Schneider Electric and Telvent Team Up for Smart Cities

Rising populations, fierce global competition and ambitious environmental goals are putting demands on city services to improve efficiencies and sustainability. To help solve these challenges, Schneider Electric and Telvent unveiled a suite of hardware and software solutions specifically designed for urban infrastructures.

Dubbed SmartCity, the platform combines Schneider Electric and Telvent services and targets all facets of city planning including energy and water management, transportation, building efficiency, public safety and government administration. The strategy includes collaborating with city officials to engage with developers and urban planners, private investors, vendors and service providers.

"We're working at the highest level of city government to understand the challenges and help with long-term planning," said Jon Reifschneider, head of the SmartCity initiative for Telvent. "We see smart cities as a very strategic market opportunity and the joint offering with Schneider Electric and Telvent gives us the unique capability to deliver custom solutions that meet the specific needs of each city."

The SmartCity offering includes tools and resources to manage electricity and integrate renewable energy sources; integrate electric vehicles; manage water networks to reduce water losses and outages; improve information sharing between public service agencies; and energy management and environmental monitoring to improve building efficiency and energy consumption.

"Like many enterprises, cities tend to have siloed systems for managing energy, traffic, water, and other city resources," said Reifschneider. "The Telvent platform helps pull data from all city management systems to integrate information-sharing and achieve synergies."

French-based Schneider Electric, makers of power gear equipment, acquired Telvent for $2 billion in June to offer a larger portfolio of energy management and smart grid solutions and expand into emerging markets. It was the latest in a series of acquisitions from Schneider as it expands into broader fields, including the acquisition of data center service firm Lee Technologies in April and its purchase of carbon software firm Summit Energy in March.

Reifschneider said the company is still finalizing pilot projects with a number of cities, but noted Brazil as an attractive opportunity with Sao Paulo and Rio hosting the World Cup and the Olympics in 2014 and 2016, respectively. China, which will add 50 to 100 new cities with a population over one million by 2050, is also planning smart city initiatives as well as improving efficiencies within existing infrastructures.

While a number of European & the U.S. municipalities have expressed interest in the SmartCity offering, Reifschneider said a lack of resources and financing is the biggest challenge to get those projects off the ground.

"We have existing relationships with hundreds of cities globally and plan to leverage our installed base to identify new business models and financing strategies for long-term efficiency improvements," said Reifschneider.

Skyscrapers at night photo by Shutterstock