Digital-twin tech at crux of Schneider Electric’s $10.7B deal for Aveva

Digital twin technology plays a key role in French industrial automation company Schneider Electric’s plan to fully acquire British industrial and engineering software provider Aveva.

Schneider has been Aveva’s majority shareholder since 2018, when it bought around 60% of the company’s stock through a reverse merger that made Schneider’s industrial software business part of the UK company. Upon completion of the new acquisition agreement, all shares in the British company would be transferred to Schneider.

The idea is to further integrate Aveva’s digital twin capabilities – used to simulate processes and assist in the development and maintenance of complex industrial systems – and an extensive system-agnostic data platform into Schneider’s own portfolio, although the latter company’s intention has indicated it will retain Aveva relatively independently, in a statement.

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Aveva’s teams will not be merged with those of Schneider Electric, the software will remain based on open architectures and the British company will continue to operate relatively independently, according to the statement.

“Schneider Electric intends for Aveva to remain a separate legal group with its own board of directors,” the company said. “Schneider Electric is committed to maintaining Aveva’s distinctive software culture well into the future.”

Data hub OSIsoft enables system integration

Key to the transaction is Aveva’s 2021 acquisition of OSIsoft, the maker of a real-time data hub for analyzing and monitoring industry and business process information. This data hub provides the foundation for advanced integration between the two companies’ systems and uses a hybrid cloud model to pull information from data centers and operating devices for use in applications such as analytics and visualization.

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Schneider strongly emphasized the “agnostic” nature of both companies’ key software offerings, which is enabled in part by the OSIsoft platform. The ability to collect data from a variety of different sources – from machines on a factory floor to HVAC in a data center and more – and automatically standardize it for use in analytics or monitoring applications is extremely valuable and makes the offerings of the combined Company from addressable to an equally wide range of different verticals.

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The partnership between Schneider and Aveva has already resulted in the creation of several new offerings, including in 2020 a new multi-site data center management offering based on Aveva’s Unified Operations Center software and Schneider’s EcoStruxure IoT integration platform.

The transaction is expected to close in 2023. Schneider shares rose 1.86% on the Paris Stock Exchange to close at $118.18 after the announcement.

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