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This week In #CleanTech July 23, 2017

Here is your weekly roundup of the unique, hottest stories related to cleantech, and climate policy for the week of July 23, 2017.

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Image Credit via Pixabay by lukabieri. Under Public Domain via Credit Commons

General Electric’s (GE) renewable energy section saw a strong profit jump in the first half of 2017. According to reNEWS, GE’s cleantech division showed a gain of $267US billion, up from $211US billion (27%) for the first six months of 2016. A big wind turbine order for Invenergy’s Texas wind farm and collaboration with Fortum’s digital hydro plant in Sweden provided underlying support for GE, reNEWS noted. Overall, GE renewable energy business earned $4.5US billion, another big jump compared to the first half of 2016 ($3.8US billion). GE’s investments in renewable energy were perhaps one of the few highlights for the multinational company, whose revenue was 2% for the first half of 2017, compared to the first six months of 2016. GE Jeffrey Immelt in recent years have been adamant on the need for going big on renewable energy investment, as he sees it as a key growth sector. He even urged US president Donald Trump to stay in the Paris climate accord. Too bad, Trump did not see it that way. Moving forward in the second half of 2017, it will be interesting how not only GE’s overall financial performance is but their cleantech section. If GE’s renewable energy continues to grow, while the rest of the company’s margins drop, expect more investors eyes to glaze over GE’s renewable energy portfolio.

In India, Tata Power will infuse $90US million in Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited. CleanTechnica.com said the Indian company would use the financing to support large-scale solar projects totaling 320MW. Currently, Tata Power has 2GW worth in wind and solar energy projects. Although India is one of the highest carbon emitting countries on Earth, they are also becoming an emerging leader in the global renewable energy markets. Earlier this spring, India had passed 12GW of solar installed, more than four times of total capacity in 2014 (2.650GW). Concerns over extreme weather events from a changing climate, reducing energy poverty, while utilizing clean power, are some reasons why India is building on its renewable energy investments in recent years.

Just when you thought 2017 would not be one of the hottest years on record, you could be wrong. According to Scientific American, global temperatures have been 1.64F above the global temperature average (56.3F) this year. If everything continues at this pace, 2017, will be the second hottest year, just behind last year, 2016.

What scientists are stumped is how high the temperature increase is. Scientific American notes in periods after El-Nino, global heat patterns would drop or stay flat. However, temperatures have continued to go up, even without El-Nino. Gavin Schmidt predicts a 57% chance 2017 will be the second warmest year in the planet’s history, only behind 2016.

With increasing temperatures also increases the risks of extreme weather, according to analysts. This year is holding those patterns valid all over the globe. Ontario February thunderstorms, record rainfall in eastern Canada, causing flooding, to British Columbia wildfires are just some of the extreme weather events which have played across Canada this year. Meanwhile, Futurism said 2017 in the US has been one of the wettest and hottest recorded.

Perhaps Climate Progress said it best when “This matters because when a month — or six-month period — see record high global temperatures in the absence of an El Niño, that is a sign the underlying global warming trend is stronger than ever.”

Do you think GE’s Renewable Energy division will continue being a bright spot heading into the last six months? Do you think 2017 will be the second hottest year on the planet?

Drop a line with your thoughts at salayconsulting@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter at @salayservices.

Electric Vehicles Are Reaching Their “iPhone” Moment in 2017

When the history books come to pass on 2017, one will look on this year as to where electric vehicles (EV’s) had its “iPhone moment.”

A decade ago, Apple released its revolutionary product. Although smartphones were around before, the iPhone helped change a lot of things. It helped changed how smartphones, and eventually the public warmed to mobile computing. It helped create new spillover industries while flipping old ones upside down.

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Image Credit via Pixabay. Under Public Domain via Creative Commons.

Three factors are contributing this year to why EV’s are reaching that watershed or “iPhone” moment.

EV’s are becoming More Affordable as Battery Prices Plummet: The first shipments of Tesla’s Model 3 have now begun to hit the streets. Initially showcased last year, Elon Musk’s company took 373,000 in reservations as of March 2017. What is so special about this car? It’s Tesla’s first EV into the affordable mass consumer market at $35,000 USD a piece. One of the criticisms with EV’s was the initial excessive costs for consumers.

However, declining lithium-ion battery prices are now making it more affordable to mass produce EV’s, along with Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

With batteries coming less costly, EV’s are nearing a tipping point where they are near cost competitive with combustible engine vehicles. A recent report underlines this. By 2025, all new vehicles will be electric. It’s especially important to know given the Paris climate agreement requires all participants keep CO2 levels well below 2C while aiming for 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.  Transportation alone creates 23% of all carbon emissions, according to the World Bank. Thus, creating affordable, clean tech transportation options at the mass consumer level is essential in cutting carbon emissions out from transportation.

While other companies, including Nissan, Chevy already produce EV’s. Tesla has had critical acclaim with its prior other models, including the Model S. Just like how the iPhone 10 years ago was synonymous with smartphones.

Companies are Going All In on EV’s: 2017 is also the breaking point where companies are making plans to slam the brakes on fossil fuel based vehicles.

Volvo recently announced by 2019 they will cease to make combustion engine vehicles, and manufacture only EV’s or hybrids. This is the silver bullet car manufacturers need to go all-electric. In 2007, Apple entering the smartphone market with the iPhone helped lure other companies, including Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia, and Chinese tech companies to get into the smartphone game, providing more consumer choice. Smartphone costs also came crashing down to insanely low levels. It’s now possible to get a smartphone for $32 (compared to $499 or $599 US in 2007 for an iPhone). While it’s highly unlikely anyone will see an EV for $32 in their lifetime, it’s entirely possible as more entrants flood the market, prices will drop to make EV’s even more affordable for Main Street.

 

Global Policy: You can also thank public policy makers around the world around the globe for helping contribute to EV’s watershed moment happening now.

While Trump dumped the Paris accord, other countries are strengthening their ties by supporting cleantech. France recently announced earlier this week by 2040. They will be eliminating the sale of all petrol fuelled based vehicles. Last year, Germany vowed to do the same by 2030. Policy makers are helping to shift towards cleaner vehicles, which adds another layer towards EV’s becoming a real force.

Thomas Friedman’s 2016 book Thank You For Being Late discussed how in 2007 was the watershed moment for many key technologies, ranging from cloud computing storage, solar energy, and smartphones.  Ten years later, thanks to declining lithium-ion battery prices, companies moving towards just electric cars, and supporting legislation, are helping EV’s have their “iPhone moment.”

So what you think? Has electric vehicles reached their watershed moment this year? You can reach me on Twitter at @salaysevices, or by email at salayservies@gmail.com

 

Slow and Steady Will Win the IoT Race

You know the saying, “It’s more of a marathon than a sprint.” That’s especially the case with the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is one of the hottest emerging technologies today which offers a lot of promise. From improving logistics to creating smart energy systems and cities, IoT may provide some solutions to some of the biggest social and economic challenges facing today’s society.

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Image Credit by geralt via Pixabay. Under Public Domain via the Creative Commons

However, just like any up and coming technologies which debut in the past, there is always some unexpected bugs. From the early days of the Internet, cell phones, to renewable energy. IoT is no different.

Take last fall. In October 2016, a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) showcased the vulnerabilities of a connected world in the IoT age.

Botnet malware, played a role in these attacks. Many IoT-based devices were affected in this attack, as chaos ensued, and many top websites to faded to black temporarily.

Adjunct Senior Fellow on Cybersecurity David Fidler from the Council on Foreign Relations told The Guardian right after the attacks showed massive security holes currently seen in IoT on a large-scale by non-governmental groups.

“Imagine what a well-resourced state actor could do with insecure IOT devices,” Fidler added.

As cyber security risks remain a concern within the IoT space, failure to finish projects is also a challenge for IoT developers.

A recent Cisco study suggests 60% of IoT ideas fall flat at the beginning. They also pointed out 26% of all businesses surveyed had 100% success with their IoT projects.

While these recent events and studies give IoT a slight back eye, let’s keep in mind these are very early days within the IoT ecosystem.

It was only just 18 years ago in 1999, the phrase “IoT” was coined by Proctor & Gamble’s Kevin Ashton. That’s ten years after the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) by Tim Berners-Lee. This was back when the WWW and Internet infrastructure was in its infancy and slowly maturing. Today’s Internet and WWW has far more capabilities compared to 1999 where there were only around 248 million global users. Now in 2017 its nearing 3.8 billion.

As author Jeremy Rifkin said in his 2014 book The Zero Marginal Cost Society, three Internet components (communications, energy, and logistics) are the backbone of IoT, which is helping to create a “third industrial revolution.” Significant ramifications will occur for many industries with their fortunes turned upside down. As we see new exciting opportunities, in smart homes, block chain, fintech, and 3D printing thanks to the IoT space.

Anywhere from 20 to 34 billion connected IoT devices are expected online by 2020. Total economic activity will reach worth $3.7 billion, according to McKinsey.

Security concerns have and always will remain a top concern amongst IT personal. It won’t get any easier with more devices flowing ubiquitously. But security experts are keen on learning to reduce security risks. Blockchain technology may provide some of the solutions required to limit security risks within the IoT ecosphere.

As for failures within IoT concepts, Cisco said 61% of participants have only started to realize the potential of what IoT technologies for their companies. Once people become more educated about not only what IoT is, but what it can do, then you will start to see more successes. You will start to see the cream of the crop rise within this industry. New and exciting out of the box opportunities will spring up, including in marketing, as businesses look to provide their customers with an ever-present connected experience.

The rise of the Internet had many trials and tribulations during its first marathon in transforming society in the 21st century. IoT will see the same thing as well as it overcomes the pressure to sprint to the finish line.

What do you think? What will it take companies to invest in IoT development, while cutting security concerns and possibilities of failure? Feel free to contact me at salayconsulting@gmail.com or on Twitter at @salayservices.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Trends To Watch For in 2017

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Image Credit: LoboStudioHamburg – Public Domain via Creative Commons

With 2016 nearing the end, it’s time to look start looking ahead to 2017. With a new year coming up, it’s time to start looking out what trends people will be talking about in 2017:

  1. Continue Rise of Video: During the early days of social media, posts were composed of blogs, news articles, and photos, and recorded video. Today, video content is on the rise. Having video content is becoming a critical component of one’s social media campaign. Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report 73% of marketers were planning to increase their content in 2016.  With a smartphone, it’s very easy for someone to create high-quality video content on the cheap. With Facebook now adding Facebook Live for standard use, Plus Twitter’s Periscope, now marketers can create live content for their community to watch. It’s exciting especially for small businesses who are looking for an inexpensive marketing opportunity to build their niche brand.
  1. Expanding User Experiences: Expect next year social media companies to continue to tap new possibilities. This year saw some interesting developments when creating an exceptional social media customer experience. We saw Twitter start broadcasting live National Football League games within the US, showing exciting new opportunities to exploit social networks. In the world of social media where everything changes so rapidly, anything is possible as companies are in a dogfight to remain fresh. Increasing user experiences is one thing we will see in 2017.
  1. The Fork Between Social Commerce & The Sharing Economy: Next year will see further growth within this sphere. According to Wikipedia, social commerce was first coined in 2005. It’s not just about browsing for new shoes through Wal-Mart’s Facebook page but involves new ways of purchasing. Now tie that within the sharing economy. Airbnb, Uber, ring a bell? These two examples rely on the power of social networks and the sharing economy. Kickstarter, Mosaic, the list goes on and on of leveraging social media in developing the sharing economy. Expect 2017 to see unique innovations between social media and the sharing economy.
  1. Integration of Social Media and IoT: One trend I look forward to seeing how it grows is the marriage of social media and the Internet of Things (IoT), possibly creating of innovative new products. I covered IoT for Smart Biz magazine, where I discussed its potential. I have a feeling we are going to see some cool things come out. Smart Grids will utilize IoT, which will then use social media, allowing consumers to show how much money they have saved while being more energy-efficient. Your fridge will tell you to get more apples at the local store. These may seem wacky, but in this day and age, anything is possible. Social media marketers should embrace the oncoming IoT onslaught of “social media for machines” with new ideas and products to meet up with the future demand for connected devices.

These are a few of the trends to dominate the ever-changing world of social media technology in 2017. So sit down and enjoy the ride.

 

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