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March 02, 2019
3 min read

Schneider Electric Uses API-driven Integration for Innovative Energy Management

Schneider Electric is the market leader in the digital transformation of the energy management and automation industry, with an annual revenue of over 25 billion Euros and around 150,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Schneider Electric makes it possible for IoT-enabled solutions to seamlessly connect, collect, analyze, and act on data in real-time. In doing so, they deliver enhanced safety, efficiency, reliability, and sustainability to their customers. The company helps its customers do three main things: enable them to to manage their efficiency better by optimizing their processes and energy usage; manage their energy supply better by integrating local production and managing energy sourcing; and lastly, manage their grid better through digitalization.

Addressing Changing Energy Needs Through Technology

Schneider Electric is keenly aware of the changing energy and technology landscape and knows that it needs to stay ahead of these changes in order to remain competitive. As the demand for energy continues to increase, Schneider Electric’s approach to solving this issue is to find ways of generating energy more efficiently. Using digitization and IoT, the company is looking at being three times more efficient in its energy demand going forward. In 2015, Schneider Electric decided to move from solution-driven integration, to a service oriented architecture (SOA). This simplified how customers could access and consume services in a more standardized way, and also shielded them from the complexity of the back-end of the SOA systems. The digital team at Schneider Electric decided to use APIs to support the new SOA, and sought API publishers that would be able to expose APIs easily, and manage them effectively.

Schneider Electric chose WSO2 API Manager because it fulfilled all of their requirements while being open source and flexible in that it could be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. WSO2 API Manager was the ideal choice as it addresses full API lifecycle management, monetization, and policy enforcement as well as extensibility and customization.

They also decided to replace their legacy integration solution with WSO2 Enterprise Integrator in order to further support their API real-time strategy. WSO2 Enterprise Integrator is a comprehensive integration solution that enables communication between various disparate applications. Instead of having Schneider Electric’s various applications communicate directly with each other in all their different formats, WSO2 Enterprise Integrator would enable all of the disparate applications to communicate with the the product which handles transforming and routing of messages to their appropriate destinations. According to Tristan Solanet, integration platform owner at Schneider Electric, using WSO2 Enterprise Integrator has helped bring consistency across the company.

Deployment From Europe to the US and China

Schneider Electric began by deploying WSO2 API Manager and WSO2 Enterprise Integrator in a data center in Europe. The company uses both internal gateways and external gateways, the former for internal network usage and the latter has a subset of APIs published on them. As its customer base in the US expanded, Schneider Electric’s digital team decided to deploy select API gateways in North America using an Amazon virtual private cloud. This addressed the problem of latency that US customers had experienced when they had to call gateways in Europe in order to access information and support. The next step in Schneider Electric’s deployment strategy was to address the increasing demand from China. Taking into consideration the specificities of the Chinese context, Schneider Electric deployed additional gateways in China. Among the challenges the company faced was in making the connection between China and Europe work. The connection between the US and Europe through the company’s internal network had been a lot smoother than the one between China and Europe. Ultimately, it was decided that a second key manager be configured in China, in addition to the original one in Europe.

Schneider Electric’s partnership with WSO2 has enabled the company to share functional intelligence with their customers using log value. Custom dashboards have also been developed to suit the company’s needs using WSO2’s analytics capabilities. Metrics are monitored on a real-time basis on these dashboards and can be filtered for geographic region, period of time, and customer’s perspective.

EcoStruxure: An IoT Enabled Interoperable Platform

Schneider Electric also created EcoStruxure, an IoT-enabled, plug-and-play, open, interoperable architecture and platform. It is used in homes, buildings, data centers, and infrastructure industries and delivers innovation at multiple levels from Connected Products to Edge Control, and Apps, Analytics and Services. EcoStruxure has 6 domains of expertise – Power, IT, Building, Machine, Plant, and Grid and uses standard communication protocols to simplify the collection of data from intelligent devices around a customer’s organization. The data is then analyzed either locally using Edge Control or remotely in the cloud to provide the customer with critical insights to improve their business.

Interoperability is a key feature of EcoStruxure, facilitating the deployment of a range of agnostic applications, analytics, and services for seamless enterprise integration. To put it simply, EcoStruxure bridges IT and IoT and allows customers to maximize the value of their business data. Data is transformed into actionable intelligence which in turns leads to wiser business decisions. To date, deployment of EcoStruxure exceeds 450,000 installations, with the support of 9,000 system integrators, and over a billion connected devices.

mySchneider App: Showcasing Digital Transformation at Schneider Electric

The redesigned mySchneider App is one of the flagships of Schneider Electric’s digital transformation initiative. Distributors, partners, Schneider employees and increasingly, end-users use it to connect to the company’s digital hub. Based almost entirely on APIs, mySchneider App allows access to information on order management, support, partnership management, and a comprehensive product catalog. The app has been translated into 36 languages and has approximately 30,000 unique users a month. Each user has the ability to customize their interface with the app based on their user profile and country.

The benefits of an API-led connectivity approach include building reusable assets that save the company time and money, creating infrastructure that is flexible and designed for change, along with enhanced visibility, compliance, and governance. Projects are now delivered faster and team productivity is greater as a result.

Schneider Electric believes that by implementing SOA with an API-led connectivity approach, facilitated by WSO2, they have been able to drive business agility, provide customers with better customer experiences, and retain their competitive advantage as the world leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.

Watch Tristan’s talk to learn more about Schneider Electric's plans to prepare for the future.

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