Schneider Electric Innovation Day 2021 delves into the power of digitization

Published June 11, 2021, 7:16 AM

by Enzo Luna

Schneider Innovation Day

Schneider Electric hosted its 2nd Annual Innovation Day, with the theme of Sustainable Digital Transformation. Held on Schneider Electric’s online interactive platform, the live virtual event brought participants from Southeast Asia together with thought leaders from various industries across the globe to give attendees a deeper understanding on digitization, how it can be used to further the growth of a business and finding operational stability while also prioritizing sustainability and efficiency. The event was divided into a series of sessions, where attendees had the chance to hear from a stellar lineup of speakers ranging from renowned digital anthropologists, sustainability enthusiasts, to the IT industry’s top leaders.

Natalya Makarochkina, Senior Vice President of Secure Power International Region of Schneider Electric, welcomed attendees and encouraged them to discover how digitization can optimize and maintain business continuity with decision-making based on changing market conditions, to drive financial growth and operational stability, and to deliver environmentally added value to customers—all while keeping Schneider’s goals of sustainability at the heart of their intentions.

“At Schneider Electric, we believe that being green is good for your business, as well as for the planet and its citizens,” said Makarochkina. “When you walk with Schneider Electric, you can deploy digital innovations to help build a more sustainable world.”

Leadership at the Edge

The event started with an inspiring session from Robert Swan, explorer, environmental activist, and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth. At the age of 11, Swan had the dream to become the first person to walk to the South and North Poles—a vision that would soon expand to crossing the whole of the Antarctic Continent on foot, the longest unassisted march that spanned 900 nautical miles.

After 22 years of planning and training, financial and physical hardships, he achieved this goal and reached both poles. But in the midst of it all, he and his companions were exposed to the harsh reality of climate change. 70 days into his expedition, Swan’s eyes had changed color due to damage and his skin started to blister severely, but it was only when they got back from their journey that they discovered why—they had walked right under a massive hole in the ozone layer, the very month it was discovered.

“This was the exact moment I realized that our survival on this planet as a species might not be somebody else’s problem,” said Swan. “I realized that I may have a part to play in the grander scheme of things.”

Swan further discussed what can be done to preserve not just the continent of Antarctica, but the rest of the world as well. After seeing firsthand the effects of climate change, Swan has dedicated himself to protecting Antarctica and our planet at large. Positive participation and a committed team have enabled Robert to educate and stimulate people across the globe, and he fully intends to pursue his mission for as long as he can.

Electricity 4.0: How Digital Technologies Shape a More Sustainable & Resilient Future

Schneider Electric believes that a more electric and digital world is key to addressing the global climate crisis, enabling a sustainable and resilient future.

In a session led by Pankaj Sharma, Executive Vice President of the Secure Power Division at Schneider Electric, attendees learned more about how digital technologies are shaping a more sustainable and resilient world, particularly in the building and construction sector.

“Electricity is the most efficient energy and the best vector of decarbonization, and with digital innovation, electricity unleashes huge potential to eliminate energy waste,” said Sharma. “Only by disrupting the way we manage energy and design buildings, industries and mobility will we be able to deliver a net-zero carbon world.”

Over the last 200 years there have been four technology-driven revolutions that have simultaneously impacted the worlds of industry and electricity. Sharma talked about how Schneider Electric is shifting to digital and electric technologies and innovations to combat climate change.

“We believe that we have the expertise, the connected solutions, and ambition to bring the vision of Data Centers of the Future to life,” said Sharma. “This, along with electric and digital at the core of our innovation, is the key enabler to power a new electric world.”

The Currency of Trust

To survive and thrive, companies and society need trust. It is the currency that enables us to navigate uncertainty, take risks, and leap into the unknown.

In this talk, trust expert, lecturer, and author Rachel Botsman challenged attendees to rethink their understanding of trust. She delved into the importance of forming trust, trust barriers, the different states of trust, and how we can make something new feel familiar.

Many of her observations about how trust really works run counter to the typical business narrative. She punctured the idea that transparency is the key to more trust. In a highly engaging session, Botsman helped attendees form a more unique perspective on the ethical role trust plays in one’s life, why it is critical to innovation, and how one can build a more trustworthy foundation.

“This currency of trust, once cultivated and grown, becomes one of the most valuable assets any company can have,” said Botsman.

Panel Discussion: Sustainability Digital Transformation

Today’s consumers increasingly want to be aligned with brands that care about the planet and are driven towards a more sustainable future. As the insatiable appetite for digital transformation increases, it’s incumbent upon the world’s most influential sectors – from agriculture to buildings and construction, to data centers, IT, energy, and utilities – to make a unanimous decision to do so with sustainability at the forefront of their strategies.

“We make access to sustainable financing as transparent and as simple as possible,” shared Eric Lim, Chief Sustainability Officer at United Overseas Bank (UOB). UOB achieves this through three sustainable finance frameworks: smart cities, real estate, and the circle economy sustainable finance frameworks. “It is through these frameworks that we can offer sustainability-linked financing to help customers fund the transformation of their business models with more sustainable outcomes.”

“There have always been sustainability efforts, but it has really come to the forefront in the past few years,” said Aaron Binkley, Head of Sustainability at Digital Realty, adding that in the last seven years, significant changes have been made in the data center industry regarding sustainability. With such high reliance on electricity, Binkley stresses the utmost importance of making sure that the industry makes a conscious effort to lower their carbon emissions. He was also pleased to share the drastic shift in consumer values with regards to environmental efforts and the priority of sustainability in companies they invest in.

“At Schneider Electric, what we aim to do is lead change within our ecosystem, as well as help our customers transform their own approaches,” said Esther Finidori, Vice President – Environment at Schneider Electric. She shared that at Schneider Electric, they encourage all their partners to pursue more sustainable actions and efforts and provide them with programs and the means to do so. “Sustainability and a greener, smarter future are at the core of what we do.”

This highly anticipated panel discussion gathered several sustainability leaders across all industries together to share their insights, expound on their company’s sustainability efforts, and offer advice on attendees who are looking towards a greener future.

The Future of Digital Transformation: The Business Side of Change and What Happens Next

Brain Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, author, and the Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce.

In an uplifting session, Solis addressed the future of digital transformation, specifically looking at the business side of change. He posed an important question during his talk: After more digital transformation in the last 12 months than the last 12 years, what is next?

He explored the three critical and timely pillars of innovation, sustainability, and digital transformation. He brings up the pandemic, and how it in turn has created an opportunity for leaders to reimagine how everything works and how they work together, as well as to reinvent operations and efforts.

Schneider Electric’s 2021 Innovation Day provided attendees with vast insight and advice from leaders across industries. Through jam-packed sessions on an interactive platform, attendees were able to gain knowledge on different issues and sectors, all with sustainability at its core.