Hopenhagen: Marketing for a Real Cause

November 18, 2009

Recently, I saw Freya Williams, co-founder of OglivyEarth speak at the Opportunity Green conference in Los Angeles on their recent campaign.  Based on Cop15, the climate change summit being held with world leaders in Copenhagen on December 7, Hopenhagen was created to drive awareness towards the very important summit.  More importantly, Williams said it was formed to create a community of hope around climate change and the direction we as global citizens want to take.  Ogilvy Earth is an international sustainable marketing firm with big clients like DuPont and the Environmental Defense Fund – and using their large scale influence in the space, launched an international campaign to drive one thing: hope.

As Williams pointed out, “We don’t need to create a movement– the people already have their passion. We set out to create an umbrella under which people can gather.”

Cop15 is one of the most controversial global meetings in recent years, with some arguing it is one of the last changes to develop a concrete and realistic plan to mitigate climate change and reverse the devastating effects of global warming.  Others believe that there is no real chance for actual action but are still using the event as a symbol for the level of engagement needed from the global community.

From the Hopenhagen website:

Success at COP15 is far from a given. 192 countries are represented, and that means 192 points of view. Much discussion will be around the exact emissions targets and who will pay to see they’re met. Given that developed regions like North America and Western Europe are responsible for most emissions, developing countries argue that those nations should invest disproportionately in the solutions. There is also the question of how to assist smaller nations that are already suffering the effects of climate change.

If you haven’t watched any of the footage or seen this campaign, it is worth checking out and signing up.  Kudos to Williams and her team for a brilliantly executed message.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

 

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Will unplugging things really save money? According to National Grid it will!

November 3, 2009

National Electric has a new campaign asking everyone to try and cut down their electrical usage by 3%. This seems like a wise challenge for everyone being that we are still in the middle of an economic crisis!  Every other commercial advertisement on T.V. is in relation to this new campaign, so I wanted to see what the hype was about.  Their goal is to inform people of efficiency and conservation through energy usage.   For some of us this task may be easy, for some it’s a slight change of lifestyle and for me it’s nearly impossible, I don’t know what else I could cut down on!  I am the kind of person who yells at you if all the lights are on, or if you use the dryer to “get the wrinkles out” of one lonely shirt.    Should have taken it out and hung it up to begin with! You would have saved time and money.   I am told I skipped acting like my mother and turned into my grandmother a little too quickly.  The National Grid website gives people many suggestions to lowering their electricity usage.

I have to say this idiosyncrasy that I have developed over the last few years was really the polar opposite of how I viewed electricity usage and recycling habits in the past.  I was still living at home; never saw that white envelope with the blue letters that read National Grid.  I wasn’t responsible for the environment or the cost of living because I was still letting mom and dad cover the cost.  After moving out a few years ago, having a job that paid zilch and realizing how much everything cost and making it my sole responsibility to take care of myself financially, I learned some really easy and simple ways to save money for a rainy day.  I unplugged almost EVERYTHING.  The reason I say almost everything opposed to absolutely everything is because, well you can’t.  My fridge stays plugged in as well as the oven.  I learned very quickly unplugging your cell phone charger isn’t an option, it will go dead and you will miss your alarm going off which will result in being late for the job that pays you zilch.  Plugging the phone into the charger does not work the same if you forgot to plug it into the wall.

Even though I think it’s impossible I am taking the challenge.  National Grid has an energy evaluation available on their website and as you click the appropriate answers that reflect your style of living it allows you to see how much money and electricity you could be saving by lowering your energy usage.  I am personally starting by putting in motion censored lights outside, because this is one light I leave on regularly.  I encourage all of you to take the challenge as well.  See what impact you can make on the earth and on your wallet.  It takes some getting used to but eating dinner by candlelight is more romantic and more cost-effective than keeping that 8 bulb chandelier on!

Posted by Kate Kiselka


My Personal Tech

October 20, 2009

When I started at Caster, I was not a techie.  I mean, I liked my gadgets (my iPod, my cell phone, my cute little 12″ Mac iBook, RIP) but I didn’t really have a vested interest in technology.  Once I started, I was sort of overwhelmed with the level of technical information thrown my way on a daily basis but I can say comfortably that I have evolved from just a general consumer with some interest in consumer electronics into someone who really loves the advancements technology has brought us.

Personally, my life isn’t as high tech as it could be.  My computer is a newer Sony Vaio and I will tell you that I’m not terribly impressed with it.  It is just ok and I’m sort of wishing I had taken my client’s advice and invested in a Dell XPS.  Add it to the Christmas list!  Speaking of Christmas, I upgraded to a new iPod Nano last season and so far it has been nothing but awesome.  The graphics are great, I can watch videos and play games and its motion sensor technology is very cool.  That said, I still drool over the iPod Touch.  Sigh.

My TV…well, my TV is still in box form.  I’m almost ashamed to admit I don’t have a flat panel as some of the first accounts I cut my teeth on were display manufacturers, but alas, I am still living with a Phillips 27″ box.  Sniffle.   I hope to change this soon as well – any ideas for a good 37″-42″ LCD, preferably ENERGY STAR rated with decent built in speakers?

Speakers are another story as I haven’t had a good system in….well, ever.  I’ve become more atuned over the past few years to just how incredible music can sound when played over the right speakers as opposed to my iPod or car stereo.  But I just haven’t upgraded yet.  I’m thinking my friends at Paradigm can help me with this eventually.  <winky face emoticon>

More recently, I’ve been more interested with how technology has become the conductor for really pushing the clean energy movement forward.  While the green movement isn’t a new phenomenon, I think the idea that we need to utilize our advancements to help us solve so many of the problems that they created for us in the first place is brilliant.  Sustainability can be an accomplishment if we embrace technology to take us there.  I am inspired on a daily basis by clean and renewable energy innovation and developments in moving towards a smarter grid.

I might not have been when I started, but today, I can proudly say it: I am a techie.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter


ZigBee Alliance Certifies 17 New ZigBee Home Automation Products

October 12, 2009

San Ramon, Calif. –  The ZigBee® Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, commercial and consumer applications, today announced the certification of 17 devices from 10 manufacturers using ZigBee Home Automation, plus enhancements to the public application profile.

ZigBee Home Automation is a standard offering control for home appliances, lighting, environment, energy use, and security. It provides a path to direct interoperability with other ZigBee public application profiles, including the industry-leading ZigBee Smart Energy. ZigBee Home Automation now features new security mechanisms and support for doorbells and mechanized window shades. The standard features control of HVAC systems, power outlets, motorized devices, security and other devices. Product manufacturers will benefit from this standardized approach that makes devices reliable, affordable, easy-to-install and operate. Products using ZigBee Home Automation are ideal for new construction, do-it-yourself and retrofit markets.

The 2009 “Home Technologies and Energy Efficiency: A Look At Behaviors, Issues and Solutions” study by the Consumer Electronics Association shows 75 percent of consumers expressed concern over possible rising energy costs. Many ZigBee Home Automation certified products are designed to help consumers manage home energy costs.

“With 17 products from 10 global manufacturers passing our rigorous certification process, ZigBee Home Automation will be in a position to make a strong retail debut,” said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. “With a total of 41 certified products, ZigBee Home Automation and ZigBee Smart Energy will give consumers more options to monitor and control their energy use while enjoying a smarter and safer home.”

The following ZigBee Home Automation certified products are fully interoperable and will use the ZigBee Certified logo and the ZigBee Home Automation icon on product packaging and advertisements to clearly communicate interoperability to the marketplace. For a full list of features and product photos, please visit http://www.zigbee.org/homeautomation.

  • 4Home — ControlPoint, Portal Serverand SDK software products allow for the rapid development and deployment of compelling, easy-to-use, and profitable new applications for today’s connected home, including energy management, home monitoring and security, and media management.
  • AlertMe — Occupancy Sensor monitors rooms and corridors for motion, features an indicator LED, battery operation, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes and alarm events as they occur.
  • AlertMe — Simple Sensor for domestic windows and doors is a two-part design comprising a compact magnet and a sensitive magnetic reed switch and features an indicator LED, battery operation, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes along with opening and closing events as they occur.
  • AlertMe — On/Off Button is a wireless doorbell or panic button offering touch and visual feedback via a positive button action and bright LEDs. It features indicator LEDs, battery operation, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes and button-push events as they occur.
  • AlertMe — Access Controller serves as a key fob for the AlertMe Intruder Alarm service and recognizes a user’s occupancy. It features indicator LEDs, battery operation, piezoelectric sounder, low-power micro-controller, status reports every two minutes and button pushes as they occur.
  • Black & Decker — Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt with Home Connect Technology enables the door lock to wirelessly communicate with other devices in the home, allowing homeowners to monitor and control their door locks using either a web enabled device or their home automation system. It offers true remote locking and unlocking features due to its motorized driven deadbolt and can automatically arm/disarm security systems as well as initiate customized scenes upon entrance and exit.
  • CentraLite — HA On/Off Light Switches can be controlled at the device itself or from any other ZigBee Home Automation enabled switch. It is rated to control 1,000 watts and will be available in the standard Decora style design in a variety of colors.
  • CentraLite — HA Dimmer can be controlled at the device itself or from any other ZigBee Home Automation enabled controller. It features press and hold precision dimming and tap on and off power along with configurable soft rates. It is rated to control 800W and will be available in the standard Decora style design in a variety of colors.
  • CentraLite — HA On/Off Switch can be bound to any ZigBee Home Automation compatible On/Off Device. It features a 110V input voltage and will be available in the standard Decora style design in a variety of colors.
  • Control4 — Home Controller HC-300 is the central building block for home automation, making it easy for anyone to add intelligent control to a home at a truly affordable price. One HC-300 replaces, on average, more than four traditional remotes and delivers easy navigation and operation.
  • Control4 — Wireless Dimmer offers affordable, elegant and convenient lighting along with intelligent customization features designed to fit individual life styles.
  • Jetlun – Jetlun Gateway (model RD75606) is a controller that collects, stores and displays real-time energy consumption information and helps homeowners manage and control energy usage through a simple user interface.
  • Jetlun – Jetlun Appliance Module (model 75613) is a three-prong electrical module with built-in advanced noise filtering technologies and surge protection that can be plugged into any standard wall outlet to monitor, store and control the energy consumption of electrical appliances and devices.
  • MMB Research — HA Coordinator provides control of thermostats, switches, sensors and other devices. It is a subset of RapidSE™ – a family of hardware and software allowing device vendors to rapidly integrate a fully-compliant ZigBee platform.
  • NETGEAR — ZEB102 ZigBee Bridge enables people to monitor and control their energy devices and in-home appliances over the Internet. The ZEB102 is designed around a flexible, yet affordable, MIPS 32-based high-performance system on a chip hardware platform supporting Linux, drivers and tool-chains to facilitate independent developers.
  • Radio Thermostat Company of America — CT80 Programmable Communicating Thermostat and In-Home Display is fully compatible with all popular residential central heating and cooling systems. It features a large dot-matrix display with touch-screen and multiple radio ports providing the most flexible solution for today’s complex energy management applications.
  • SerComm — NA401 Home Automation Gateway is a compact yet easy-to-use hardware platform supporting multiple communication interfaces. It is available as a ZigBee gateway development platform allowing application developers to develop solutions with pre-certified ZigBee gateway devices.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster


IBM Smarter Planet: Efficient Grid Models for a Smarter Planet

October 2, 2009

Kudos to IBM Smarter Planet for a succinct and intelligent way to understand why the Smart Grid will transform power delivery and consumption.


Which Utilties are Leading Smart Grid Development?

September 30, 2009

Rick Nicholson and H. Christine Richards of IDC Energy Insights published an article in the July/August edition of Intelligent Utility detailing their assessment of which utilities are leading the pack towards a Smart Grid.

 Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), Austin Energy, Edison International (NYSE: EIX), Oncor, PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP), all of whom are based in either California or Texas, top the list of utilitites leading the way. I personally thinked they missed Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative (who is working with Caster client Control4)who aren’t just at the forefront of grid transformation but also leading the charge in consumer Smart Grid education.

Locally, National Grid (LSE:NG;NYSE:NGG), the nation’s second-largest utility, has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for $200 million in stimulus funding to develop an “end-to-end” smart grid deployment that will include approximately 200,000 customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

According to National Grid, the project will demonstrate the benefits of combining “smart” and “green” technologies from end-to-end (transmission to consumer) including demonstrations of clean energy technologies such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and solar and wind power as well as energy storage technology. The result will be one of the most technologically advanced smart grid deployments in the U.S. This initiative will provide an increased understanding of the interface between the next generation of green energy supply and the smart grid to pave the way for the broader roll out of these technologies in the states where National Grid operates.

Regardless of whether they get the grant money or not, I hope National Grid stays in the game; they have a chance to lead this initiative and really make a difference.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster