Two Steps Forward

The VERGE Ecosystem Map

Daniel Kelley

Sometimes you’ve got to step back to take in the big picture.

We’ve just done that with the ecosystem we call VERGE, the convergence of technologies that address and accelerate sustainability solutions, from a clean-powered grid to connected and efficient transportation, to sustainable and affordable food.

It is a large and complex world, and challenging at times to describe in its fullest. For more than five years, since we launched the first VERGE conference in June 2011, we’ve worked hard to articulate the vast opportunity space that lies within the convergence of these technologies.

It's no small task. Our ecosystem of technologies and solutions is both broad and deep: electrified, autonomous, connected, shared transportation systems; efficient and connected buildings, spewing millions of bits of information a day, ripe for optimizing energy, water and other resources; food and water systems that improve costs, safety, quality and yields while reducing negative impacts; intelligent electricity grids and microgrids, distributing clean, efficient and affordable power; circular systems of production and consumption that keep resources and materials continually in use over multiple life-cycles; smart and resilient cities that improve safety and services for all. And much more.

How do you adequately communicate the fullness of it all?

In the run-up to this month’s VERGE 2016 conference and expo, we’re introducing a visualization: The VERGE Ecosystem Map. (Click here to download full-size image.) It attempts to show the breadth of technologies and solutions that are core to our technological future, and their potential to transform how we live, work, travel, shop, play and many other things.

Created by GreenBiz Group Creative Director Daniel Kelley, the map offers a simple and stunning depiction of this ecosystem.

A few words about the map. Each of the six hubs includes examples of companies offering products or services in that arena. It is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list. And, to include the greatest number of companies throughout, no company is listed more than once, although many easily could fit in multiple hubs, even all six.

Consider Schneider Electric, one of several quintessential VERGE companies, which we’ve included in the Grid 2.0 hub. Its sprawling product and service offerings include technologies found in power plants, electricity grids, vehicle charging stations, smart buildings, food and beverage production, and traffic management and other city services. Schneider is a member of CE100, the group of global companies exploring the opportunities in the circular economy. As such, it could fit into any of the six hubs.

So, too, could BASF, Dow, General Electric, Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips and several other global firms whose products and services cut across the entire VERGE landscape.

And, of course, there are the disruptors, the upstart technology companies offering breakthrough solutions in one or more hubs, from Google to Greenely, GrowLife to Gotham Greens.

It is, to be sure, a start, but one we hope will further articulate the breadth of companies and opportunities that abound, and for which we’ve created the global event series called VERGE — a platform to showcase and accelerate all that’s possible.