Paul Campbell VP of Innovation, Schneider Electric
RocketSpace is a one-of-its-kind campus and ecosystem that fuels innovation by fostering connections with startups, like-minded corporate innovators and industry thought leaders. Beyond the benefits of being immersed in its unique community day-to-day, our collaboration has resulted in key partnerships with startups that are creating real business value.
Schneider Electric is a global leader in energy management and automation. The company has 170,000 employees serving customers in over 100 countries, helping them manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.
Schneider Electric is leading the way in a quickly evolving industry that requires smarter innovation in order to thrive. Customers in every industry are deploying “smart” solutions that monitor and manage energy consumption. As a result, Schneider Electric was focused on expanding its technology, product and service roadmap to meet changing customer requirements with innovative solutions, both from a commercial, as well as end-consumer perspective. With 5 percent of annual sales devoted to R&D, the company is fully invested in building the future of energy management — but there was room to accelerate its roadmap and strengthen its foundation — inside and outside the organization.
- Connecting internal innovation leaders with the startup culture and ecosystem
- Identifying technology gaps and strategic go-to-market partners
- Speeding up time-to-market for new projects
Schneider Electric selected RocketSpace as its innovation partner in 2014 and continues to run its Silicon Valley Innovation Program from the tech campus. Together, they have built a multi-prong innovation program focused on accelerating the company toward its aggressive innovation goals. The partnership addresses internal and external opportunities including:
- Building intrapraneurship through employee immersion in the RocketSpace and Silicon Valley startup ecosystem
- Access to promising technologies in the connected energy and IoT space that could augment their existing portfolio
- Exploring potential new products through visualization and rapid prototyping
Schneider Electric’s on-campus presence has created a unique environment for leaders to think and work like a startup, while also benefiting from access to emerging technologies being built by new industry players. Over 5 introductions with promising startups in the IoT and connected energy space have been made by RocketSpace.
One Silicon Valley company that Schneider Electric met through RocketSpace is Ohmconnect — a startup that has developed an innovative demand response program that allows everyday consumers to conserve energy during times of peak use, and earn money from that. The two companies recently announced a partnership to make connected homes an asset for grid operators. The pilot allows customers of California’s big three utilities to apply for a full suite of Schneider Electric’s home-energy management devices: Wi-Fi-connected thermostats, smart plugs, remote-controlled pool pumps, and even smart electric-vehicle chargers at a reduced cost. This is a first-of-its-kind pilot that could make a big impact on people, the environment and the energy industry.
As part of the pilot, OhmConnect recently launched an online retail store for connected smart home products, offering unique cash back rebates for Schneider's Wiser Smart Home product bundle. This gives energy conscious customers better access to Schneider products, while giving OhmConnect larger network effects as more users install internet of things devices in their homes.
The partnership has also expanded to include visual concept development and rapid prototyping of potential new products that will keep Schneider ahead of the curve. Deliverables include storyboarding, customer use research, visual design and prototyping. A project that may have taken closer to a year was condensed to a quick 3 month timeline, due to RocketSpace’s focus on speed and execution.