Open your eyes to the power of environmentally sustainable digital ecosystems – how contextualizing data and optimizing industrial performance will be key to driving lower carbon enterprises of the future

Posted: April 22, 2024

At the Paris Innovation Summit, we caught up with Peter Herweck and Caspar Herzberg as they reflected on the discussions and explored how digitalization and AI are accelerating the development of the connected industrial economy. Here's what they had to say about what this means for enterprises worldwide looking to drive growth and sustainability.


Peter:  It's hard to imagine a business discussion these days that doesn't involve AI and digitalization. I truly believe AI will revolutionize industries as significantly as the internet or the smartphone. In the last 12 months alone, we've seen the explosion of large language models and a surge in connected devices generating vast amounts of data – this data presents a goldmine of insights and optimization opportunities.

Caspar: That is where digital twins come in. A digital twin is basically a combination of asset data and information visualized digitally and completely accurately to help you really understand the operational situation in detail. It's a real-time virtual model with every data point within that plant – every valve, every set of machines. All of this is brought together in a way that’s easily manageable and comparable. What is the consumption? What are the processes and carbon emissions? In this ecosystem, we can cover the design-build-operate-optimize lifecycle.  

Peter: Digital twins are a game-changer, but the foundation for this transformation needs to be sustainable as well. This transformation requires a foundation of sustainably operated data centers with efficient cooling systems and renewable energy sources. This is where Schneider Electric comes in - providing solutions for building and operating data centers with efficient cooling systems and a commitment to renewable energy sources. These data centers ensure the digital revolution doesn't come at the cost of environmental impact.

By partnering with AVEVA, we can offer a comprehensive solution – powerful digital twins powered by sustainable data centers. This combination will be key to building high-performing, energy-efficient, and truly sustainable industries.

The digital twin: unlocking efficiencies

Caspar: The power of digital twins and AI can create a future filled with smart cities, energy-efficient buildings, optimized transportation networks, and a more efficient water and energy supply and responsible use of the world’s resources.How do we achieve this vision?  This is where digital technology is critical because by reducing waste and evolving faster we’re achieving the best energy, which is ultimately is the energy you don’t use.

Peter: The key question becomes: how can we ensure this digital transformation addresses the most pressing challenges we face, like climate change?

Climate change is an urgent issue, and simply reducing emissions isn't enough. We also need innovation to meet the world's growing energy demand. Projections suggest that India and Africa alone will account for an additional 1.3 billion people in the next 50 years, while some 2.1 billion people will migrate across the globe in search of better homes and jobs. Here again, digitalization shines. It can support a smooth transition and ensure that as humanity evolves, we can keep pace with evolving energy needs, from electrification and transportation to connectivity and communications.

Caspar: This focus on innovation and connection through digitalization is exactly what will enable the reduction of carbon emissions.  Saving on energy costs creates massive value and opportunity for the economy and the people who can achieve it.  The transition to a new digital-first way of thinking is already underway, evidenced by the development of what we call digital ecosystems.

We see that enterprises and industries want to bring together the diverse sources of data across their value chains. This is so they can build a complete and integrated view of their operations. This is really the best way to understand and optimize complex global or regional supply chain operations.. It’s about giving enterprises an open, agnostic system where different applications and legacy softwares interact with each other and are easily accessible. The idea behind this is simple. It’s to bring everything together into one comprehensive ecosystem.  This unified view and single source of truth breaks down silos between teams and across organizations. We infuse our solutions with AI and analytical. This allows you to extract actionable insights in context for decision makers. When you extend that shared insight across partners and even customers, you can accelerate the network effect across your entire value chain. We believe that this integrated approach is the future, and we already see companies starting to take advantage of it.

Let me give you an example. ZGlobal is a US-based power aggregator. Their team works with local power suppliers in and around Northern California to optimize power supply to domestic and industrial customers. They are working with us in the cloud to gather and share grid network with their customers in real-time. They’re building a more accurate picture of supply and demand to meet obligations more efficiently. They’re helping customers identify when they can use low-cost power more effectively or whether they can select to use renewable energy if they prefer. The value is found in efficiencies, reduced waste and informed decision making. This is just one of the ways digital thinking and collaboration can revolutionize the industrial sector and drive environmental sustainability.

The foundations for the connected industrial economy

Peter: Data truly is the golden thread that unites an entire enterprise. With access to trusted data, actionable insights, and clear visualizations, teams across the value chain can make agile and informed decisions that deliver real-world impact.

This frees industries to realize the full potential of the entire industrial ecosystem, fostering unprecedented collaboration and accelerating innovation, decarbonization and growth. Whether it’s designing complex engineering projects, optimizing plant operations, or ensuring reliability and safety of critical assets, industries need contextualized data insights, AI-powered predictive analytics, and a powerful industrial digital twin that they can use to drive real-world impact in a practical and actionable sense.

Caspar: Absolutely. It’s this merging of the digital and real that enables us to drive higher performance across the value chain, using information that is shared across the ecosystem of partners, suppliers and even customers.

It's exciting to see the immense future potential for growth and responsible use of the world’s resources across industries worldwide.

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