What is Schneider Electric's 5-year vision for South America? – BNamericas English

Schneider Electric is optimistic about the outlook for its South American business over the next five years, as demand for digitization and investments by industries in energy transition are expected to continue growing.
“We see a positive cycle in the region in line with digitalization. There will be more and more digital requirements and the world has to be more electric,” the company’s South American CEO, Rafael Segrera, told journalists in a press conference.
Mobility and remote working imply a lot more automation of business, which tends to keep the demand for connectivity high, he said. At the same time, this will require training for people skilled in these topics, a critical bottleneck in Latin America.
While the path for a company to be increasingly efficient necessarily involves the interconnectivity of assets within its plants, not everyone is ready for that. 
“We’re not yet at the level [of connectivity within sites] that we need in South America to be more productive and efficient,” he said in reply to a question from BNamericas.
Outside the plants there is also more to be done.
“The second level of the connected plant is interconnected plants,” he said. 
Schneider Electric itself is investing in centralized management of its 200 sites around the world through a smart factory concept.
“Our smart factory group is working on the possibility of having a control center to visualize productivity, efficiency, connectivity and everything that has to do with the sustainable impacts that each of these factories has and what actions we’re taking,” Segrera said.
On 5G, the executive sees the technology being adopted at varying speeds across the region, as happened with 4G and 3G. He agrees that it will be game-changer for manufacturing sectors due to its low latency and high transition capacity, but it is not the only technology that can be used to connect things.
Schneider Electric has worked with partners in the telecom sector to connect projects in customers’ plants using 4G “and even 3G,” the executive said.
On sustainability and the energy transition, the prospects for the region are equally promising, at least if the long-term targets are maintained. 
“When we talk about sustainability, we see the commitments of governments and companies and this will also lead to a strong demand for services, products and everything related to that,” he said.
The process is expected to be uneven though, and some sectors will be positively impacted more quickly, while others will have difficulties in adjusting to the new demands, he added.
Furthermore, the commitments made still need to be translated into effective actions.
“We hope that these verbal commitments translate into concrete actions and those actions are expedited,” he said.
According to Schneider Electric’s latest report, the CO2 emissions of its top 1000 suppliers must be reduced by up to 50% by the end of this decade compared with current levels. If these targets are not met, it will be virtually impossible to restrict the global temperature increase to the limit of 1.5°C defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It also states that buildings consume about 30% of the world’s energy and account for nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has been investing in automation and emissions management platforms for “eco-structures” in Europe and around the region, executives said at the press conference.
For industrial sectors such as mining and metals, the company is supplying software and hardware platforms and solutions for digital twins, preventive maintenance and inventory optimization, they added.
Schneider Electric has also created a new business line, for consultancy on energy transition processes, serving clients in the mining sector in Brazil, Argentina and Chile already.
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