Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has announced the launch of its first Center of Excellence that harnesses the conglomerate’s extensive know-how, experience and success in working with over 200 cities in smart management projects worldwide.
Based in Barcelona, Spain, the Center of Excellence is the first of its kind to be located in the Smart City campus taking shape at the Sant Marti District. Aiming to encourage the research and development (R&D) of smart solutions with the engagement of more than 40 investigators, the Center will seek to develop new business models that meet contemporary urban efficiency and sustainability standards.
The cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are among the key focus areas for Schneider Electric’s Center of Excellence. Masdar City, in particular, has been identified as one of the early beneficiaries of the center’s solutions in smart city management.
Schenider Electric’s initiative to set up the Center of Excellence comes at a time when cities in the GCC region are vying to become ‘smart’ and better connected over the next decade. This mandate was clearly articulated in 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in his vision for transforming Dubai into a ‘smart city’. The region’s race into the digital age is set to positively impact its business and economy over several verticals including e-governance, education, healthcare, hospitality, tourism and finance.
Speaking at the opening of the Center of Excellence in Barcelona, Julio Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, Global Operations at Schneider Electric, said: “In the next 40 years, the world is poised to experience an urban technological revolution. Today, with more and more cities becoming population dense, the pressure on environmental resources is causing major repercussions on mobility, air quality, healthcare services, among other areas. Schneider Electric is currently working with over 200 cities in smart management projects. With our Center of Excellence, we seek to leverage our experience and expand our capacity in providing advanced solutions to new urban spaces.”
Schneider Electric’s Center of Excellence in Barcelona will draw potential talent and innovation in the energy management domain. More specifically, the facility will offer expertise in areas such as monitoring energy audit paves, overseeing management of street lighting energy use, providing building security surveillance through CCTV, and SCADA for water distribution systems.
Fostering collaboration with academic institutions and companies is among its key priorities in order to engage the participation of local and international experts in enriching the global view of the smart city concept. As an immediate step, Schneider Electric will work to build further collaboration with universities such as IESE Business School (University of Navarra) with which Schneider Electric already has a Chair devoted to Sustainability and Business Strategy.
Located in a former factory named Ca l’Alier at the Smart City campus, Schneider Electric’s Center of Excellence is expected to be fully operational by mid-2016. Cisco has also announced its intent to set up a research center at the same premises – a move that is anticipated to open up new areas of collaboration between the two entities.