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The Easiest way to decide if you need a Smart Home - Schneider Electric Blog

The Easiest way to decide if you need a Smart Home – HVAC Dubai Blog

I often have two stark and immediate thoughts when I enter an exotic restaurant, first whether I’ve made the right decision to experiment and second what to order from the menu. Whether to go for a smart home or not is a similar feeling and it’s exactly like tasting a dish, from that restaurant.

How is a Smart Home like tasting a dish?

  • Unless you’ve experienced and/or tasted it, you’ll never know how over the top amazing and satisfying it was.
  • There’s always a little skepticism when experimenting something new and then a sense of self-pride that kicks in “I ordered it” followed by the Instagram posts

KNX Multitouch Interface for Smart Homes

So, here’s my list of questions which will help you decide if you need a Smart Home or not

  • You are working from home and are mostly on calls?

If yes, then a Smart Home is your ultimate savior. From switching off the squeaky fan to reducing its speed or switching on the extra light just before the video call to ensure you don’t look like a ghost in the darkroom. All this while sitting on the chair or on your bed with your headphone on! Yes, you don’t move but all you do is take your phone out and press a few buttons or simply ask Alexa to do it.

  • You love to relax on the couch after a long day at work (read work from home)?

If yes, then here’s a solution to help you control your entire home while still lying on the couch. From switching off the fan of your study for which you’re getting multiple reminders to drawing the curtains which you’ve left open while returning from the balcony. Everything can be controlled while you enjoy your stay at the couch

  • Your bed is far from the fan switch?

Imagine it 3.30AM and it suddenly gets cold in the night and you’re tasked with the mighty responsibility of getting down the bed and reduce the fan speed! Sounds familiar. Worry no more, this is an act of valor which all of us have braved. No more acts of bravery, get a Smart Home, and control all your fans and lights through your phone.

  •  Your day is not complete without Yoga / Meditation ?

You definitely need a Smart Home as this is the time when you want the least disturbance and this is when Murphy’s law kicks in. This has happened to everyone, exactly at the time when you’re about to start, you’ll be asked to switch the geyser on for someone or switch the fan off since the baby is feeling cold, and more. All this will now be possible sitting on your yoga mat

  • You always felt if you could dim your living room light for a movie night or an evening get-together?

Dim it for a movie night or after a hard day at work when you just want to relax with a nice warm yellow light. Your eyes are going to thank you for this!

  • Last but not the least – You have an old home and there’s nothing new about it?

Ta-Da, There are Smart homes that will fit into your existing home without replacing any switch of your home or any new rewiring. Yes, it’s possible.

  • You’ve always been a pioneer in your group to embrace technology?

From spending hours in line to buy the iPhone or updating your Android to the latest version, if technology gives you a kick and you love to be at speed with it then this is something you should get your hands on to. Flaunt it and it’ll never cease to surprise people.

If you feel, you have a yes for more than 4 of these 7 questions then you know the answer yourself. The cost of experimentation may be cheaper than the amount you spent on your phone so that’s another reason why you should give it a try.

I’ve experienced all the above at my place without any damage to my walls or any new rewiring. Wiser comes with my recommendation, for your home. It’s a new level of convenience altogether.

Here’s to trying new things!

 


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photovoltaic

How monitoring and control maximize photovoltaic benefits – HVAC Dubai Blog

The integration of renewable energy sources and storage in buildings generates additional needs for control and monitoring, not only to assure optimal operation but also to obtain a return of investment as quickly as possible.

photovoltaic

Monitor to understand your energy production and usage, detect problems early, and take appropriate actions

To understand how electrical energy is being used and how it can be optimized, owners should:

  • Track how the photovoltaic (PV) energy produced is being consumed by the loads, stored, or injected to the grid
  • Follow and analyze the trends of the PV production alongside the loads’ consumption
  • Calculate economic benefits related to the diminished consumption of energy from the grid

Asset management features should also be provided by a PV monitoring system. This should include assessment of PV system performance, detection of drifts or malfunctions, and immediate notification about faults. Also, because PV inverters can affect the power quality of the electrical installation, it is recommended that power quality disturbances be measured and followed, especially harmonics and unbalance.

Control to operate local sources and loads depending on constraints and objectives

When integrating local sources such as a PV system into a building electrical installation, control functions are often required. These functions will depend mainly on the available local sources, on the contract with the local energy supplier, and on the type of installation: grid-connected, microgrid-type, or off grid.

For example, for an installation with grid-connected PV production, the required control functions could include:

  • limiting PV production in order to not inject power to the grid
  • managing power factor at the point of grid connection to avoid penalties
  • shifting loads to the period of PV production to maximize self-consumption
  • participating in demand response, especially when storage or generators are also part of the installation

If we take the example of a microgrid type, additional control functions are required because the control system should ensure the transition from grid-connected mode to off-grid mode and vice versa, as well as the balance between electrical consumption and local electrical energy production in off-grid mode.

Using advanced analytics to optimize use of local sources

Advanced cloud-based analytics enable further optimization of the usage of local electricity production, which achieves additional economic savings.

By considering complementary criteria such as changing electricity tariffs, weather forecasts, and expected consumption, advanced analytics provide the optimal system configuration. A set point for each local source is further transmitted to the local control system.

A digital architecture fulfills monitoring, control, and optimization functions

Now, let’s review the digital architecture that can meet these requirements.

photovoltaic production

Example of digital architecture for installation with photovoltaic production

First, you need to collect input data, such as:

  • Photovoltaic production and inverter status, from the PV inverters
  • Power measurements, energy usage, and power quality data, from the power meters.
  • Information on weather conditions, such as temperature and irradiance, provided by sensors.

These data are collected using communication networks. High-end power measurement devices and PV inverters are usually connected directly through Ethernet. For sensors and other devices, gateways may be needed.

For monitoring purposes only, the data acquisition frequency can be every 10 minutes on average. But when local control functions are required, the data should be collected more frequently.

The collected data are used by an on-premises control system to operate the electrical installation equipment effectively and efficiently. Algorithms and analytics can provide optimal set points for the local energy sources and controllable loads.

The collected data also are used by on-premises or cloud-based software for visualization, analysis, and reporting.

To learn more about monitoring recommendations for photovoltaic installations integrated in buildings, watch this video on photovoltaic self-consumption.

This video is part of a series prepared by Schneider Electric’s technical communication group that addresses various aspects of PV system design, installation, and operation.  You can also download our EcoStruxure™ Power Digital Applications Design Guide.

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Agility: The Heart of Great Customer Centricity - Schneider Electric Blog

Agility: The Heart of Great Customer Centricity – HVAC Dubai Blog

At Schneider Electric, we’ve made a point to organize ourselves around the concept of agility. From the ground up, from R&D onward, we have embraced agility as our guiding principle. It’s more than applying the well-known Agile methodology, it’s a mindset transformation to which we are fully committed across our business.

Within an unpredictable COVID-19 environment, we’ve seen the additional value of an agile approach to business.

Agility among colleagues

At Schneider Electric, our first priority is always to protect the health of our employees and the success and operational continuity of our customers. That means extending the agility of our employees to a greater degree, as home-office becomes standard practice. We have witnessed the speed at which teams can connect remotely and hold virtual project reviews. For employees belonging to services teams who need to be physically present at particular locations, we’ve seen how their agility has supported the continuity of business – theirs and ours.

Agility for customers

Building on our strong existing digital foundation, in fact, we’ve seen the crisis motivating further innovations that make businesses more agile. Some of those innovations, like the remote, digital Factory Acceptance Testing we’ve recently had great success in implementing (eFAT, we call it), could even become the new norm.

These innovations, which would not be possible without our embrace of Agile and agility, have been central to maintaining tight connections and meaningful relationships with our customers and keeping our supply lines running at good capacity throughout the pandemic.

Agility for partners

Another example of the value unlocked by agility can be seen in the partner model we use in our medium voltage business – a partnership model that is embedded in our company’s DNA. When we work hand-in-hand with our large global network of local partners, who in turn distribute our technologies to end users, we accept a technology transfer.  Working with partners requires agility because it is a collaboration that demands adaptation to each local environment, where our partners make the final connection with those who rely on our technologies to power their business.

Agility for trust

When I look closely at the true value that agility brings, I see that it comes down to trust. It’s our workforce relying on each other to be flexible, adhering tightly to an agile mindset. It’s our approach to building our electrical equipment and software technologies using the Agile methodology. And it’s our agility in building and maintaining strong relationships with our partners. Dedicating ourselves to agility principles opens an environment that lets trust grow and thrive – and that is the key to our success.

With the trust that comes from a foundation of agility firmly embedded in our business, I see us exiting the COVID with significant progress made throughout our organization toward a more connected New Electric World.

We maintain continuity in our operations thanks to agility, flexibility, and dedication to our customers. Our partners are at the core of our strategy, know more about our network by clicking here.

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The Challenge of Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Projects from Design to Operations - Schneider Electric Blog

The Challenge of Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Projects from Design to Operations – HVAC Dubai Blog

FPSO: How to accelerate developments, reduce costs, reduce staff on board and at the same time increase safety and reliability?

As we are facing a hugely challenging time in both our professional and personal lives, it is so evident that digitization is transforming our daily interactions and bridging gaps in personal connection, learning, and the way we do business. Once this storm has passed, there is the potential that we will have completely different work environment, where digital interactions will have even greater importance on the way we do business.

In Floating Production projects, the challenges are great, as we are facing a new oil price level, with the Brent reaching around 30USD.  I will not discuss why the price is at the level, there a many analysis done already, but how the use partnership with suppliers and the technology already available can transform the way FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) are design, build and operate.

Let’s take a look on the key FPSO Challenges:

  • Reducing costs
    • Choosing appropriate development concepts;
    • Reuse proven concepts;
    • Standardization
  • Accelerate developments Rightsizing topsides
    • 26 months from sanction to first oil (used to be 36 months);
    • Early engagement of suppliers
  • Redeploy laid up units

When analyzing costs, most of the actions have been done to standardize projects, getting some supplier early engagement and partnership and being very successful on reducing the time to first oil. But still there is a huge space of optimization. Same questions must be raised. “Are we optimizing man hours in project and design?”, “Are we engaging partners at the right time, using their expertise? “Are we being creative and using the new technologies to optimize more and more? Are been able to optimize procurement and execution?

The answer for all questions is the we are not doing enough. Standardization is fantastic as a first step, but it can block the engagement of new suppliers’ expertise and technologies. The early engagement of experts from partners and the digitalization of the design are key for project optimization and to reduce the project man hours used in the project.

Today there solid and tested tools to developed Unified Engineering & Operations across the Digital Twin(s). In the project you can:

  • Create & develop a single Information management system for the project Lifecycle comprising: Process simulations, flowsheets, data sheets, 3D models, PFD, P&IDs, Isometrics
  • Trust Correct & Updated data – no duplication of data into multiple software who don’t speak to each other
  • Allow concurrent engineering work with connected work processes

Technology unifies the asset and operations life cycle.

This unified engineering process will allow the de-silo work processes along project lifecycle, the means that from the basic design, engineering can use the same platform for the detailed design. The same platform will be used for partner to optimize design and procurement will also interface with suppliers using the same platform. this a huge time saving and man-hour optimization on the project design.

How about the construction itself? Again, the use of a unified engineering platform is key. You can reduce your staff in the shipyard, by having your partners on the hull and the topside modules construction using the same platform. You will improve safety and drastically optimized time to design approval and project management man-hour.

So, as we can see, a unified platform will reduce costs and accelerate developments, reducing even more the time to first oil, a key asset for FID (Final Investment Decision) approval and projects profitability. Also, with the use of technology and early engagement of partners experts for design optimization, you will be able to choose you will be able to appropriate development concepts and be accurate on rightsizing the topsides, again a key asset for FID and project profitability.

The power of this platform is also on the integration between design and operations with a full integrated design platform, known as Digital Twin, the FPSO built is ready to take advantage on optimization of operations.

The availability of an accurate project information will allow the operations to use easily connect the equipment information in real time. The engineering digital twin is sent over to the operator and provides instant access to the plant most up to date and relevant information. It becomes the platform on which the operator can improve its maintenance and operations by implementing visualization, predictive analytics, dynamic simulations for planning and yield optimization, connect workers with mobility solutions,

The use of predictive analytics allows a better maintenance planning, reducing the downtime drastically and reducing staff on board. The key future challenge the unmanned or less manned offshore operations. If you extend to many FPSO operations you can plan your Unified Command Centre, the will provide an integrated view, or window, into all systems and sources across the value chain.

The technology is available for connection today (fibre optics, satellite, etc..) and new developments philosophies, like the edge computing allow even the predictive analytics and asset management systems to run locally allowing an accurate local maintenance and operations decision.

Not to forget to mention that having an accurate and relevant information of your operations will provide you the basis for a key sustainability asset analysis. As all FPSO design and operators have sustainable developments goals, you will be able to apply sustainability analytics tools that will allow to measure and act in your CO2 emission targets. And with a full integrated platform that will be extended to the whole supply chain of the FPSO for design to Operations. You will be able to measure all CO2 during the whole life cycle of your FPSO, define the right development goal and to act to be sure you can reach them.

In summary in this blog is proposing you to make a brainstorming on:

  • How you are using your man-hour from design, build and operations;
  • How you accurate you have been on using the project design and operations, you have;
  • How integrated your project is through the life cycle and with your key partners;
  • How you can challenge your standardisation by applying new technologies and new project design optimization in every project, by using the right tools without increasing man-hours in project;
  • What are the internal behaviour and silos you have to break;
  • How you can deliver more safety and reliable operations while having the less man or no man onboard.
  • How you can delivery a more safety, more reliable and sustainable operations

We, Schneider Electric together with AVEVA, have been developing technology and solutions for Oil&Gas market for more then 30 years specially on the FPSO business we have experts that can help you from design to operations.

We propose 3 dimensions of integration:

  • Full connected products with a seamless and secure communication between field devices to control room (local or remote);
  • A projects integration from design to operations (Digital Twin). Edge computing to run software analytics locally and/or remotely
  • An Ecostruxure Power and Process solution. Power and Process system integration and optimization allowing asset performance management, energy and value chain optimisation.

To access more content on how the digitization of FPSOs is an essential means of reducing operational costs in offshore fields, explore our report on “Floating Innovation” hosted by Petroleum Economist.

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The Navy Needs Pirates - Schneider Electric Blog

The Navy Needs Pirates – HVAC Dubai Blog

One of the biggest myths in business today is that true innovation is only coming from smaller start-ups—those that can be nimble and take risks without having to worry about delivering immediate shareholder value. It has long been understood that innovation within a large public company is notoriously difficult. But that doesn’t mean big companies can’t innovate. In fact, a recent IBM study found that 72 percent of chief innovation officers said that larger organizations – not new entrants – are leading the disruption in their industries. Only 22 percent said that start-ups are driving change.

While big companies can innovate, there are many that just don’t know how to do it right – or simply don’t know where to begin. When a company is performing well, leading the market and earning healthy profits for shareholders, it can be difficult to look beyond earnings, and the current business, to anticipate the external threats of disruption. McKinsey estimates that by 2027, 75 percent of the current S&P 500 companies will disappear. Market disruptions often happen faster than anticipated. Take, for example, Netflix, which replaced video rentals in about 10 years—faster than anyone could have anticipated.

Large companies are changing how they innovate

It’s no longer enough for large companies to rely on incremental innovation and efficiencies to grow their core business. Companies must change how they innovate, and this requires a shift in priorities and a long-term view. Traditionally, large companies haven’t needed to look outwards to solve customer problems. But in today’s disruptive world, the key to successful innovation relies on creating an ecosystem of partners (for example, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, government and academia) who can work together to create ideas and develop solutions. It’s no longer enough for large companies to rely on incremental innovation to grow. Companies must change how they innovate, with a long-term view.

Pirates and the Navy

Steve Jobs once famously said he’d rather be a pirate than in the navy, since pirates can avoid bureaucracy, act independently and take risks whereas the navy has strict rules to follow.

While it’s important to grow the core business, companies must simultaneously pursue a second, speedier track. To disrupt themselves or create something entirely new in the marketplace, they need to recognize the organization’s constraints and innovate at the edge with external partners.

Collaborating with entrepreneurs and external institutions can give big companies the ability to become leading innovators in their field. Entrepreneurs bring disruptive ideas and agility and large companies bring their deep customer knowledge, resources, and channels to test and scale ideas. Innovating at the edge requires time to start showing positive returns. And for large, public companies, long-term innovation can be a challenge: It can take 5 to 7 years to build a new company, and statistically only 2% of these become unicorns.

Concrete steps to take to drive innovation:

1. Show the value of startup collaboration
Fostering a broader collaborative ecosystem is a win-win scenario for startups and big companies. By partnering with portfolio companies on innovation projects, companies can accelerate speed to market, fill an offer gap or create efficiencies that have tangible results.

2. Test new markets to gain unique insights
Capturing market insights and failing faster are key benefits of working with external companies. Incubated companies can reach the market, test and pivot business models much faster than a project launched by the core business. External innovation programs can provide more accurate market insights than consultants, particularly in times of disruption, when traditional analysts may miss the mark.

3. Joint venture to gain traction faster
Up to 90 percent of startups fail, but the mortality rate for joint ventures is considerably lower at 40 to 60 percent. Backed by the resources and brand recognition of the parent companies, joint ventures can gain traction much faster than a new startup. For example, in 2019, Schneider Electric—where I work as the chief innovation officer–launched AlphaStruxure  with the Carlyle Group to change the business model by which infrastructures are being financed, built and operated. AlphaStruxure designs, builds, owns and operates decentralized energy systems that deliver sustainability, reliability, resilience and long-term savings for large energy users across the commercial, industrial and infrastructure sectors by offering an Energy as a Service (EaaS) model that enables customers to stabilize long-term energy costs and upgrade critical energy systems without capital investment. Working in a market with notoriously long sales cycles and risk-averse customers, this joint venture already has a robust pipeline of projects.

Success of the navy relies on collaboration with pirates

Some people still believe that only two people in a garage can innovate and disrupt an industry, big companies are getting better at innovating and disrupting themselves. The secret lies in having a long-term view on innovation that looks beyond the company’s four walls. This means collaborating with external partners, taking risks and having the time to experiment – and most of all, being okay with failing often. The success of the navy in the long term may just depend on collaboration with pirates.

Originally printed in Techonomy.
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The Navy Needs Pirates - Schneider Electric Blog

The Navy Needs Pirates – HVAC Dubai Blog

One of the biggest myths in business today is that true innovation is only coming from smaller start-ups—those that can be nimble and take risks without having to worry about delivering immediate shareholder value. It has long been understood that innovation within a large public company is notoriously difficult. But that doesn’t mean big companies can’t innovate. In fact, a recent IBM study found that 72 percent of chief innovation officers said that larger organizations – not new entrants – are leading the disruption in their industries. Only 22 percent said that start-ups are driving change.

While big companies can innovate, there are many that just don’t know how to do it right – or simply don’t know where to begin. When a company is performing well, leading the market and earning healthy profits for shareholders, it can be difficult to look beyond earnings, and the current business, to anticipate the external threats of disruption. McKinsey estimates that by 2027, 75 percent of the current S&P 500 companies will disappear. Market disruptions often happen faster than anticipated. Take, for example, Netflix, which replaced video rentals in about 10 years—faster than anyone could have anticipated.

Large companies are changing how they innovate

It’s no longer enough for large companies to rely on incremental innovation and efficiencies to grow their core business. Companies must change how they innovate, and this requires a shift in priorities and a long-term view. Traditionally, large companies haven’t needed to look outwards to solve customer problems. But in today’s disruptive world, the key to successful innovation relies on creating an ecosystem of partners (for example, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, government and academia) who can work together to create ideas and develop solutions. It’s no longer enough for large companies to rely on incremental innovation to grow. Companies must change how they innovate, with a long-term view.

Pirates and the Navy

Steve Jobs once famously said he’d rather be a pirate than in the navy, since pirates can avoid bureaucracy, act independently and take risks whereas the navy has strict rules to follow.

While it’s important to grow the core business, companies must simultaneously pursue a second, speedier track. To disrupt themselves or create something entirely new in the marketplace, they need to recognize the organization’s constraints and innovate at the edge with external partners.

Collaborating with entrepreneurs and external institutions can give big companies the ability to become leading innovators in their field. Entrepreneurs bring disruptive ideas and agility and large companies bring their deep customer knowledge, resources, and channels to test and scale ideas. Innovating at the edge requires time to start showing positive returns. And for large, public companies, long-term innovation can be a challenge: It can take 5 to 7 years to build a new company, and statistically only 2% of these become unicorns.

Concrete steps to take to drive innovation:

1. Show the value of startup collaboration
Fostering a broader collaborative ecosystem is a win-win scenario for startups and big companies. By partnering with portfolio companies on innovation projects, companies can accelerate speed to market, fill an offer gap or create efficiencies that have tangible results.

2. Test new markets to gain unique insights
Capturing market insights and failing faster are key benefits of working with external companies. Incubated companies can reach the market, test and pivot business models much faster than a project launched by the core business. External innovation programs can provide more accurate market insights than consultants, particularly in times of disruption, when traditional analysts may miss the mark.

3. Joint venture to gain traction faster
Up to 90 percent of startups fail, but the mortality rate for joint ventures is considerably lower at 40 to 60 percent. Backed by the resources and brand recognition of the parent companies, joint ventures can gain traction much faster than a new startup. For example, in 2019, Schneider Electric—where I work as the chief innovation officer–launched AlphaStruxure  with the Carlyle Group to change the business model by which infrastructures are being financed, built and operated. AlphaStruxure designs, builds, owns and operates decentralized energy systems that deliver sustainability, reliability, resilience and long-term savings for large energy users across the commercial, industrial and infrastructure sectors by offering an Energy as a Service (EaaS) model that enables customers to stabilize long-term energy costs and upgrade critical energy systems without capital investment. Working in a market with notoriously long sales cycles and risk-averse customers, this joint venture already has a robust pipeline of projects.

Success of the navy relies on collaboration with pirates

Some people still believe that only two people in a garage can innovate and disrupt an industry, big companies are getting better at innovating and disrupting themselves. The secret lies in having a long-term view on innovation that looks beyond the company’s four walls. This means collaborating with external partners, taking risks and having the time to experiment – and most of all, being okay with failing often. The success of the navy in the long term may just depend on collaboration with pirates.

Originally printed in Techonomy 
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Building the foundation for business resiliency - Schneider Electric Blog

Building the foundation for business resiliency – HVAC Dubai Blog

Understanding new challenges

Making your business more resilient is a battle on many fronts today. It involves much more than having expertise on your own products, services and customers. It requires the ability to extend operations to new locations and monitor and manage processes in a hands-off way. It also requires the ability to be objective and honest about internal capabilities – and know when to depend on trusted partners. For the many organizations that are highly competent and take pride in their ability to run their business with great efficiency and security – this shift could be a difficult one. But improving resiliency means understanding your ability to be effective on new fronts. Ensuring cyber and physical security, improving operational efficiency, and meeting sustainability goals are complex and ever-changing challenges. Especially for cybersecurity – finding the skills and expertise to meet these challenges will be even tougher in the next few years as demand increases.

IDC conducted a study in early 2020 to better understand the challenges that organizations face and the strategies to improve. (Note that this study was done before the impact of COVID-19 was felt worldwide.) One of the puzzling findings from this study was that despite an overwhelmingly positive experience with services – and a high level of difficulty of tackling certain problems on their own – many organizations still plan to use internal resources to implement key initiatives. We live in a do-it-yourself world. The positivity and can-do attitude of many facilities and operations leaders is admirable and should be encouraged. However, in the face of increasing cyberattacks, the convergence of OT and IT, and the infusion of digital technologies into all aspects of business – many organizations lack the skills and scope needed to do business in an increasingly digital and connected world.

Confirming the critical role of having expert partners was found in data gathered in a May 2020 survey, where 42% of U.S. respondents said that because of COVID-19 and the resulting social distancing, they had limited or no physical access to data center facilities. They relied on partners to deal with the additional demands for service.

expert services

Making the business case for services

Today, many organizations are experiencing facility and operations issues that are negatively impacting the business. The opportunity for greater operational efficiency and competitive differentiation is massive, but most have been struggling over the past 18 months. 38% of organizations said that facility issues caused downtime and loss of production. 36% said they experienced data security issues. One-third reported increased waste of resources. The first step in making a business case for improvement is to help C-level decision-makers understand the connection between facility and operational issues and business success.

What do decision-makers want to see? Metrics on cost savings and operational improvement. They need proof of value before investing. Of organizations that have engaged with a services provider, the most commonly cited areas where they have seen improvements are quality, efficiency, and resiliency.

What should decision-makers know? They should know the what-ifs that will impact company reputation, productivity, and resilience. Data breaches can cause immediate financial pain and lasting reputational damage. Inability to meet sustainability goals will impact the ability to attract investors and top talent. Before being tested on digital transformation readiness, prepare the business for success by embracing new ways of securing the business.

Engaging with a trusted services provider to develop a strategy for initiatives can unlock synergies within your organization. For example, investments in energy resiliency can also improve efficiency, which will accelerate progress on broader sustainability goals. And investments in digital services to reduce or eliminate production loss can also pave the way for better remote management of processes to ensure business resiliency. A trusted services provider can develop a strategy to maximize the value of investments and ensure progress on multiple initiatives.

Reducing risk in services engagements

When asked about the barriers to engaging with an outside or third-party services provider, the most frequently cited objection was fear of security risk by having non-employees on site. This fear is a valid one. Human error remains a top reason for downtime or lost productivity. Most organizations are trying to reduce the number of people who interact with their infrastructure and operations, not introduce more people to the environment. For this reason, organizations should only engage with a trusted provider that has a deep understanding of their business and the ability to provide services in multiple functional areas and geographic regions.

Besides physical security risk – there is reputational risk if objectives aren’t achieved. Another way to reduce risk in services engagements is to ask your provider to bear some of the weight of investment with you. Look for providers that are able to shift to outcomes-based pricing – arrangements where payment is made when objectives or defined outcomes are achieved.

Lessons learned

When asked how services have helped organizations, 36% said that services have improved the resiliency of their facilities. 40% said that services improved the quality of service and 38% reported improved operational efficiency. In a competitive environment, the ability to improve resiliency, quality, and efficiency are game changers. Key to gaining the most value from services is finding a partner that understands your business and can provide strategic guidance that will maximize impact across the business.

The organizations that will make the most progress on ensuring resilience are those that are able to understand the stakes, make an honest appraisal of internal skillsets, and leverage external expertise when needed. Services can help set the foundation for a more resilient business.

Download the full IDC white paper, “Maximizing Business and Operational Resilience Through Services” here.

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New Ways of Working: adapting to reality through digital resilience – HVAC Dubai Blog

Look around you—our world, as we knew it, has changed rapidly. Gone are the days—well, at least this Spring—of joining with family and friends for graduation celebrations, music festivals, large scale events, international travel plans, and side-by-side working with colleagues. Norms are challenged, rituals are reshaped, and digital resilience is redefined when we find ourselves adapting to new ways of living and working.

January 23, 2020: That was when the crisis response hit, and our first wave of employees in Asia moved to remote working. Shortly after, like a tidal wave of rippling response, the rest of global enterprise followed, and we were in full swing Business Continuity crisis management for our 135,000 employees.

In these instances, CIOs can choose to be either reactive or, take proactive measures by preparing a solid business continuity plan. Choosing the latter may be the difference between riding the wave or being swallowed by it.

Digital resilience

According to IDC, it’s estimated that by 2025 there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, including machines, sensors, and cameras. In hospitals, data centers, critical manufacturing plants, and industrial sites, continuous uptime is non-negotiable, especially during catastrophic events.

“So how do we ensure business continuity when the workforce suddenly becomes completely remote? Both technology and people need to be in place to adapt quickly.”

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Building the foundation with four key pillars:

1. Scaling IT infrastructure for business continuity

A modernized, digital backbone and infrastructure has been the gateway to resiliency, ensuring the ability to remotely monitor and conduct critical operations throughout server rooms, data centers and manufacturing floors. EcoStruxure– our IoT-enabled architecture and platform include connected products, to managing at the edge, to apps, analytics, and services.  In 2019, our portfolio grew Assets Under Management by 50%, with a 3% increase in products and over 480,000 EcoStruxure installations globally.  As a digital-first organization, we extend the same ambition internally, using our own digital technologies to operate efficiently, build products, and enable digital services. Currently, we have approximately 19,000 EcoStruxure connected devices within Schneider Electric facilities to accelerate our own digital transformation.

With EcoStruxure Asset Advisors, Schneider Electric seamlessly receives data center alerts while server rooms are vacated and manages inventory while factory-based employees remain at home. Today, with EcoStruxure IT, our technicians work behind the scenes to ensure business continuity and realize at least a 50% improvement in site restoral time.

With this digital infrastructure foundation already laid, we can seamlessly deploy business continuity plans ensuring digital resilience. We focused on three main areas:

  • Keeping our customer’s priorities at the forefront with continuous customer engagement.
  • Ensuring minimal disruption to our supply chain and employees and
  • Adapting to our new normal with an augmented workforce

2. Remote Working: a new normal

A Gartner, Inc. survey of CFOs recently revealed that 74% will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19.

“So how do you ensure your enterprise is equipped to empower its workforce remotely?”
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As our CEO, Jean-Pascal Tricoire shared in his recent blog, as the whole workforce dispersed to their homes, the enterprise was fully operational in less than two days.  Within a week, almost all our customer care center services were performed from home, to manage the 110% increase in call volumes.

At the onset of the pandemic, we had roughly 30,000 concurrent connections daily. As more and more countries instituted lockdowns and work from home mandates, that number then increased to 60,000, to 90,000, and now over 100,000 today.  Our marketing organization pivoted overnight to 100% digital, increasing to 115% in virtual events YoY.

For employees to collaborate digitally the digital services and platforms like Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Box made it possible. With Teams, we were easily able to scale up support for the entire workforce with minimal intervention. By the end of March, we were seeing a peak of nearly 26M minutes of virtual meetings monthly, a 73% increase since December of 2019.

3. Navigating the changing market conditions

At Schneider, we privilege people, partners, and partnerships in everything we do to ensure life is on – from the executive floor to the supply chain to the ecosystem. From simplifying and harmonizing our digital touchpoints to anticipate customers’ needs, to working with our suppliers to capitalize on their value, to digitizing our supply chain.  With change being the only constant, enabling a seamless flow of data from our suppliers to our inventory management applications to instantly adjust changes in taxation or delivery date was critical in mitigating any disruption to the supply change and ultimately our customers.

In 2017, we started to deploy our EcoStruxure Smart Factory program to automate manufacturing and digitize our supply chain. With EcoStruxure Plant and Machine in place, our manufacturing operations could continue, even with some factory-based employees such as Planning, Logistics, Inventory and Manufacturing Engineers with remote working.

4. Keeping Cyber Security Top of Mind regardless of the environment

According to recent reports, their world has seen a 400% increase in corona related attacks with hackers developing websites, apps, and tracking tools that claim to provide real-time information about the virus. We know that even under normal conditions, 95% of all security incidents involve human error. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cautions “Organizations should assume that malicious parties will gain control of telework client devices and attempt to recover sensitive data from them or leverage the devices to gain access to the enterprise network.” With this in mind, education and awareness are even more critical. This can include:

  • Promoting the use of the secure VPN
  • Enforcing the use of approved digital conferencing tools
  • Reminding employees of secure file sharing protocols
  • Changes in password policies mandating stronger combinations
  • Mandatory completion of training

Digital Transformation Fast-Tracked

At Schneider Electric, we believe access to energy and digital is a basic human right.  Our digital transformation started decades ago on the factory floor. For companies that may be just embarking on their journey, we can expect to see a rapid acceleration based on necessity. Technology and digitalization are the crux of what the world is reliant on today. Ensuring your enterprise is ready will help you stem the tide and set your sites on new shores will make the difference. And, as we establish new norms and capitalize on our collective digital resilience as a global community, may we all come out stronger and better together.

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Hospital Patient

How Smart Environmental Controls Become a Critical Success Factor for Hospital Patient Comfort and Safety – HVAC Dubai Blog

Within hospitals and healthcare clinics, a built environment that is designed to maintain safety and comfort plays an important role in aiding patient recovery. The controls that regulate environmental variables such as temperature, humidity, lighting, and airflow play critical roles. The built environment impacts infection transmission by ensuring correct levels of humidity and air exchanges. The odds of a faster healing process are also improved when thermal conditions are controlled in such a way that patients are more comfortable and safer.

Hospital Patient

Lighting also plays a crucial role in determining both patient safety and comfort. Control of light dimness can stimulate the brain’s neurons to induce sleep or to maintain wakefulness depending on the patient’s need. Proper lighting intensity is also required when nurses enter patient rooms to investigate exam results or to administer medicine so that errors are avoided.

How Modern Environmental Control Systems Deliver Safety, Comfort, and Business Value

Much of this healthcare environmental control takes place behind the scenes. Modern building automation systems and digitized devices such as room controllers help hospital facility staff to improve their ability to precisely regulate and monitor such sensitive environments. These systems help to drive patient safety and comfort in multiple ways:

  • Precision temperature control – A hospital building automation system must be capable of precisely controlling the temperature of individual rooms and departments within the facility. The temperature control requirements can vary and can be based on the type of procedure taking place. For example, in a burn unit, the ability to provide higher ambient temperatures will be needed to help patients maintain body temperatures. Whereas lower temperatures will be required in operating rooms and trauma areas. In these spaces, control of viruses and bacteria is critical but the body temperatures of patients also need to be kept lower to help better stem the flow of blood.

Temperature control is also important to aid the comfort levels of clinical staff. This is where local adjustment of the room environments is needed. Using smart interfaces and having controls systems adjust to the changing needs helps clinical staff to stay focused. And of course, maintaining comfort for patients is key to helping in their recovery. Providing patients with the ability to adjust their room temperatures is a key driver in patient satisfaction.

  • Humidity control– Humidity that is too low can act as a conduit for viruses making it easier for them to disperse and travel around a building. Low humidity dries mucous membranes and inhibits the body’s natural defense. Humidity that is too high can encourage the growth of bacteria. Humidity can also affect a patient’s perception of temperature (a damp room can feel colder than a drier room at the same temperature). Smart sensors that help to control humidity levels in rooms can help to both lower health risks and increase patient comfort.
  • Precision ventilation control – Different rooms across hospital environments require unique air ventilation settings. In an operating suite, for example, when an operation is occurring, up to 24 air changes per hour are required. The high air changes are required to protect patients from any potential airborne infections. In rooms that house imaging technologies (magnetic resonance imaging or MRI machines, for example) the equipment produces very high levels of heat. The ventilation systems need to cool the space and keep the systems operating. Then there are areas of the hospital where patients may have infectious disease and pose a risk to other patients and care givers. In these areas it is critical to move that air out of the space and make sure there is no risk of it flowing in to areas of the hospital. Hospitals also have research areas and pharmacy spaces where air flow needs to be very tightly controlled.
  • Lighting control – Lighting, can also significantly impact the psychological well-being of the patient. The use of natural light, artificial lighting, and color needs to be carefully planned. Having the right exposure and light quality can transform areas of the hospital by making them more attractive and welcoming. In the case of a patient’s room, properly controlled lighting can ensure a more restful experience, by helping patents to feel more relaxed. Window shading and control of glare is also important as many patients like an outside view while avoiding sunlight in their eyes when they are awake.

Staff are also impacted by proper lighting control and the various care environments require different lighting approaches. For example, lower lumen fixtures are required in intensive care units as opposed to in examination rooms. Lighting also impacts how doctors and nurses perform their clinical tasks and can help reduce error during emergency situations. From a facility operation and energy consumption perspective, lighting control can also help the hospital to achieve its energy savings and sustainability targets.

  • Regulatory compliance – Hospitals can also use modern building automation systems to maintain environmental regulation compliance. Failure to do so threatens patient health and can result in the loss of the facility’s healthcare accreditations and license to operate. Building automation systems (BAS) gather system performance data that can be retained as records for proving compliance (e.g., air turnover rates in operating rooms). The BAS logs and documents all important temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting parameters and provides the facility team with insight into their building operations, identifying areas where patient safety or comfort may be at issue.

Modernization Can Start Small

As hospitals and healthcare clinics prioritize their investments, modernization of building automation and building management system emerges as a critical success factor. In many facilities, antiquated systems make it difficult to fulfill patient safety and comfort expectations.

Organizations wishing to digitize their environmental control operations can begin by assessing the current systems and controls they have in place. Then, as performance gaps are identified, simple first steps, such as the installation of inexpensive environmental sensors and room-based controllers where all the infrastructure from the room can be connected, can be introduced to help modernize those areas most in need.

To learn more about how Schneider Electric can help hospitals modernize their facility control systems visit our EcoStruxure™ for Healthcare website.

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Discover the 3 IoT-enabled services that improve your building’s performance - Schneider Electric Blog

Discover the 3 IoT-enabled services that improve your building’s performance – HVAC Dubai Blog

Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and over 30% of CO2 emissions, in both the EU and the U.S. For most facilities, energy consumption and equipment maintenance represent a large percentage of operating costs. For most, this has remained an untapped opportunity for improving energy and operational efficiencies.

However, energy costs continue to rise in most regions, environmental regulations continue to emerge, and maintenance costs keep increasing (partially due to the need to meet safety and maintenance standards). Faced with these realities, organizations need to find affordable ways to manage energy-related financial and operational risks.

White PaperFortunately, three new, cost-effective technologies and services offer simple and effective ways to improve energy efficiency, occupant comfort, productivity, and maintenance, while getting greater performance from electrical distribution, HVAC and refrigeration systems. All of this is possible without increasing in-house staffing.

1. Connected maintenance software

Many small facilities depend on outsourced contract-based maintenance services. Connected maintenance software (CMS) is a cloud-based solution that enables a collaborative approach between facility managers and outside services.

Similar to traditional computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), a CMS can log maintenance activities and provide an inventory of all electrical, HVAC, fire safety, lighting, and industrial systems. But CMS goes beyond by staying connected to assets, monitoring equipment performance, and alerting the facility manager and contractor of any immediate maintenance needs (e.g. rooftop unit needs filters cleaned, circuit breaker has tripped).

CMS mobile access improves efficiency of maintenance personnel, while data sharing across all stakeholders provides visibility to work progress, helps prioritize work, and reduces time for diagnosis and repair. It can also be used by contractors to simplify monitoring for multiple customer sites and to enable enhanced consulting services. Further, CMS can be used as a digital logbook by panel builders and contractors in the earlier building design and commissioning phases, capturing important documentation and history back to initial construction.

2. Remote building operation

Remote building operation platforms take advantage of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) by incorporating wireless sensors and controls. Enhanced connectivity also includes remote, mobile access to cloud-based data and equipment control capabilities.

The lower installed cost of an IoT-enabled platform makes remote building operation solutions affordable for small and medium-sized buildings, enabling a number of benefits. For example:

  1. Improved responsiveness to equipment problems, thanks to alerts sent to onsite staff or contractors.
  2. Automated temperature testing and reporting for refrigeration units to save time.
  3. Automated control scheduling, such as optimizing HVAC temperature and ventilation settings across multiple sites, and turning specific area lighting on or off in conjunction with store hours for energy savings.

Remote building operation solutions can also be combined with connected maintenance software to not only identify problems sooner, but to also help identify root causes and create work orders to resolve problems faster. The IoT cloud-based platform also offers contractors an opportunity to provide remote building management services.

IoT building services

3. Facility optimization services

To fully optimize building performance requires extensive energy intelligence and analysis expertise to uncover opportunities to reduce waste and save money. New, affordable facility optimization service options are becoming available that deliver valuable insights, advice, and return-on-investment calculations.

Wireless IoT-enabled meters and sensors track energy consumption and equipment conditions for all assets within each building. Cloud-based analytic software collects data from one or more buildings, delivering enterprise-wide visualization, detailed analysis, and customized reporting.

The key aspect of facility optimization services is the support of an expert service provider team. Service personnel continuously monitor conditions to detect inefficiencies and any risk conditions in power, energy, and equipment that manual methods would not be able to detect. There are a broad range of service types typically available:

  • Building optimization services: Identify faults in HVAC and other systems before they become occupant complaints, proactively address building inefficiencies, and improve sustainability.
  • Asset optimization services: Anticipate and address issues with electrical distribution assets before they become critical incidents, downtime, or safety risks. This also supports a transition from a preventative to a predictive maintenance approach.
  • Energy optimization services: Achieve efficiency improvements, support energy conservation measures, enable ISO 50001 certification or green building rating, modernize electrical systems, and optimize energy contracts.

Service teams will also provide regular reporting and consultation, recommending to facility teams the best opportunities to conserve energy or correct reliability issues. Together, the two teams can collaborate on establishing budget and timeline for projects, tailoring solutions, and validating performance improvements and savings afterwards.

This collaboration helps mutualize expertise and increase in-house skills, which can accelerate success and payback over time. Navigant Research estimates that engaging outside expert services can often represent savings of up to 25% on energy bills and reductions of up to 12% on operational costs.

Click here to learn more about the complete range of Schneider Electric technology and services to help small and medium-size facilities improve building systems reliability and efficiency. To further learn more about this topic, discover our white paper “Top 3 technologies that improve energy and asset performance for buildings with limited resources.”

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