Q: Mr. Persinaru, as your entire career is related to innovation and technology, how was 2017 in terms of innovation and technology for Schneider Electric Romania and Moldavia?
Marius Persinaru: Ever since I joined Schneider Electric, my goal has been to promote a sustainable growth and energy efficiency solutions. I strongly believe that in the light of the environmental impact for businesses, the demand for smart cities and smart buildings is increasing and energy efficiency will become an integral component of these developments. With an increased energy consumption trend we will end up consuming a lot more that we can reasonably produce, unless we really start managing it properly.
We have launched EcoStruxure, our integrated architecture, allowing a better system control and a higher level of energy efficiency. This automation and control system is focused on several key areas: Building, Plant & Machine, Grid, Power, and IT. We have focused a great deal of our efforts on the EcoStruxure development to help several business areas.
Q: How was 2017 in terms of figures and trends for Schneider Electric?
MP: Our local figures follow a positive trend, in line with the market. As per our global figures, as 2017 is not over yet, for the time being I can only speak about last year, when our revenues reached 24.7 billion EUR, out of which 5% were dedicated to R&D. R&D is really important for us, to support our efforts for better energy management solutions.
There is a huge potential for better energy management worldwide, powered by the increase in energy demand. Major global trends such as urbanization, industrialization and digitization - all of them require energy. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2.5 billion people will live in cities by 2050, which means that the energy demand will increase proportionally. Industrialization will impact energy consumption by +50%, according to IEA. As for digitization, by 2050 the estimated number of connected devices will exceed 50 billion units. Besides the boom in energy demand, there is a lot of untapped efficiency potential in key areas such as infrastructure, buildings and industry.
From our perspective, these are the main elements that will shape the future of energy management in the next years and our mission is to harness this potential and leverage it today for a more sustainable tomorrow.
Q: What is your main goal for the solutions provided by Schneider Electric?
MP: We aim to stay ahead of the curve by investing significant resources in R&D and always trying to better understand our clients’ needs and environments. Businesswise, our main goal is to be recognized as the Energy Management specialist, a top Energy Efficiency provider and an innovative IoT player.
Q: How did your Romanian clients use the unique markets conditions of 2017 (in terms of minimum low interest rates) for investments?
MP: The main area of interest for our customers is the construction market. In terms of segments, the residential and building sectors were the ones particularly favored by local economical evolution.
Q: From Schneider Electric Point of view, as a provider of energy management and automation services, what are the tech trends in Romania now?
MP: I think IoT and Digitalization is the main tech trend in Romania and all over the world, as a matter of fact. Smart devices integrated in the workflow allow them to communicate, collect data and monitor in order to improve critical areas for enterprises. The magic of IoT is that all devices can be tracked and optimized.
Another trend is machine intelligence, which is helping organizations manage huge amounts of data and improve business processes autonomously. It’s true that the majority of machine intelligence based systems still need human supervision in order to shape goals and directions improving themselves being able to learn by themselves.
Last, but not least, the rise of the “prosumer” is another trend powered by technology. In Romania, it is still in its early stages, but I think it is going to take off quite soon. Today our customers have access to smarter technologies, so they can become themselves energy producers with energy storage capabilities. We need a more effective demand management and we can achieve this with smart technologies, consumer education and Energy Efficiency approach. By smart technologies I mean an intelligent control over the load with real-time data provided by utilities, which would allow prosumers – both companies and home users – to act accordingly.
Q: What’s your view on trade and investment for energy management and automation series in 2018 and please give us your opinion about the sectors that will better understand the need for energy management?
MP: There are three sectors with untaped energy efficiency potential: industry, infrastructure and buildings. The industrial sector is one of the biggest energy consumers worldwide which is open to energy management solutions. Energy represents a significant part of industry operational costs; therefore, the need for optimizing these costs makes energy management a top priority on the major industrial companies’ agenda. We estimate the efficiency potential in industry to be as high 58%. The other two business sectors where we see an even bigger efficiency potential are infrastructure (with 79% unrealized potential) and buildings (with 82%). It is particularly on these areas that we focus our solutions for automation and control systems with EcoStruxure, our system architecture enabling the unification and monitoring of energy related data. We call it MachineStruxure and Plantstruxure for Industry, SmartStruxure for Buildings, InfraStruxure for Data Centers and PowerStruxure for Power Distribution.
Q: Schneider Electric proudly celebrates 20 years in Romania. What’s your view and your statement for ‘’Romania - then and now’’.
MP: Comparing the time being with how things were 20 years ago in Romania, I would say that innovation certainly remains our focus. The past two decades were about delivering innovative solutions for our customers, so they could improve their energy management. The local market has come a long way and we have grown in line with it.
For example, 20 years ago the concept of Internet of Things hadn’t emerged yet, whereas now it’s hard to imagine anything without it. Our latest solution EcoStruxure is based on the ongoing connectivity of all things and supports our customers to reach their productivity goals in a more sustainable, energy efficient and greener way. We are confident that our innovative solutions will continue to help build a green future for everyone, both corporate and private users.
Q: Do you have a final comment for our readers?
MP: Climate change is our generation’s biggest challenge and responsibility. Despite the odds, I am optimistic we can get the job done. I say this because I see what Schneider Electric is accomplishing within its own four walls to be more sustainable, including green product development and the pervasive adoption of energy-efficiency solutions, This is what we are enabling our partners and customers around the world to achieve through strategy, technology and effective implementation: benchmark and cut energy use, monitor and reduce waste, and increase the use of renewables. Sustainability is our new critical success factor.