Day 1 highlights: Why the future of VERGE is in the cards

Editor's note: To read highlights about VERGE Day Two, click here.

The first thing you need to know about yesterday -- Day One of VERGE SF -- is that for part of the morning, the hashtag #VergeCon was trending on Twitter. If that isn't a sign of having "arrived," I'm not sure what is.

Seriously, there was something fundamentally different about this VERGE event than anything before it. There are the numbers -- more than 500 attendees in the room, and several thousand participating in the virtual event. There's power in such numbers, as energy builds on energy in a synergistic way, creating an echo chamber of shared experience and understanding.

But it's more than that. This year, we've had to do less explaining of what it means to have a technology convergence. My colleague Eric Faurot and I spent almost no time during the show's opening giving a short course (as we had in the past) on what happens when buildings and vehicles, embedded with information and communications technology, spew vast amounts of data. And how all that data, judiciously utilized, enables us to monitor, control and optimize our world to the point of engendering radical efficiency.

That, it seems, is increasingly understood. Big data, smart buildings, connected vehicles and empowered consumers are a given.

That's a terrific starting point for a conversation. Or, hundreds of them, as we saw on Monday.

Photo of the "Future of Energy Innovation" panel at VERGE SF, Nov. 12, 2012 by Kristine Wong

Next page: Kicking off the dialogue