Clean Energy Ministerial 8: Specific Moves, Big Payoff & the Butterfly Effect

As a part of an organization that’s bringing tremendous change to the world of wireless, I had the honor recently of representing our Zigbee Alliance members alongside energy ministers from 23 different countries at Clean Energy Ministerial 8 (CEM8). This event provided the opportunity for delegates from around the world to gather and guide the future of clean energy.

The roundtable I participated in addressed digitalization, and was led by Christoph Frei, the Secretary General and CEO of the World Energy Council. Christoph was a great emcee, identifying key issues such as standby power, cybersecurity, and ownership of data as key drivers as the grid becomes digitized, and power generation and usage becomes more distributed.

A key takeaway I heard from my colleagues is the concern around cybersecurity, to the point that we may see new initiatives and increased collaboration between countries on this topic as it relates to grid-connected systems (cyber-physical).  A second major takeaway is the need for faster and more open access to the grid for new innovative approaches to energy usage, such as demand response and distributed generation.

Our members in the Zigbee Alliance have a great deal to offer on both counts.

With the entire event focus revolving around shaping and directing the future of clean energy and defining technology’s role within this, one thing was very clear: we truly are in a renaissance period for technology – and we are all in this together. Innovation shrinks the distance between us, and the implications for consumers and our environment are remarkable.

We can tie together the notion of our connected world today with the chaos theory and butterfly effect – except nowadays, it’s a storm in Shanghai that impacts the delivery of your iPhone by 1-2 days versus a butterfly wingflap changing the weather in a locale across the planet. Each day, our constant global interconnectedness expands and deepens as humans can reach nearly every corner of the earth leveraging the technologies we’re all bringing to market.

Zigbee Alliance President and CEO Tobin Richardson discusses the future of clean energy

At CEM 8, our movement to work together to drive the development of technology for a greener world was loud and clear, ironically against a backdrop of incredibly dense smog in Beijing. This was perhaps the perfect venue for Vice President of the People’s Republic of China Li Yuanchao to address a goal of clean air, green fields and clean water across the globe.

As I looked at the countries represented at my roundtable, I noted each nation has significant Zigbee deployments supporting this vision, and laying the foundation for the future; from tens of millions of smart meters (with an impressive concentration in the UK), to in-home offerings like Rogers Cable and BC Hydro in Canada. Zigbee standards are far-reaching, and the countries implementing them have a strong commitment to technological modernization.

It is through efforts like those that I witnessed at CEM8 that we are able to address the butterfly effect that exists in our connected world, and implement measures to remedy the chaos that’s naturally produced when disrupting the norm and taking humanity down a new, unexplored path. The Zigbee Alliance is well-positioned to address this urgency for environmentally-conscious technological solutions through its open mission, global footprint, and the international backing of our members who are leading by example each with specific moves for big payoffs on our collective quest for clean IoT innovation.