Electricity 4.0 is here – how can electrical contractors adapt and thrive?
Online communities such as the APC Amplify Rewards Program essential to the future success of electrical contractors according to Natalie Block, Director of Global Contractor Channel at Schneider Electric
There can be little doubt that our future will continue to become increasingly electric. Electricity is the most efficient energy available – virtually 100% efficient at end-use.
It’s expected that by 2040, its use will double, reaching at least 40% of final energy consumed. The move toward a more electric world is occurring quickly, and the quest to leverage additional renewable energy sources, reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability will not only alter the energy mix we use today, but potentially revolutionise generation and storage methods in the years ahead.
A new age for the electrical industry is already here
The energy revolution isn’t limited to issues of supply and demand; technological disruption is also transforming the electric industry itself. Evolving technologies and emerging capabilities – from mobile connectivity and real-time data, through smart industrial sensors, (IIoT) and digitisation are fundamentally altering the global business landscape.
These environmental, technological, and economic developments are commonly referred to as Electricity 4.0. Though not universally defined, Schneider Electric’s vision of Electricity 4.0 is one where electricity generation and use are much more sustainable, efficient and economical. We see a net-zero carbon future, powered by renewables and managed through cutting-edge digital know-how and an electrical internet of things (EIoT).
A world without energy waste – made green, efficient and sustainable by reimagining how we live, travel and deploy technology. Electricity 4.0 isn’t just aspirational. This shift is underway now. The only question is how long it will take to fully implement.
Increasing electrification is not the only mega-trend reshaping the industry. Digitisation and hyper-connectivity have put significant pressure on electrical contractors’ traditional business model, driving the need for constant training through services that allow them to learn, earn and connect such as the APC Amplify Rewards Program by Schneider Electric.
Firstly, electrical installations are becoming more complex. Many end-users are seeking all-in-one solutions that leverage intricate technologies and software, or fully integrated solution platforms that need to perform in diverse applications, across multiple industries. Secondly, digital transformation has caused customer expectations to rapidly expand, with many looking to form more “problem solving” type associations with key suppliers – like electrical contractors.
Delivering value-added expertise that clients will prize in an uncertain future is one of the best ways to build customer trust, improve margins and monetise installations throughout their lifecycle. It’s also a great way to stand out amongst the competition.
Adapt to a more electric future with the help of knowledgeable partners
This may sound daunting, but even as connectivity and the digital revolution has moved the competitive goalposts for so many contractors, it also offers unprecedented opportunities to make their businesses more efficient, responsive and customer-centric. And, while clients demand increasingly personalised products and services, delivered ever more quickly and efficiently, there are smart digital tools out there to help contractors do that and more. Staying competitive in our evolving industry and even preparing for the next wave of change can be as straightforward as collaborating with the right industry partner.
Schneider Electric believes that its role in facilitating a more sustainable and resilient future for our customers and stakeholders will be built on partnerships, and simple, open and digital tools/solutions that help everyone run their operations more efficiently and sustainably.
For contractors, this is exemplified by our mySchneider Contractor Program and EcoXpert Partner Program. The issue so many contractors face is not about access to information, but how to find targeted, expert business intelligence created to support their specific needs. With only so many hours in the day, one of the best ways to accelerate a business growth strategy is to leverage applicable tools and educational assets that help streamline workflow and enhance knowledge.
The mySchneider Contractor Program is specifically focused on providing those resources. Recently, the program also extended its APC Amplify Rewards Program to those in the electrical community to provide contractors with the tools to further grow their businesses. As part of the program, electricians also have the opportunity to earn instant cash rewards for EDGE certifications while being connected to a valued network of trusted partners.
The complementary EcoXpert program meanwhile, provides opportunities for partners to expand the value of their solutions and service offerings. Whether they’re focused on equipment like smart panels and metering, or all-in-one technology solutions such as energy management, building optimisation or cloud-based efficiency systems, contractors certified under the program are uniquely positioned to understand and resolve the criticalities their customers are facing.
As the innovation cycle accelerates and the commercial environment grows more complex, it’s more important than ever to partner with organisations who understand that simplified, open and digital solutions for sustainability and efficiency will be a vital part of helping contractors compete in an increasingly electric future.
This article was written by Schneider Electric’s director of global contractor channel Natalie Block.