Schneider’s new tech solutions for local business

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Above: Manuel Rodrigues and Manuel Gonzalez of Schneider Electric at the Hyatt Regency before their discussions with business decision makers last week. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

BitDepth#1097 for June 13, 2017

The Manuels arrived with a new strategy this year.

Representing Schneider Electric, the parent company of the power control company American Power Conversions (APC), the team arrived in T&T last week with a new plan to reach the local enterprise technology industries.

The company previously hosted roadshows inviting much larger groups to convention style meetings, but found that people were reluctant to discuss serious business needs in front of business rivals and competitors.

“We are placing an emphasis on the Caribbean,” explained Manual Gonzales, Channel Marketing Manager for the Caribbean and Central America regions.

The 2017 Caribbean Boardroom Exchange, an annual commitment started in November 2016 to engage with the company’s customers, is a move toward “more one on one conversations with decision makers, learning more about their companies, what they are doing and what their needs are.”

“We implemented the first version in Jamaica and had an excellent response.”

APC is well regarded among consumers for their reliable and robust uninterruptible power supply (UPS) boxes (disclosure: I’ve been an APC customer for 15 years), but Schneider’s scale is massive.

Schneider designs power control, backup and regulation systems for the global scale industries, with solutions ranging from server racks to solar energy collection and industrial automation.

Manual Rodrigues, ITD Sales Director for the Caribbean was keen to discuss the company’s InRow cooling systems, which address the challenges of cooling large server rooms.

“Comfort cooling,” Rodrigues explained, “will manage the whole room and the people working in it, but doesn’t always get into racks with the efficiency that’s necessary.”

“More consolidation is happening in datacenter environments, with higher loads per rack and higher heat expenditure that needs to be dealt with.”

“Having the right extraction and containment systems for heat are critical in that kind of environment.”

The InRow cooling system works directly in the rack installation to contain heat and bring more efficient localised cooling to servers.

Schneider has found that humidity control is also a major factor in the region’s computing environment and these precision cooling units manage the humidity of the environment. Sensors deployed around the datacenter will respond to heat and humidity issues on a rack by rack basis.

This year the company celebrates the tenth anniversary of its acquisition of APC, but in pursuit of technology trends and the support systems that will be needed to keep them running, the company recently bought AST Modular.

“This wasn’t a solution I’d ever considered,” Rodriguez admitted.

Founded in 1999 in Spain, AST Modular has refined the datacenter as external, prefabricated building unit to a very high degree.

“This isn’t the sort of thing you want to be moving around like a trailer,” said Gonzalez, “but it can be moved and it allows companies to build a datacenter outside of premises that may be cramped for expansion.”

“Think of a hospital,” adds Rodriguez, “what’s the best use of the space in a hospital, beds or computers?”

The company is going further than visits to deepen its relationships with its customers.

Schneider has established a local rapid deployment center to respond to customer needs in T&T as part of its investment in the region, appointing Sharlene Mangalie as Enterprise Territory Manager for the Caribbean, but based in T&T.

“Having her here has dramatically improved our ability to respond to our customers, and we can respond better to customers across all segments,” said Rodrigues.

Small business customers should not be concerned about this emphasis on enterprise.

“We are trying to develop our channels to be able to respond to all customers, including smaller customers,” said Rodrigues.

“We are investing in marketing to customers, and reaching SMB customers as we promote to our partner network as well as directly to customers.”