay. We do this by bringing together powerful networks of business and governments that shift global markets and policies. We act as a catalyst to take innovation and solutions to scale, using the power of communications to build ambition and pace. We focus on the greatest global opportunities for change. Our business campaigns RE100 (renewable electricity), EP100 (energy productivity) and EV100 (electric vehicles), brought to you as part of the We Mean Business coalition, help companies to reduce emissions, enhance resilience, and boost the bottom line. They champion leadership, encourage the sharing of best practice, and tackle barriers to action. Visit and follow us on Twitter @ClimateGroup and Facebook @TheClimateGroup.

Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDPRE100 is a collaborative initiative uniting the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. Renewables are a smart business decision, providing greater control over energy costs and driving innovation, while helping companies to deliver on emission reduction goals. RE100 members, including Global Fortune 500 companies, have a total revenue of over US$2.75 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors – from Information Technology to automobile manufacturing. Together, they send a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Visit and follow us on Twitter @theRE100 #RE100.

CDP is an international non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Voted number one climate research provider by investors and working with institutional investors with assets of US$100 trillion, we leverage investor and buyer power to motivate companies to disclose and manage their environmental impacts. Over 6,300 companies with some 55% of global market capitalization disclosed environmental data through CDP in 2017. This is in addition to the over 500 cities and 100 states and regions who disclosed, making CDP’s platform one of the richest sources of information globally on how companies and governments are driving environmental change. CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, is a founding member of the We Mean Business Coalition. Please visit or follow us @CDP to find out more.

Artificial Intelligence In a Module Learns Process, Alerts Personnel

Artificial Intelligence In a Module Learns Process, Alerts Personnel

OK, so I study productivity, write about it occasionally, and practice what I preach—almost. Back from five trips in six weeks, getting back in the routine is proving tough. Yesterday I dove into email and didn’t come up for air until afternoon. Missed my post.

I’m still catching up from my Rockwell Automation trip the week before Thanksgiving and my Hewlett Packard Enterprise trip the week after. No, I don’t get jet lag. It’s just finding my morning routine.

Today’s post number one is another Rockwell Automation post. Last year witnessed the introduction of a little bot called Shelby. It was essentially an iPhone app similar to Siri. These bots incorporate Artificial Intelligence (or Machine Learning) and voice interaction. This year, the company expanded on the technology.

These bits of technology will be commonplace in a very short time.

Rockwell’s background discusses how expert data scientists requiring weeks of work plumb reams of data to uncover insights. Rockwell claims that expertise has been boxed in the new Project Sherlock artificial intelligence (AI) module.

This data-driven analytics algorithm is delivered inside a module that fits directly into the controller chassis. Once installed, Project Sherlock AI leverages novel physics-based modeling to “learn” the application that controller manages. The solution scours controller tags to identify the application or allows users to choose what they would like modeled by selecting inputs and outputs via an add-on-instruction (AOI). Project Sherlock AI will then quickly learn from the stream of data passing through the controller to build a model. This process can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. Vast quantities of historical data are not required, nor must the data ever leave the automation layer.

Once the model is built, the Project Sherlock solution continuously watches the operation looking for anomalies against its derived, principled understanding. If it spots a problem, it can trigger an alarm on an HMI screen or dashboard. Future iterations will go beyond diagnostics to direct users on how to remedy the issue or to automatically adjust system parameters to fix the problem without human intervention.

“Project Sherlock brings industrial producers amazingly smart analytics in a package that is easy to implement,” said Jonathan Wise, platform leader for the Control and Visualization Business, Rockwell Automation. “As our customers undergo digital transformation – using production data to help improve business outcomes – they can’t wait on expert-driven analytics. Even if there were enough industrial data scientists out there, not every company has the time or funds to employ them. This machine-learning tool creates powerful analytics from your automation infrastructure, painlessly – delivering value moments after it’s dropped in the Logix backplane.”

Project Sherlock diagnostics offer drastically reduced false-positive alarms as compared to other artificial intelligence solutions due to its physics-based modeling and foundation in industrial applications. For example, Project Sherlock AI can tell if a boiler temperature shift is related to a benign change in upstream operations or an abnormality that requires correction.

The initial version of Project Sherlock AI will include ready-to-use templates for boiler, pump and chiller operations, ideal for process or hybrid applications. Users can model additional applications with guided configuration.

Communications with the module are prioritized by the controller, so users can select how much data is sent and intervals of communication. The module does not add to controller CPU-load nor add to network traffic. Project Sherlock AI pilots have been running and producing results for the past 18 months.

Customers will be able to purchase the module in mid-2018.

This new artificial intelligence engine is part of a larger, expanding ecosystem of analytics offerings from Rockwell Automation that run across the plant floor for devices, machines and systems, as well as throughout the enterprise. Rockwell Automation developers are building connections so users who employ FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices tools will be able to interface with Project Sherlock AI via the Shelby chatbot and action cards. Analytics from Project Sherlock AI will be easily integrated into the FactoryTalk Analytics Platform to integrate plant-floor data into business intelligence strategies.

Hit Refresh The Remaking Microsoft

Hit Refresh The Remaking Microsoft

Turning a giant organization that has the great inertia can be likened to turning a large ship at sea. It takes great force and a lot of space. Such is the task of remaking Microsoft.

Satya Nadella has been CEO of Microsoft replacing the combative Steve Ballmer more than three years ago. I’ve seen him speak at conferences at least three times. I’ve talked to many Microsoft people. He truly has turned that big mass toward the future.

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone tells Nadella’s personal story, as well as his business and leadership.

He begins personally. The key takeaway is his discovery of empathy. I imagine that that value was in short supply in Redmond during Ballmer’s tenure. Nadella talks about a mentor, but also the birth of a handicapped child and what the family learned while caring for him introducing him to the emotion and value of empathy.

Like most people with an MBA, he was steeped in strategy theories. As he thought about his task as the new leader of Microsoft, naturally he thought about strategy.

His early three-pronged message was
1. Reinvent productivity and business processes
2. Build an intelligent cloud platform
3. Move people needing Windows to wanting Windows

Remembering Peter Drucker’s dictum, “Culture eats strategy,” he also move quickly to change the corporate culture. He includes a few stories revealing how he went about that gigantic task.

His view of what leaders tasks are:
1. Bring clarity
2. Generate energy
3. Find a way to deliver success

He has given much thought to values. These are similar thoughts to what we hear at National Instruments’ gatherings—engineers solving the world’s biggest problems. He urges policy makers, mayors, and others not to try to replicate Silicon Valley but instead to develop plans to make the best technologies available to local entrepreneurs so that they can organically grow more jobs at home—not just in high tech industries but in every economic sector.


10 Steps To Ultimate Productivity #10StepsBook

10 Steps To Ultimate Productivity #10StepsBook

As many of you know, I use an app called Nozbe as part of my Getting Things Done practice for personal productivity.

Several years ago I wrote about GTD and soon heard from a guy called Michael Sliwinski. He was from Poland and had written an app oriented toward David Allen’s GTD methodology. He told me about Nozbe. I was using something else but not thrilled with it. After a few months I tried Nozbe seriously and got hooked.

Michael is in the process of writing a book to complement use of his app and introduce people to productivity. I’ve read a draft of the forward of the book. In it he mentions myths of people who use productivity systems.

One myth concerns the type of people who use a system. He calls them “dweebs”. You know, those unimaginative, dull, plodding sort of people.

Truth be told, creative people are usually quite organized in their lives. They have a morning routine (usually write or draw first then exercise; executives work out first as a general rule) and like organization and regularity.

I’m a writer. I find that having a productivity system allows me to focus on one thing at a time and get it done. There are things that interfere, but I can always start my day off on the right foot.


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