AI-Assisted Energy Advising Service: 'Mind-plus-Machine'

Schneider Electric, an energy and automation digital solutions provider, has announced a new suite of AI-assisted advising services designed to improve the insights and analytics of a company's energy and sustainability portfolio.

"AI-assisted" and "robo-advising" are newish same-category buzz-labels in the artificial intelligence space that are emerging as more than marketing hype. Some industry watchers say robo-advising has transformed the financial services industry. Schneider says its doing the same thing for energy by providing a "mind-plus-machine approach" to customers who are looking to manage the energy transition within their operations.

"With climate change being the biggest existential threat to our society today, businesses large and small are looking to understand their environmental footprint in more detail and with more transparency," the company said in a statement, "and in response are looking at implementing solutions like Schneider's that can be transformative for their business and their impact on the planet."

The Kentucky-based Schneider claims that its new multi-million dollar investment in machine learning tools and data science is "filling a gap" in energy consulting that exists today, and leveraging a data-driven approach that is cost-effective, transparent, and gives their clients control and customization.

"A mind-plus-machine approach has already proven itself for applications in financial advising and traditional business consulting," said Schneider Electric's senior vice president Steve Wilhite, in a statement. "We've found that collaborative intelligence produced by this newest class of technology, in conjunction with our world-class consultants, helps our clients create a sustainability-based competitive advantage."

Continuing to add machine learning (ML) and data science to Schneider Electric's decades long legacy in traditional energy and sustainability consulting enhances clients' approach to how they source and procure energy and manage resources, Wilhite said. The company's aim is to use this technology to improve the predicative capabilities and enhanced insights of its services. The enhancements will more rapidly convert data into meaningful insights, better tailor recommendations to the needs of clients, and better support clients in reaching long-term environmental goals, he explained.
"We see tremendous opportunity to use the data and insights generated by organizations today to drive more than just operational benefits," he added. "This data, combined with the expertise of our global team, can significantly enhance how companies approach sustainability."

The company is pointing to its EcoStruxure Resource Advisor as an example of the impact of adding AI to next generation and existing services. EcoStruxure is the company's IoT-enabled, plug-and-play platform. The list of AI/ML enhancements in this release of the framework includes:

  • More tailored data paired with more customized, expedited recommendations
  • New enhancements to manage distributed energy resources (DERs), commodity hedges, and connected devices
  • Enhanced data collection processes, including Robotic Process Automation, that allow for the spotting of errors and detection of new savings opportunities more quickly and thoroughly than before
  • Better real-time resilience and reliability of energy portfolios
  • Mobile-optimized views for always-on, anytime information access

"This investment is the result of listening and responding to our client needs and capitalizing on cutting edge technologies. The result is an enhanced framework to help us address energy demand, resource efficiency and procurement on a level playing field, in a unified way for our customers," Wilhite said. "It also frees our team to connect differently with our clients. By automating our data processes and animating our clients' results with advanced visualizations, decision-making is augmented and accelerated. Our teams lead our clients to faster, more innovative, and more sustainable solutions in this age of climate urgency, with a healthier bottom-line as a byproduct, and that's a win-win for everyone."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at