Cloud computing will be a necessary component as power and energy management systems continue to converge.
"When you think of this space and energy management, you have to think about what's going on in the cloud," said Barry Coflan, senior vice president of offer development in Schneider Electric's Buildings Business. Coflan was speaking at Schneider's EcoStruxure In Action event in Chicago on Tuesday.
According to Coflan, Schneider's EcoStruxure architecture, which was introduced last year, converges once disparate systems including data center management through its APC offerings, power management, processes and machine management, building management and security management. Breaking down the architecture silos, Coflan said, can ease management and cut energy costs.
"EcoStruxure makes them compatible," Coflan said, adding that leveraging the cloud through IP and Web services to manage an entire building's power infrastructure -- and its various facets -- can create energy efficiency savings in the 20 percent to 30 percent range, on average, and nearly 40 percent on the high end.
Leveraging the cloud, customers' "device and management data is presented on the web" from the customer site to Schneider, where Schneider can monitor and report on energy use, Coflan said.
"We do that through cloud connectivity," he added.
Collapsing various architectures and connecting devices and platforms, and putting that information in the cloud, also lets companies leverage Web services to access, view and monitor their power consumption data and manage their energy usage. For example, Coflan said, a CFO can leverage Web services that tap data from sensors to determine the energy savings by dollars, while building management can determine energy usage based on BTUs, Watts or other units of measure.
"It delivers data to the user in a format that they care about," he said.
A cloud-based energy management system leveraging Schneider's Business Management System, it's APC ISX Central data center management, and it's PowerLogic Ion Enterprise power meters and systems gives users pre-tested integration, a single sign-on to the different systems, alarm sharing, data sharing and GUI sharing.
Systems can also be segment-focused to be dropped in specific business environments, whether it is retail, health care or others.
Cloud computing and energy are "closely married," Coflan said, adding that Schneider has forged relationships with cloud computing leaders like Amazon, Cisco, Google and IBM.