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Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Commentary

Schneider’s small talks for big results

MARK LYNDERSAY

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC started the 2018 edition of their roadshow, a series of travelling discussions called the Caribbean Boardroom Exchange, in Trinidad last week. The company will visit Jamaica and Dominica next.

Schneider bought power management company APC in 2006, and now offers a range of solutions that scale from the individual with a laptop to the multinational company with interlocking server rooms.

In 2016, Schneider abandoned big expo shows in favour of more intimate, solutions-oriented discussions with existing and potential customers in order to tailor solutions from their considerable range of offerings to specific needs.

“People would come to the big event,” said Manuel Gonzalez, Channel marketing manager, “and then ask for a meeting to discuss details, so we designed this meeting format to have discussions that are specific to their industry and market sector needs.”

The company has introduced a range of products that kept pace with developments in the big iron server room sector, but its recent meetings have also been introducing new ideas from the company that look forward to developments that are still evolving.

This year it’s Edge computing, solutions targeting small and medium data centres.

“Going to the cloud has its benefits,” said Manuel Rodrigues, ITD sales director for the Caribbean, “but there are certain applications that require an on-premise presence.” Schneider is targeting companies that are working with distributed infrastructure, such as banking, which is built around smaller satellite installations, sometimes as small as a single rack equivalent.

These schema optimise in-branch latency and responsiveness but are designed to communicate between branches and a head office in a typical hub and spoke design.

Schneider markets a mix of hardware that addresses server room design, cooling and power efficiency needs as well as suites of software that improve management of these systems, both on-site as well as via remote log-in.

“If you are on one island and all your infrastructure is in all these different nodes,” said Rodrigues, “our software solutions allows you to see what’s happening on the network — and to assess the infrastructure while it is in use.”

“Multiple sites will be consuming energy, and these solutions can monitor how it is being used and allow customers to plan strategies to reduce energy use.”

Speed and responsiveness aren’t the only value propositions for Schneider’s Edge. The company promises greater data security, more responsive troubleshooting and compliance with governance requirements for data location. “There are a number of situations where a single rack system needs optimisation for performance, reliable cooling and power consistency.

“There are landing stations for broadband systems when they arrive on the island, retail systems that have significant on-site demand for applications, the health sector, where reliability and uptime are critical.

“On the local Edge, it’s always going to be about mission-critical applications; if the response lags, you are looking at downtime when the demand is at its greatest.

“It’s the last mile concept. If you are running cameras for security, you will need power security and the system will need to be ruggedised.

We’re having these meetings to understand the needs and pain points for all these industries. “It’s been an eye opener for our customers. It’s now becoming a conversation about the details. What can we build that will fit all these different uses and create a customised solution for their needs? “We don’t foresee the Edge solution displacing cloud computing. There will always be mix of the two that offers advantages to the customer.”

Schneider Electric works with partner networks Massy Technologies, Informatix and EOM locally.

Mark Lyndersay is the editor of technewstt.com. An expanded version of this column can be found there

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