ABB: Safety, Security Underpin Growth

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 @ 03:03 PM gHale

By Gregory Hale
ABB’s goal in the coming days, months and years is not to diverge from its current business plan other than to grow revenues, but the underlying and key components that will lead them to greater opportunities is security, not to mention safety.

“We need to articulate in simple terms what we do,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive of ABB during his keynote presentation Tuesday at the ABB Automation & Power World 2015 in Houston. “We do power and automation for utilities, transportation and industry globally.”

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Safety is definitely one of the top priorities for ABB as Spiesshofer listed that first in a list of key core values. While not really discussed during keynote presentations, security was the underpinning for the future of its growth in software, automation and power.

Spiesshofer’s five core values include:
• Safety and integrity
• Customer focus and quality
• Ownership and performance
• Innovation and speed
• Collaboration and trust

Those core values will not change as the company’s main business focus stays with the status quo. The company will not look to grow into new areas, rather, it will make its existing structures better, Spiesshofer said.

While ABB generated $40 billion in revenues last year, Spiesshofer said the same markets ABB covers will grow to $750 billion by 2020 and they feel they will be able to garner a piece of that action. The current regional breakdown for ABB is $11.5 billion in the U.S.; $13.7 billion in Europe and $14.7 billion in AMEA.

With a shift coming in power and in automation, that is where the underlying security infrastructure will come into play. Those shifts will tend toward the Internet of Everything on the automation side and the complexity of generation in the rise.

When you talk about the Internet of Things, it all comes down to connectivity and, again, which is where security plays a major role for allowing smooth communications.

“There is an increase in complexity (in generation) and greater volatility and less predictability,” Spiesshofer said. He also added microgrids and nanogrids are key drivers moving forward. “We are moving away from the traditional grid to the new grid – a more digital grid.”

Some of the key challenges in the power side of things fall on grid resilience and grid hardening, said Greg Scheu, president of the Americas Region for ABB, during his keynote presentation.

When asked about security later on during a press conference, Scheu said “cyber security is a huge topic right now.”

“Cyber security has been important with ABB for over 10 years,” said Markus Braendle, head of cyber security at ABB. “We continue to invest in security and continue to test our products while we engage in customer’s needs.”

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