Smart Societies need Smart People

Creative Industries, eGovernment, eHealth, eInclusion, Energy, Mobility, Security & Safety, Sharing Space, Water, Finance. These are all tracks at the World Congress on IT (WCIT) that is wrapping up in Amsterdam today. Intel is a Diamond sponsor of the Congress and we’ve had variety of activities and speakers across the topics. The delegates represent eighty countries so it’s been fascinating to compare attitudes and progress in different markets.

I am here to kick off the Energy track at WCIT, and along with several colleagues spoke today on “The Role of Technology & People in a Smart Society”. The talk focused on the role of smart people as key contributors to a smart & sustainable society. Two focus areas for the Intel Open Energy Initiative, namely Home Energy Management (HEMS) and Smart Buildings are great proof points for how technology can give energy consumers the tools to reduce their energy use. The Intel® Intelligent Home Energy Management Proof of Concept from Intel’s Embedded Computing Group was widely featured at the Congress and it, plus a video demonstration of Open Peak’s Open Frame solution, provoked considerable interest from delegates – especially from utilities and governments globally. There is still considerable debate across all geographies on how active consumers will be in managing their electricity consumption vs. desiring technology and utilities to take action on their behalf. And a tremendous concern about privacy and data protection in European countries in particular. The ethnographic work Intel is doing in pilots will be a significant contribution to understanding some of the behavioral elements that are currently being debated.

The second project that we highlighted is the Positive Energy Office Building effort underway in Paris. Led by Bouygues Immoblier and also including Lexmark, Philips, Schneider, Siemens, Steelcase, Sodexo, Tandberg, Tenesol plus Intel, its goal is to construct a modern office building that over the course of a year produces more electricity than it consumes. Intel is working to provide tools for tenants to understand their energy use (and other environmental impacts) as well as to integrate the IT network with the building energy management system. We have experiments now running in labs in Oregon and Paris and estimate that we can reduce building energy consumption by 10% through these tools.

Both of these areas are critical to building smart and sustainable societies since buildings account for approximately 40% of electricity consumption globally. WCIT was a great opportunity to collaborate with policy makers, industry leaders and academia on the state of efforts around the world – and to prompt each other to more aggressive action.