05/11/16 : David Caughran

Executive Dialogues: Innovative Technologies & Business Models

Check out today's EE Global Forum highlights for the Innovative Technologies & Business Models executive dialogue sessions:


  • 1C: Internet of Things: How are advances in connectivity driving energy efficiency and enhancing the consumer experience?

Panelists during this session roundly agreed that the “internet of things” will inevitably become increasingly integrated into energy management and usage. They agreed that this new connected approach comes with a host of benefits to enjoy if managed and advanced appropriately. To kick things off, longtime Capitol Hill energy veteran Allen Stayman, senior professional staff on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and Dr. Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the U.S. Department of Energy, touched on the strong history of appliance standards and resulting energy efficiency gains realized in this country through standards promulgated by the government. Both noted that advancing the “internet of things” is the real next step we need to take to further increase those gains.

Panelists from the private sector, including Christopher Kelson of Whirlpool, Dana Soukup of Siemens Building Technologies, Harry Verhaar of Philips Lighting, and Pekka Hakkarainen of Lutron Electronics, noted the powerful impact of technological advancements achieved by their respective companies and the interoperability that those technologies are having on the consumer experience while also saving energy. Several panelists offered examples of benefits that are perhaps not front of immediate mind -- including smart lighting systems that can help detect crimes and reduce traffic problems, or human-centric lighting systems that can encourage better sleeping habits (which, of course, have positive effects on health and happiness). One of the biggest takeaways from this group of private sector panelists was that customers are now engaged more than ever in driving energy efficiency through the use of smart devices, which becomes so important when technologies are already near their maximum efficiency level. One point that resonated throughout is that the “internet of things” is here to stay and will continue to improve the economy, environment, and our daily lives -- if we plan in coordination with the perpetual advancement of connected smart technologies.

  • 2C: Transforming transportation: How are we leveraging information and communications technologies to improve mobility and enhance efficiency?

This panel focused on the transportation sector transformation underway, aided by innovative technologies and the changing demands of today's society. The discussion focused on a systems approach to transportation and how connectivity, autonomy, and electrification are revolutionizing modern transportation. "Ride-share" applications such as Uber and Lyft are giving consumers more options while simultaneously relieving congestive traffic through surge rates and live traffic updating.

Cars are becoming more autonomous, which decreases accidents caused by human error and reduces traffic, making the transportation system run more efficiently. The growth of electric vehicles and public transportation will reduce electricity demand on the grid, but must be aided by grid modernizations and public policy support. The panelists all agreed that the future of transportation, particularly in cities, will shift to a more personalized and consumer-connected system that will merge the private and public options of travel.