IIoT Enables Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure to Provide “Breaker to Boardroom” Connectivity

Schneider Electric launched its next generation of EcoStruxure, an architecture and platform designed to deliver end-to-end IoT and IIoT enabled scalable solutions for building, grid, industry, and data center customers. The architecture and platform is designed to connect the three core layers of Schneider Electric’s technology stack, from connected products, to edge control, to applications, analytics, and services. EcoStruxure enables Schneider Electric, its partners and end-user customers to develop scalable and converged IT/OT solutions. Leveraging connectivity and data to create controls and actionable business insights, with analytics and closed-loop applications, EcoStruxure helps to leverage IoT and IIoT solutions to augment operations, showing real-world examples where IIoT can be deployed to help improve operational efficiency, sustainability, asset performance and people productivity. EcoStruxure was developed in partnership with major standards organizations and technology providers to ensure openness and interoperability with a plethora of manufacturing and process assets.

EcoStruxure is designed to provide a portfolio of interoperable and cloud-connected and/or on-premise technologies organized around its three layers of technology:

  • The first layer builds on Schneider Electric’s experience in developing connected products with embedded intelligence, such as sensors, medium and low voltage breakers, drives and actuators.  This connectivity helps to deliver connectivity that ranges from the breaker to the boardroom.
  • The Edge Control layer gives organizations the capability to manage their operations on-premise as well as from the cloud depending on their needs. This includes connected control platforms with remote access, advanced automation and operator override capabilities. Local control and firewall protection is included to help maximize the benefits, especially for mission-critical applications.
  • Schneider Electric’s focused investment in R&D and product development in the areas of software, analytics and services, coupled with the integration of recent acquisitions such as Invensys, Telvent and Summit Energy, forms the third layer of the stack, a portfolio of apps, analytics and services. EcoStruxure enables a breadth of vendor-agnostic apps, analytics and services on open IP protocols in order to work with multiple hardware, systems, and controls.

EcoStruxure is designed to meet the challenge of implementing IoT and IIoT solutions in a more seamless, cost-effective and scalable fashion. The redefined IIoT platform helps to bridge the IT/OT gap and connects the three core layers of Schneider Electric’s technology stack.  The launch of the EcoStruxure platform provides a more secure, IIoT-enabled technology backbone with three core technology capabilities:

  • Embedded connectivity and intelligence that helps to enable smart sensing, embedded computing, IP networking and edge analytics
  • A foundation for smart operations to serve as the building blocks for control, management, automaton and optimization
  • The infrastructure for cloud-connected digital services that enables the delivery of cloud-based connected apps, analytics, services, control and monitoring

Schneider Electric is challenged to try to deliver a future-proof solution that delivers a set of core reference architectures. The architectures build on the company’s domain knowledge and portfolio and have been tested, validated and tailored for its core end markets of Buildings, Grid, Industry and Data Centers, with specific architectures available for industrial plants, industrial machines, and power distribution. The architectures give customers access to documented and standardized system reference designs that can be used in the implementation of interoperable, sustainable, efficient and connected systems.

Schneider Electric also announced a new community established as part of its EcoStruxure next generation architecture launch. The company is establishing a new community with technology and consortium leaders to better maximize the benefits its customers receive of an IoT or IIoT-enabled operation.

As part of this technology and consortium collaboration, companies enabling the next generation of EcoStruxure include:

  • Microsoft: Schneider Electric leverages the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to deliver its digital services, apps and analytics. Azure is the cloud backbone for EcoStruxure, helping to ease technology development on the platform. An example of one such digital service. Conext 2 Advisor, is a monitoring and control solution for managing and better optimizing the performance of solar power plants, and is delivered as an Azure cloud-based service, accessible on computers or mobile devices.
  • Intel: Schneider Electric leverages Intel’s smart Field Programmable Gateway Arrays (FPGA) devices to power its sensors and devices, networks and the cloud. Intel’s FPGAs helps to enhance the performance, power and flexibility of the EcoStruxure architecture to enable smarter operations.

New partnerships are also emerging with specialized technology providers, such as Zuora, and global industry providers, such as the company’s recently announced partnership with Panasonic, both of which further enable the delivery of new technology, new services, new business models, and more service-oriented value for customers. ARC recognizes that for these IIoT platforms to be successful and gain traction in the marketplace requires extensive partnerships and collaborations that transcend all areas of the OT and IT enterprise, and is encouraged that Schneider Electric has made partnerships a priority for its next generation EcoStruxure platform. Partnerships will help Schneider Electric deliver on its EcoStruxure vision of connectivity at every level of the plant, factory, building, machine, or data center, and truly be able to deliver breaker to boardroom connectivity.