schneider electric: India to be AI hub for Schneider Electric


Schneider Electric is making India its global artificial intelligence hub, said a senior executive.

Peter Weckesser, executive vice president at Schneider Digital and chief digital officer at Schneider Electric, said India was already the biggest part of the digital organisation, with 40% of the 2,000 member team in India. Overall, Schneider Electric has over 5,500 R&D and software engineers in India, across various technologies and functions.

The French company has set itself the agenda of focusing on using artificial intelligence to generate more value internally and for customers.

“We have built an open AI organisation, which stretches across the internal and external risks responsibility, and also this AI organisation has the biggest footprint in India,” said Weckesser.
At present, the AI hub has 200 people globally, of which 65 are in India.

The company started working on integrating AI into their products a year and a half ago, and realised that it needed to bundle all the AI competencies in one global AI hub, which is when the Bengaluru centre was selected. It has appointed a chief AI officer, who is currently in France, and Weckesser said that this role could someday be led out of India as well.

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Hiring, he said, would continue, both for the AI organisation in India as well as the larger R&D set up. “My organisation not only has the biggest footprint running in India, We also have the highest number of new people we are hiring in India. So, we have a very strong commitment to India. And this percentage of 40% will rather go up than go down in the future,” said Weckesser.

The company has an ambition of reaching Euro 500 million in cost savings through its AI initiative in the medium term, and also influence Euro 500 million of sales, although this isn’t formally part of the sales targets it has. “We see the pipeline of AI projects growing on a daily basis and this is starting to generate an impact,” said Weckesser.

Schneider Electric is working towards making all its products more digital, and as part of that initiative, is working to connect all the products and devices to the cloud. This makes the data accessible to them and customers, and enables customers to build applications on the cloud. Several of these platforms and product portfolios as well IoT competencies are present in India.

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