What first sounds ironic makes sense at second sight: Instead of having to fly thousands of miles to get to a conference, participants save energy and costs by simply staying where they are. The Virtual Energy Forum makes it happen by choosing the internet as its event location. No expensive plane tickets, cab rides and hotel rooms are necessary to attend the event, thereby reducing not only the carbon emissions, but also the expenses typically involved in a global conference like this. Cheaper, more efficient and less impact on the environment? What an example of CleanTech!
CleanTech at work
CleanTech products and services are based on innovate technologies that optimize the use of natural resources by offering cleaner or less wasteful and more economic alternatives to traditional products and services. In that context, The Virtual Energy Forum makes great economic sense – for both participating companies and attendees – as investments are smaller and opportunity costs lower than at a traditional conference. The forum is expected to have 5,000 attendees and save 6,500 tons of CO2 emissions (or 14.5 million pounds) that would be generated by travel and production for a conventional event of that size. The environmental impact and the cost for participating in the online event is tremendously low.
What to expect
The Virtual Energy Forum takes place on December 10 and 11, 2008. It builds on the success of the first Virtual Energy Forum held in June 2008, which featured noted presenters such as former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and US Senator John Kerry. The Virtual Energy Forum is the first and largest completely virtual gathering of energy leaders from around the world, connecting thousands of global experts in the areas of energy management, renewable energy and sustainability. Its focus is on exploring how leading companies can adopt better energy management practices to cut cost, while at the same time incorporating clean energy alternatives. It presents alternative energy technologies, policies and best practices in a live, interactive environment.
The organizers of the Virtual Energy Forum have gathered informational resources from the top institutions and individuals in the field. Confirmed speakers of the event include Ed Markey, US Congressman and Chairman of the US House Select Committee on Energy Independence, and top managers from companies like Siemens, Merck, Philips and Johnson Controls. The list of speakers is long – and so is the group of supporting sponsors. It doesn’t quite seem like the wave of renewable energies has come to a halt.
How does it work?
The conference is in a way very similar to a physical event: You arrive in the lobby, walk to the conference room and sit down to listen to the speakers. You can also attend the exhibit hall, get in touch with participating vendors at their booths and buy their products. The conference is of course very different from a physical event in that you’re not able to meet people face-to-face. However, you can have live text and video chats with representatives of energy companies and learn about their product offerings. The event provides over 50 live streaming video presentations and 11 live case study presentations in a variety of sectors.
What do you think?
Naturally, meeting someone physically is a connection that cannot be mimicked by phone calls or virtual interaction, yet increasingly it is becoming the norm. With an ever growing population that spends a considerable portion of their day in “Second Life” or other virtual communities, what do you think the value of a conference like this really is for the participants? I’d be interested in hearing from others about their experiences with the event in June or with other online events.
More about the Virtual Energy Forum: