Schneider: Making energy smart through digital innovation

To solve the climate crisis, the world must become smarter. Through the use of digital technologies, there are benefits for businesses and for the planet

A more electric and digital world is key to addressing the climate crisis, with the innovative use of technology playing a key part. Electricity 4.0, a term coined by Schneider Electric, could well be the answer: representing the convergence of electric and digital at scale, empowering the electricity system to become greener and smarter by harnessing the power of digital technologies.

To enable this energy revolution, Schneider Electric is building the ‘New Electric World’ by providing smart energy everywhere in homes, buildings, data centers and throughout the infrastructure of cities.

Schneider Electric is a global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation. It drives digital transformation by integrating world-leading technologies and has a mission to be a digital partner for sustainability and efficiency. 

Not only does pushing for sustainability provide benefits to the planet, but research has also suggested businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of forging partnerships on the journey to greater efficiency and sustainability. An IDC study commissioned by Schneider Electric found that 96% of companies are either already or considering co-creation with vendors to develop new digital products and services for sustainability and efficiency. Once that happens, the benefits start to flow: according to Accenture, companies that integrate digital and sustainable transformations into their operations and value chains are 2.5 times more likely to be among tomorrow’s best-performing businesses.

Digital innovation: making energy smarter

As companies continue in their missions to reach Net Zero targets, digital has a critical role to play. With digital innovation, the invisible can become visible, eliminating waste and driving efficiency. Digital technology such as metering and monitoring enables businesses to see how energy is being used. Combining this visibility with smart devices, apps, analytics, and software goes a step further and enables Schneider to deploy smart energy more efficiently, meaning a huge amount of untapped potential for energy savings can be addressed.

As part of this ambition, Schneider Electric is developing what it describes as ‘Innovation at the Edge’ through its corporate venture capital (VC) fund, SE Ventures.

With present and pending crises around energy, economy and climate, there has never been a greater need for transformation. As a result, Schneider says it is doubling down on its commitment to finding bold solutions by launching its second €500 million Fund II—bringing SE Ventures to €1bn of committed capital.

“At Schneider Electric, there’s no shortage of talent and expertise laser-focused on developing the technologies that transformed us from a hardware company to the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and industrial automation,” explains Nadège Petit, Schneider Electric’s Chief Innovation Officer. “This is what we call innovation at the core.

“But we also appreciate that research and development (R&D) is just one approach. To reach new heights of innovation, we must draw on the creativity and expertise of the outside world. That’s where SE Ventures comes in.”

Through SE Ventures, Schneider incubates and invests in start-ups creating new technologies and business models to explore cutting-edge technology and trends that could disrupt traditional business models in the future.

“We have invested in and guided hundreds of start-ups to accelerate developments in energy management, electric mobility, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Electricity 4.0 and Industry 4.0,” comments Petit. “We invest globally in disruptive innovators aligned with our goals and purpose, seeking new applications and creating markets to move from invention to innovation.

“We know to solve the climate crisis, the world must become more sustainable, digital, and electric. We also know that these technologies exist today, but we have to move faster.  Therefore, we pursue combinations of climate technologies that address this challenge, and initiatives and business models to speed their deployment.”

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