How digitisation can combat the climate threat

Data could help in saving humanity from itself - panel

The growing need for energy and the increasing problem of climate change will mean we will all have to be more efficient in our use of resources, delegates at the Schneider Electric Innovation Summit in London heard today.

In the next few years power consumption will increase by 50%, but in the same period we have to halve CO2 emissions to meet climate change goals, according to Leonid Mukhamedov, executive vice president of Europe operations at Schneider Electric, meaning the world will have to become three times more efficient in its power use.

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One of the challenges to this is the increased urbanisation of the population.

"How will we power cities when they house 70% of the population? We can save between 20 and 30% by using the right technologies," he said.

Mukhamedov added that automation and data will become a strategic asset in saving energy and money. He said there needs to be a move toward decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitisation so that energy needs can be balanced, connected, accessible and adaptable.

In a panel discussion, Mike Hughes, incoming UK and Ireland zone president at Schneider Electric, said that for companies both nothing and everything has changed in relation to power usage and running their businesses.

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"Companies are still looking for more productivity and efficiency. In that respect, nothing has changed. The piece that's very different, the big enabler if efficiency is digitalisation, the race is on to use digitalisation to boost productivity," he said.

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Rafael Segrera, industry and commercial senior vice president at Schneider Electric said that the quickening pace of business means managers now need to make faster decisions.

"At the same time, what we have in the market place is billions of objects that are connected or connectable. We need to ensure the information needs to be pulled into the cloud to drive this efficiency and productivity," he said, adding that those moving fastest are gaining the greatest benefits in productivity and efficiency.

Jean-Marc Zola, senior vice president of business development for EcoBuildings at Schneider Eletric, said that connecting all the different critical devices in the building can help in reducing operating costs, but things can be taken further.

"Customers are now asking us to increase the efficiency of the people within a building," he said. Zola added that data from a building can help identify empty desks and meeting rooms that can then be more efficiently used by employees within an organisation's building.

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Hughes said that when people and devices start connecting together you start to get visibility and with this "you can then start to understand things"

"When you have this data, you have this whole augmented reality and automation, that is going to change everything," he said. 

Picture: Rene Millman/IT Pro

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