VERGE

Accelerating sustainability solutions in an interconnected world. Highlights from VERGE 16 in Santa Clara along with ongoing coverage of VERGE topics.

Platform business models have redefined the modern economy. Next, it may redefine the electric utility sector through DSOs and DERs.
The industry could drive entirely new revenue streams and business models by investing in charging stations. Too expensive? Think of it as a branding exercise.
Investors are still skittish about early-stage startups selling automation and energy-management apps, but the market for software, sensors and services for smarter offices, factories and groceries stores is maturing gracefully.
If so, it must consider local business and cultural needs, build business processes and market structures around the world.
A new venture, bext360, has developed a system that verifies beans using smart image recognition. The technology may allow buyers to track provenance of crops more closely, while promising faster payments for local farmers.
Apana, Shell and Veolia use circular principles to retain and recycle water used in farming, fracking and washing machines.

We so take the electricity infrastructure for granted that we fail to recognize it as a potent public policy tool for economic revitalization. Of all large infrastructures in the United States, nothing is more poised for transformative change, with a host of long- and short-term benefits, as today’s electricity delivery system — not roads, not information technology, not oil, coal and natural gas, not entertainment, not retail, not housing construction, not healthcare.

Illinois is centralizing investments in technologies such as the Internet of things, while allowing cities to prioritize according to local needs. Texas may be next.