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The IT Cleantech Debate Comes to Energy Efficiency

Josh Gould

Perhaps it’s because we’re located in Cleantech Group’s San Francisco office, but time and time again we hear comparisons between cleantech and IT.  Sometimes the comparisons make cleantech look good.  When drawing analogies between cleantech and IT we often hear about the size of the market opportunity, the many smart people dedicating their time and careers to the industry, and the investment dollars from nearby Sand Hill Road (and all across the world, for that matter) which are pouring into cleantech.

Yet we also hear people point out the many ways in which cleantech is different than IT.  These comparisons typically cast the industry in a more negative light.  We hear about how cleantech startups are less capital efficient than their IT counterparts, how sales cycles can be long and challenging, how the industry is regulated and reliant on policy decisions which may or may not be forthcoming.  Clearly there is some truth to these criticisms – though many of them tell parts, but not the whole, of the story.

Whatever one thinks of this never ending debate, there is one area where we can confidently draw a cleantech/ IT comparison: energy efficiency.  Let me count the ways.  First, in our most …

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Corporations seek a water strategy

Mia Javier

No doubt, the opportunity in water is gaining visibility. With governments pursuing policy to incentivize water innovation and giants like IBM, SAP and Oracle circling the sector, water is fast becoming the industry of choice for corporations not traditionally in water and those specifically in information technology  – they want a piece of the pie.

The IT opportunity is logically drawn from the investments and innovation poured into the Smart Grid. By some estimates the market opportunity is $20 billion but not only are corporations mindful of market outlooks they are developing a business strategy in Smart Water. In this way, global market sizing and the macroeconomics of water supply and demand are informative but not actionable insights.

So, what questions must be answered in order to develop a strategy in water?

First, what are the unique aspects of a particular customer segment in water? Public-sector buyers are notoriously conservative with a complex business process. Just this week, the Portuguese Construction Firm, ITT Corporation, secured three wastewater treatment plant contracts in the Montemor-o-Velho municipality of Portugal in a complicated business transaction where ITT Corporation partnered with both a construction company as well as a design firm to win the …

Smart Water: where tech geek and statistician dive in

Mia Javier

Water systems typically espouse thoughts of boring, archaic, underground concrete and steel structures that mean little so long as clean water pours out the tap. Indeed, most tax payers find the thought of water infrastructure investments puzzling when water prices are relatively low and proof of bad pipes are invisible (at least above ground).

But getting smart about water has suddenly become interesting.

As a global community, we know relatively little about a resource we rely so heavily upon. Governments are increasingly aware of their global water risk exposure and have engaged in various studies to get a grip on their water data. Just this week:

The above illustrates how our water scarce world is in critical need of the deliberate collection and analysis of water. While the collection of some data sets will require significant investment (think data on everything from ocean temperature to …