Merging Power with Knowledge

Krunal Patel, Rahil H Ismail, Naomi Kent, Robert A Stanley, Christopher Purcell, Todd McNally
Muma Case Review  •  Volume 8  •  2023  •  pp. 001-017
The house shook when lightning cracked nearby. John Kroeker’s power flickered, but his mind stayed at ease. His electronics had remained on and functional. Kroeker led the Surge Division at Schneider Electric (SE), so was confident his house was protected from electrical surges like that thunderous lightning strike. While surges may be random and infrequent, they could cause harsh electrical environments that have the potential to ruin products like his fridge, TV, etc. Kroeker’s understood that his surge protector had been quietly working in the background and had kept his home safe, but those unfamiliar with surge protective devices (SPD) may not see the value of protecting their electronic equipment. That is, they may not see the value until after something terrible has happened. Kroeker’s goal was to have a Schneider Electric surge protector in as many homes as possible. But surge protector devices were a commodity, and many other companies offered a similar product. How could Schneider Electric stand out against the competition? Kroeker devised an amazing opportunity to merge his company's smart home technology app with their surge protection technology. This new offering allowed the surge protector to communicate to homeowners exactly how protected they are and giving them an edge in the market.

Conveniently, the government had recently agreed with Kroeker that surge protection was essential. At the start of 2023, the legislation would require all homes to have a surge protective device in cases of a new construction or major renovations. Demand was projected to skyrocket with the newly expanded market. Supply was also set up quite nicely. While Schneider Electric was already a major player in the surge protector field, they also had a considerable presence in the smart home market with their “Wiser” app. Allowing the surge protector to communicate with Wiser would be the first technology of its kind, and Schneider Electric already had the technology available in-house.

Kroeker was not naive though. He was in the business of electricity. He knew the importance of surge protection and would have loved to have the surge protector data easily accessible on his phone. But did the average homeowner care about this information? And were they willing to pay a premium to track this additional information? There were also some obstacles that would need to be addressed if he chose to move forward with this endeavor. There was a considerable cost associated with this innovative technology investment. It would require quite a substantial amount of technical development upfront. The smart home division and the surge division of Schneider Electric had never worked together, and there was no precedent for how collaboration on this type of project would work.

When Kroeker stepped over a rain puddle to get into his car on the way to work the morning following the storm, he had been excited to present his idea to the executive team. His mind had raced on the drive into the office. Could this be the innovative technology that sets them apart from the competition in this commodities market that is rapidly expanding? Would homeowners see the benefit of opting for this premium surge protector? Would the multiple divisions within the company be able to come together to make this a successful venture?
Power Grid, Smart Home Technology, Surge Protector
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