Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Smart Grid Meets the Electic Vehicle

Two topics with no shortage of buzz were paired together on Thursday morning at the Massachusetts Smart Grid Innovators Collaborative’s (MASGIC) second annual conference, held to discuss the Transition to Electric Vehicles. A packed room, which needed extra chairs brought in, listened to presentations from a range of technologists, regulators and thought-leaders all dedicated to making the smart grid a reality.

The topic for the morning focused around the challenges and opportunities that the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) will bring to the grid – and how the grid and EVs are tied together in so many ways. Some interesting conversations were had about the importance of safe, reliable energy storage solutions in both EVs, and also to be implemented throughout the grid; the need for consumer utility incentives to encourage off-peak EV charging; and perhaps most interesting was the discussion around the impending reality of EVs in the driveways of Massachusetts residents.

With pre-orders of the Nissan Leaf filled and the car expected to be available this fall – thanks in part to an agreement signed by the Commonwealth and Nissan – there will be EVs charging on the grid in Mass. by the end of this year. It’s a great step in the right direction towards reducing our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and increasing energy efficiency, but it also means that regulators and businesses need to continue to collaborate now in order to ensure the progress continues. Solutions like helping lower the cost of EVs through tax credits and loan guarantees, upgrading and standardizing transformers and building codes to allow for maximized EV charging potential, and investing in smart meters and charging infrastructure will all help promote the adoption of grid-enabled vehicles.

Discussions like those had on Thursday play an important part in our movement towards a more sustainable future and I’m looking forward to the next conversation and the progress made as a result. A special nod to our friends at Boston-Power, and in particular Dr. John Warner – Boston-Power’s director of large format batteries – for his interesting perspective as a battery developer in the second panel on Thursday morning.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CHEN PR Clients Contribute to Successful Xconomy XSITE 2010 event

At CHEN PR we’ve learned to look forward to Xconomy events, and yesterday’s XSITE 2010 event (attended and blogged on today by my colleague Juli Greenwood as well) was no exception.

I was there to hear the CEOs of two CHEN PR clients present (see photos): Chris Randles, President and CEO of SpaceClaim, and Tom Pincince, President and CEO of Digital Lumens.

Chris was part of a panel entitled “Designing the Next Economy,” moderated by Wade Roush and comprising executives from the area’s many 3D design-oriented companies. As was Xconomy’s intention, the panel did a nice job of underscoring Boston as a center of innovation in this fascinating market.

Tom presented as part of the XSITE Xpo at the end of the day where a dozen executives in 3 different sectors presented their diverse companies’ business plan and value proposition. Those of us in PR and marketing talk a lot about the need to give an “elevator pitch.” Often we’re speaking metaphorically but in the case of this event Tom performed admirably in delivering a literal, 3-minute elevator pitch.

Yesterday’s event followed an enjoyable MIT Enterprise Forum event held to thank the organization’s many volunteers. Our agency has been involved with this group for years so there were lots of friendly and familiar faces. Congratulations to Trish Fleming and the entire team at the forum for another successful year of informing and engaging activities.

Inspiration Runneth Over at XSITE 2010

Kudos to Xconomy for pulling together such a compelling day of talks at yesterday's XSITE Summit on Innovation.

One of the most inspiring sessions of the morning came from X Prize Foundation founder Peter Diamandis. Perhaps best known for its first $10M aerospace contest, X Prize is committed to fostering innovation through competition.

Since its first space prize, they’ve branched out to cover other key areas like energy, education/development and life sciences. And in September they’ll award the next $10M to the team that creates the most efficient car.

Thanks again to the folks at Xconomy and to Babson and Olin College for hosting. I wish every day was as awe-inspiring.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tweet Up with Sam Whitmore and Great Friends

Last evening was a perfect night to bring together colleagues and friends to reconnect with each other and to spend time with Sam Whitmore while he was on the east coast. The venue, one of CHEN PR's favorite haunts Joe Sent Me in Waltham. Weather made being outside a pleasure and we are fortunate to have terrific colleagues across the media, clients, former clients and analysts who know how to have fun. Several people re-found former co-workers they hadn’t seen in many years. Hey, Facebook in the flesh!

To mark the occasion and capture the moment, we shot a quick little video taste below, and one lucky attendee won a Flip Cam!

We’ll be doing this again soon, so hope you all can join us next time.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Meet Up and Flip Out with Us

Meet Up And Flip Out With CHEN PR and SWMS!

Sam Whitmore's in town and we hope you'll join us in treating him to some local hospitality.

When: Tuesday, June 8, 6:00 to 8:00ish

Where: Joe Sent Me, 849 Main Street, Waltham

We'll pop for some drinks and munchies -- and one lucky attendee will walk away with a new Flip camcorder.

Kindly RSVP ( by Monday, June 7, so we can get a handle on the numbers -- and we hope to see you there!