Schneider Electric and Cisco Partner to Bridge Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) in building management systems

Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, and Cisco have formed a technology partnership designed to help drive major advances in making smart buildings the standard. Working together, the two companies have developed, tested and validated designs that help connect building management systems to an Internet Protocol (IP) network with a secure, scalable and resilient architecture that is easy to manage.                                                                           

Two technology leaders, one best-in-class solution
Today’s smart buildings are increasingly digitized and leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) for greater efficiency, optimized occupant comfort, and increased building value. The solution from Schneider Electric and Cisco brings IT and operational building control together in a secure and efficient IP network solution. It enables multiple Schneider Electric EcoStruxure™ Building IP architecture topologies to integrate with existing building layouts using Cisco Industrial Ethernet switches to connect to Schneider’s SmartX IP Controllers. The solution meets system availability requirements upon deployment, saving customers time and resources while increasing peace of mind.

”Schneider Electric is leading the digital transformation of smart buildings with EcoStruxure™ Building, a secure and open platform, making it possible for IoT enabled solutions to seamlessly connect, collect, analyze, and act on data in real-time,” said Kaynam Hedayat, VP Product Management, Digital Energy, at Schneider Electric. “It is exciting to see our solutions, coupled with Cisco IT expertise, deliver results. It lets our EcoXpert partners deliver the best solutions to their customers, while helping them grow their businesses, differentiate their companies, and be more profitable.”

The Schneider and Cisco solution makes building management systems more:

Secure 

  • Standardize with a single security vendor for IT and OT security
  • Identify, segment, and mediate anomalies or cyber-attacks as they occur
  • Enforce consistent identity-based security policy on the network infrastructure
     

Scalable

  • Easily scale from small to large deployments while managing an increasing amount of data that is continuously collected for IoT applications
  • Leverage a high-speed IP network for managing real-time system operations

 

Resilient

  • Increase building system availability by ensuring that network failures do not shut down connected systems
  • Quickly and efficiently identify and resolve issues using standard network diagnosis tools
     

Easy to Manage 

  • Reduce costs and simplify BMS management with one converged network for IT and OT systems
  • Enable technicians without deep IP experience to commission Ethernet fieldbus switches prior to installation with Plug and Play, zero-touch configuration

 

Technology partnership in action at the University of Notre Dame
Large campus environments are among the many organizations to increasingly implement IP-enabled building management systems to enhance performance while maintaining security, as seen at the University of Notre Dame (UND) in Indiana. “The need for separation between IT and OT networks is an important topic and was part of our decision-making process to proceed with the Cisco-Schneider technology partnership at UND,” said Whitey Reed, Director of Automation & Integration at Havel, An EMCOR Company, a Schneider Electric master-level BMS EcoXpert™ partner.

Havel’s building management system architecture at the University of Notre Dame’s Dispatch Operations Center features the Cisco IE2000 managed switch with the field bus located below the SmartX AS-P Edge Server. The managed switch is DHCP-enabled so the BACnet communication remains beneath the AS-P and keeps the data traffic from going across the IT network. According to Reed, this is what customers are looking for today: one point of connection into the building, which adheres to standard IT best practices for a single static IP address to manage the network while allowing more data to push through faster, enhancing performance for customers.

“This project at UND has opened the door to broader horizons for Havel to understand the difference between information technology and operational technology,” said Reed. “IP solutions in the building automation industry are here now and we need to be a part of it. Customers are loving that we get it, and Schneider Electric gets it. And we partnered with a company such as Cisco that carries a lot of weight in the cybersecurity business, and it certainly has helped our customers immensely.”

"Cisco is excited to partner with Schneider Electric, delivering comprehensive IP-enabled Building Management System solutions to enable the seamless migration of the University of Notre Dame's infrastructure to a converged architecture. By combining Cisco's IT innovation with Schneider Electric's OT innovation, we are uniquely positioned to deploy this solution in a highly scalable and secure manner. Our joint solution, along with the capabilities of Havel, allows us to meet and exceed the University's needs to have a distinct Smart Building design, significantly reducing operational costs, and optimizing energy consumption," said Mike Austin, Senior Director, Cisco Global Partner Organization.

 

Solution Technology Integrator (STI) Extension
Through the partnership, Schneider Electric and Cisco have extended their Solution Technology Integrator (STI) agreement to qualified Certified and Master EcoXpert™ system integrator partners. As “Cisco Select” or higher-level partners, Schneider EcoXperts gain access to Cisco training and education on IP Ethernet architectures, and can benefit from simplified, predictable and discounted pricing on Cisco products, including Industrial Ethernet Switches, Catalyst Switches, Industrial Network Director (IND) software, and more.

Discover more about this partnership here.

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