How companies capitalize on convergence to speed sustainability

The value of convergence is not lost on sustainability professionals. As seen with more progressive management concepts, the coming together of various systems, processes and disciplines can bring strong results when working toward any number of goals.

Consider then the impact of convergence when it's applied to physical sites (buildings, campuses and whole cities), energy (the existing grid, renewable energy systems and the developing smart grid), transportation (cars, traffic management, logistics and transport system design) and technology. Technology provides the information and the insights that make it possible to better manage those broad areas and connect them so that they function well together as part of a larger system.

What you have then is a "convergence of convergences," says GreenBiz Chairman and Executive Editor Joel Makower. GreenBiz calls that vision VERGE, and its broad potential to influence and improve the built environment is being explored this week at the VERGE DC conference. The gathering in Washington, D.C., is the first VERGE conference for 2012 and follows the inaugural VERGE series in 2011 that was held in Shanghai, London and San Francisco.

Makower opened the conference yesterday afternoon with an overview of the VERGE concept from its core, the four broad areas that are united and informed by technology ...

... to the potential to influence the operations and organization of every link in the business value chain, including ...

.. and how that will shape companies' business relationships with partners ...

Conference sessions today and tomorrow will provide deeper dives into each of those areas. (Key talks are being livecast and are available free with registration via Virtual VERGE.)

The first panel of the conference offered a look at the state of convergence today, what early adopters among major mainstream companies are doing, where everybody else is and some of the things that can done to bring the rest of the business world up to speed.

Next Page: Convergence from the perspective of IBM's "building whisperer" and more