Research and innovation mean economic growth. New technologies are the building blocks for new and existing industries, such as the Internet and the web. At the "Sustainability Tech Forum" at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California this week, John Hennessy, President of Stanford University, talked about the creation of an innovation ecosystem to enable a resilient and sustainable society.
Hennessy shared his life long entrepreneurial, business, and academic world experiences along with Stanford’s practices in encouraging and fostering innovation. He said that it is not just a matter of promoting innovation and creating a culture that encourages creativity; still the discussion about innovation also includes moving the innovations and discoveries from the laboratory sphere into ‘real life’ markets.
When innovation transfer is planned, it should address the people - not the technology. Hennessy said that the transfer of the development and operative teams is the most important lesson in technology relocation. The people involved know their research and innovation in and out, they know what worked and what was tried and didn't work, they know the advantages and disadvantages. Examples for successful companies that followed this approach include Google, HP, Cisco, Yahoo, VMWare, and others. Hennessy said that Stanford's success relied on the people: researchers, students, collaborators, and faculty.
Innovations come in waves. Our current wave started at around 2005 which represents the social and mobile era. We are still in the midst of this wave, which has introduced a different playing field than ever before: it offers the global perspective. Today, international business is a part of the younger generations lives and business. Not only markets are global but also the workforce pool. Furthermore, recruiting talent is not local anymore and professional opportunities are (just about) available worldwide.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has an impact on all areas of our lives. Societies, environment and economy all converge and ICT plays an increasing role. To become a sustainable society - safety, food and water, energy, health and welfare, education, transportation, convenience - all come together. Many business visionaries and thought leaders have noted that ICT needs to be effective in addressing global issues as a result of climate impact.
Tatsuo Tomita, President of the Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., spoke this week at the 6th Annual Fujitsu North America Technology Forum about the human-centric intelligent society and the role of ICT in enabling and supporting a sustainable society and to create value by leveraging technology to achieve that. This year his address focused on enabling societies to power a sustainable future by utilizing advanced technologies.
How can ICT drive, enable and support a sustainable society that is resilient and prosperous?
Tatsuo Tomita said that ICT is leading the way to attain sustainability, encourage corporate social responsibility (CSR), and concentrate on human needs in three main aspects:
-Supporting social structures,
-Creating new value to stakeholders.
By transforming the front lines of business, ICT supports the move from reliance on individual skills and silos of knowledge to a collaborative model with reliance on collective teams’ strengths. Also, ICT enables the use of scientific data, analytic models and information evaluation in decision-making and equips business to exercise less reliance on intuition and impulsive decision process.
Tatsuo Tomita gave a few examples:
1. Demand Response and the smart grid - future solutions for smart energy deployments.
Today we recognize the growing demand for electricity and the rising fuel costs.At the same time, we have more distributed energy resources, local generation and localized consumption. The power industry is in the process of restructuring generation, transmission and distribution. From buildings to communities, energy efficiency and smart consumption are essential for the future of urbanization.
The major challenges we face are:
- Introduction of highly effective technology for marinating demand-supply balance on the grid infrastructure every day and throughout the day
- Scale such technology to support smart cities or smart communities
- How to reduce costs without impacting productivity? Streamlining businesses processes and behavior to leverage energy efficiency measures - how would businesses not sacrifice productivity?
Renewable electricity capacity keeps growing and California and Washington states are leading the U.S. in terms of megabytes generation. With renewables, generation is not centralized and therefore requires different models of communication between utilities and customers. This impacts wholesale peak price range, as utilities must supply energy regardless of fluctuations in renewable generation. In addition to average daily base loads, peak loads are usually around Noon time and, then, demand tapers off toward night time.
Fujitsu developed an openADR Demand Response Automation Server Prototype. Open Automated Demand Response (openADR) is a research and standards development effort for energy management in North America. These standards help manage the electricity demand-supply balance and offer interoperability among products, suppliers, and systems. The classic use is to send information and signals to cause powered devices to turn off during periods of high demand. Fujitsu’s Demand Response Automation Server and Client are compliant with OpenADR.
2. Healthcare automation solutions
An aging society is a global matter and creates issues in many countries, where older populations become a greater percent of adults. This requires more healthcare and health-related services. Creating computerized healthcare system that connects all types of medical services is important, and may include nursing homes, hospitals, laboratories, clinics, senior centers, and more. Healthcare automation requires careful attention to secure data. Innovative and secure big data enterprise applications are a growing area of attention.
3. Tools to better deal with natural disasters.
Natural disasters are inevitable, however systems to predict tsunamis, for example, can help with evacuations, the future design and construction of levees, and the development of maps of dangerous areas/regions, developing maps for evacuation routes and location of shelters, etc.
When leveraging ICT breakthroughs, we can move toward attaining sustainability in our communities. ICT is already playing a significant role in solving economic and societal problems, and will continue to do so furthermore.
1. Careers at Fujitsu Laboratories of America: http://www.fujitsu.com/us/about/other/fla/careers/
2. Fijtsu research areas, including energy: http://www.fujitsu.com/us/about/other/fla/research/