Schneider Electric has expanded its partnerships with technology companies to address the convergence of IT and OT.
Bringing together system integrators with IT solution providers to build integrated industrial edge computing solutions, the expanded partnerships have resulted in the immediate release of three programs including: new reference designs, co-developed with AVEVA, and integrating solutions from Lenovo and Stratus; a learning path for system integrators; and a collaborative online community for learning and sharing opportunities within Schneider Electric Exchange. The industrial edge programs from Schneider Electric empower system integrators to expand their value to the end user, enabling their customers’ industrial digital transformations.
“The smart factory is becoming smarter. Our expanded partnerships and new industrial edge programs empower system integrators to leverage their domain expertise and become IT/OT convergence specialists and meet these needs for their customers,” said Philippe Rambach, Senior Vice President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric. “We know that smart manufacturing is driving an unprecedented wave of IT technologies into industrial spaces. As companies leverage AI, robotic processing automation, and more, they will require edge computing solutions to reduce latency and enable resiliency, while ensuring privacy and security, and addressing important data and bandwidth requirements.”
What is the Industrial Edge?
For industrial operators to capture the benefits of increased automation, they cannot rely on cloud-technology alone to bring the resiliency and speed demanded by AI, HD cameras and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Local edge data centers are IT infrastructure enclosures/spaces/facilities distributed geographically to enable endpoints on the network. When in industrial environments such as a manufacturing plant or distribution center, this application is referred to as “industrial edge.” Analysts have identified the edge as becoming increasingly important.
“The industrial edge is one of the fastest-growing segments of industrial automation and a key driver that is influencing digital transformation,” according to Craig Resnick, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group. “To achieve the shortest possible ROI, manufacturers must properly measure asset performance, rapidly identify any problem areas, and make any crucial changes in real-time that will drastically improve their operations. The industrial edge is where this important on-site data capture occurs, real-time analysis of this data is performed and converted into intelligent information, and then shared with the cloud and throughout the entire enterprise while addressing manufacturers’ concerns, such as latency and security for production environments.”
Opening up new business models for system integrators, the newly announced industrial edge programs include:
Reference designs that integrate leading edge technologies to simplify design process
Schneider Electric has unveiled new industrial edge reference designs, co-developed with AVEVA, including solutions from Lenovo and Stratus. Reference designs are available* in Schneider Electric’s Local Edge Configurator and can be customized to specifications. These new designs are a key factor in industrial edge success. World Wide Technology finds the “ability to pre-configure technology platforms and devices before shipment increases deployment speed and can reduce field engineering costs by 25-40%, increase order processing speed by 20%, and reduce maintenance costs by 7%.”
Based on the most common use cases in industrial automation, the reference designs reduce risk and time to market with fully customizable, pre-integrated EcoStruxure Micro Data Center solutions for any edge environment. System integrators will be freeing up time from the IT architecture to focus on the software and solutions, thanks to fully validated, secure solutions designed to the standards requested by IT departments.
A professional development path for system integrators to address new requirements of industrial edge computing
Edge computing is an emerging trend for the industrial space presenting a new opportunity for system integrators to extend their business model and establish their role as consultants in both the OT and IT requirements. This new learning program includes a comprehensive digital training series for system integrators on EcoStruxure Micro Data Center and EcoStruxure IT solutions and how they can address common challenges at the edge. The 14-session development program focuses on how to leverage the reference designs and IT solution providers to deliver complete IT/OT convergence solutions for end users. To access the digital training series, system integrators will connect through their Schneider Electric Alliance Partner Portal.
An Industrial Edge Exchange Community to increase business opportunities and foster collaboration
Built within Schneider Electric Exchange, the new Industrial Edge Community allows system integrators to easily identify and engage with edge-certified IT solution providers. The Industrial Edge Community is designed to facilitate new business and address IT/OT projects. The Exchange platform also features a tool that pairs Alliance System Integrators with Schneider Electric’s Edge-certified IT Channel Partners.