The Emergence of VERGE

This week, GreenBiz Group is unveiling a new initiative called VERGE, focusing on the convergence of four technology sectors: energy, information, buildings and vehicles. It represents an exciting new dimension for us, and I’m pleased to share the vision and the plan.

Over the past few years, I’ve been watching -- and speaking about -- this convergence, and its potential for business, society and the environment. VERGE is about an interconnected world, in which this technological mashup yields a diverse array of products and services that aren’t just greener -- with potentially dramatic reductions in energy, water and materials use as well as in waste and emissions -- but also better.

We’ve witnessed other such technological mashups in recent years. In fact, most of us now carry around the fruits of the convergence of computers, telephones, media and commerce. It’s called a smartphone. And its emergence not only has transformed the technologies that underlie these products, and the companies that make them, but also all of us who use them.

VERGE has this potential, in spades. Relative to smartphone technologies, VERGE technologies are far more capital intensive -- energy plants, vehicles and buildings. The product cycles -- the amount of time it takes to go from concept to market -- is years longer than most IT products and services. And their lifecycle -- their time in productive use -- can range from a decade (for a car) to a century (for a building). Because they are infrastructural, expensive and long lasting, their convergence, while slower in coming, will potentially transform how we live, work, shop, travel and play.

The VERGE virtual conference will be livecast in Shanghai, London and San Francisco. Joel’s introduction toVERGE is available in Mandarin for our partners and friends in China who would like to join the conversation. 下载这篇文章