VERGE Ahead: 7 trends to watch in 2013

As the new year begins, we take a look at the unique and intriguing opportunities for VERGE technologies. Here we include a collection of trends on the emerging role of cities and how data, IT and new platforms for third-party development continue to disrupt the markets for energy and transportation.

1. Rise of machine-to-machines
Thanks to the tremendous growth in advanced computing, low-cost sensor technology and ubiquitous connectivity, the "Internet of Things" and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology is hitting the mainstream. The automated management and optimization of energy, manufacturing and transportation is indeed making waves with global technology giants jumping on board with their own signature M2M brands: Cisco ("Internet of Everything"), GE ("Industrial Internet") and IBM ("Smarter Planet"). A number of new Internet-enabled appliances are popping up, from smart thermostats to help home owners save energy (Nest and ecobee) to the next wave of advanced lighting (Enlighted, Green Wave Reality, and Philips). The intersection between mobile technology, sensors and intelligent buildings is sure to prove intriguing in the coming year.

2. Platforms to accelerate energy efficiency
Information technology is redefining the ways commercial and industrial buildings operate. By offering new levels of transparency to monitor systems with real-time data and track and analyze energy use, a host of web-based platforms allow facilities managers and building engineers to squeeze out every bit of efficiency in buildings old and new. But with some 200 energy management tools and software available, facilities managers face a daunting task to navigate a crowded market. While the industry is far from seeing connected, intelligent buildings as the norm, the emerging ecosystem of energy efficient platforms provides a glimpse into the future of energy efficiency.

3. Cities push data transparency for energy use
A spate of cities are now mandating that owners of large commercials buildings measure and release records of their annual energy usage. These laws are designed to bring greater transparency to the commercial real estate market, incentivize landlords to develop energy efficiency and retrofit strategies, and help potential tenants understand a building’s energy consumption. A number of U.S. cities are leading the way with energy disclosure laws, including  New York City, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Austin, and San Francisco -- a list that is sure to grow in 2013.

Next Page: Green Button, apps and city revitalization efforts