Friday, December 19, 2008

YouTube Is Now The 2nd Largest Search Engine

It's official, video is the new content.

YouTube Now 25 Percent Of All Google Searches

Video search on YouTube accounts for a quarter of all Google search queries in the U.S., according to the latest search engine numbers from comScore.

If it were a standalone site, YouTube would be the second largest search engine after Google. More searches are done through YouTube than through Yahoo.

Just recently YouTube launches a high definition version.

Things to ponder.

How long before video mail replaces emailing?

Your PC and mobile have an "email address", how long before your digital camera and video camera have one too?

How long before your video camera has its own IP address, or is Internet enabled (while power is on)

When will we see the ability to click on a hyperlink within a video? think interactive product placement within a video..the holy grail of Internet advertising

All of these upcoming features will increase Internet traffic exponentially.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Pondering Primate November 08

I am introducing a new service to the Pondering Primate. Each month I will offer a recap of headlines, mandates, events and breakthroughs that are worthy of pondering.

In order to act on these headlines, should this be offered on a weekly basis?
Email me with your thoughts, likes, and dislikes.

"All the news that’s fit to ponder"

Barack Obama wins Presidential election

A win for CleanTech link
What Obama presidency means for the Cleantech industry link

He is calling for a $150 billion investment in clean technologies over 10 years, aggressive targets for greenhouse emission reductions, and programs to promote energy efficiency, low-carbon biofuels, and renewable energies

Obama’s Energy Plan link

Will Obama’s clean coal plans bankrupt the coal industry?

Is this the right idea but at the wrong time? link

However, an E.P.A decision may give Obama what he wants link
Recession will allow lower carbon caps. link

The U.S. and European Union can afford to set tougher limits on emissions because slower economic activity will cut greenhouse gas output and lower emission permit prices.

Businesses are already expediting deals before new Obama tax rates go in effect:
Miami Dolphins owner rushes sale of team link
Signing bonuses before the first of the year for employment contracts link

Former U.S.Energy secretaries call cap and trade an “industrial manager’s nightmare”
T. Boone Pickens delays his wind farm plan. The biggest advocate of clean energy loses billions with drop in oil prices. link
He cited the fall in natural gas prices, a competing source of electricity generation, as a deterrent.
Biggest U.S. wind energy adopter cuts capital expenditures. link

Will drop in oil prices lead to another “deja vous” for CleanTech industry (remember the renewable energy buzz in the 70’s?).

The era that defined Wall Street is over link

How is New York City starting to cope with the downturn.
New York City proposes additional tax ideas.
Plastic bag surcharge link

Transit Agency sees higher fees link

Oil prices lose 60%…why did the price of oil drop so fast?
hedge funds have gone into commodities as investors, rather than arbitragers.

Like real estate, commodities permit a high degree of leverage — typically 10 to 1 — compared to stocks margined at 2 to 1. Because of this ability to “leverage-up,” and the fact that the supply-demand equation has been unusually attractive over the last two to three years, these “new speculators” have been encouraged to bid up prices to extraordinary and unsustainable levels
This trend service called it perfectly. link

Oil prices save consumers $270 Billion link

The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns oil will hit $200 by 2030 link
Mexico will soon be a net importer of oil and be forced to stop oil exports to U.S.(11% of our imports) link
Could this have any impact on NAFTA?

Brazil a new oil giant. Offshore drilling pays off big for both employment and oil. link

Could Brazil’s success and Mexico’s aggressive deepwater exploration force US to reconsider offshore drilling?

IEA says world energy use is “patently unsustainable” link
A revolution in the energy business is required to maintain economic growth

Congress proposes $50 billion auto bailout. Tough love could lead to tough times. link

Could conditions for bailout be the catalyst for “green cars”?

Fixed labor and healthcare costs prevent auto industry from adapting and competing. What happens to companies that don’t recognize or have the ability to change.

U.S. unemployment rate hits 25 year high link
Winners (armed services, temporary job services, collection agencies, job training, blood banks)
Losers (charities, high end retailers, restaurants)

Voters approve high-speed rail for California. link

Al Gore wants carbon-free electricity in 10 years link

Clean coal initiatives will force smart grid adoption

Will clean coal lead to more blackouts? link
Carbon policies will have to take into account the problems that will come with switching over from a coal infrastructure. The power grid will also have to be upgraded to allow electricity to be consumed more efficiently.

How much will upgraded grid cost, $2Trillion link

The plan could also help solve the country's economic crisis by creating "millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced."

Renewable energy adoption goes mainstream when there is an efficient delivery method (smart grid).

Goldman Sachs invests in carbon-offset companies.. Carbon offsets are projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. link
These two deals show Goldman Sachs’ interest in the global carbon market.

An immediate solution to our energy crisis?

What has as much capacity as US wind, solar, geothermal and biomass combined? (and it exists today) link
This technology is equal to 29,000 megawatts of capacity during periods of peak summer demand--as much as all U.S. wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass power combined.

One of the largest energy user (Dept of Defense) adopts demand response. link

The “next generation” Internet

Energy is really just another form of data that travels across a network.
Google joins Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition link

How will Google use the power of information for the energy industry?

Are smart meters the next generation PCs?

The grid is similar to the Internet. Instead of zeros and ones, megawatts is the new “content”. How will Google utilize (and monetize) the data created by the grid?

Smart grid startups merge link
Smart grid is required in order to meet booming electric car demand. link
Smart Grid will require $2 Trillion link

Demand Response Smart Grid Coalition seeks tax breaks for “Negawatts”. 21 policy recommendations for Obama.

Newly discovered energy is a huge source of untapped energy. Frozen natural gas could heat 100 million homes for 10 years. link

Could the smart meter be the “next PC”? link

Smart meter rollout and the effects link

Every home and building will have one and it too will be connected to the Net. It will provide energy efficiency and numerous revenue opportunities.

The Future Of Newspapers?

One of the oldest newspapers (Christian Science Monitor) ceases daily print publication and focuses on the Net. link

Will the New York Times adapt quick enough to changing viewing and advertising trends, or will it go under by May? link

Will newspaper extinction drive up online ad prices? Did Craig’s List (online classifieds) eliminate newspaper’s major revenue source….or was the drop in real estate (listings/ads) the final nail?

Yellow Pages Face Extinction link

They could have dominated location based advertising. Will the death of the Yellow Pages be a boom for Google’s local ad biz?

Here’s what the Yellow Pages could have done to be competitive. link
Even this link

Imagine if the Yellow Pages had offered a service for local merchants (Joe the plumber or Sal’s Pizzeria) to create a website quick and cheap (in addition to being placed in the book). Many of these small businesses didn’t have the time or knowledge to create a Web presence. This would have made the Yellow Pages the local search engine of choice.

US Postal Service considers layoffs..first time ever in history (another unionized industry facing obsolescence?) link

Internet services (online banking etc) are eliminating mail revenue.
More proof the government is not a business saavy.

Is the auto industry next? A sign that unionized businesses are antiquated?

Can you see me now?

Cisco sees Telepresence adoption in 12 months link

High-quality video conferencing systems are helping companies save on travel expenses and a consumer version would help people experience something closer to real-life meetings.

Citrix buys high definition conference call equipment player Vapps link

Will the set top box be the “server” for the home?

Cisco introduces new router that can help phone companies and cable operators deal with onslaught of video traffic link

A “M.P.G”. rating for computer hardware?

The Green Grid is hoping to have a new package of standardized metrics in place from next year that will allow firms to compare the energy efficiency of different servers, storage systems and networking equipment, in much the same way motorists compare the fuel efficiency of different cars. link

Virtualization energy efficiency software for servers?
Data center energy bills could be cut by 30% link

Virtualization software comes to mobile devices link next virtualization bonanza

One of the largest US electronic retailers, Circuit City files for bankruptcy. link
Could it be because flat panel TV sales have peaked link

Was there not enough room for two electronic retailers (Best Buy Circuit City)to survive? Could the same thing happen to home improvement market? (Home Depot Lowes)

First the PC and then the high priced high-def TV, what is the next high price electronic item that will save retailers? Hint, it’s already in your living room.

What’s China’s Economy Doing?

China reported its first decline in monthly electricity output in four years, one of the strongest signs so far that the country's economic slowdown may be worse than thought

What happens if to world economy if China’s economic slowdown is this drastic?

Chinese solar companies slowing production. link

What companies benefit from falling solar prices ? link

China takes steps toward a national emission trading platform. link

Google shares flu outbreak search results link

Privacy issues? Will people use alternative search engines for privacy matters? Will advertisers use specific search engines knowing this and choose ads based on specific search topics.

Is bandwidth the new oil?

The combined cost of broadband, home phones, cable or satellite TV and mobile phones can easily outstrip our energy bills, and our connected lifestyle is making these services essential. Is history repeating itself? Will our internet addiction become as costly and as dangerous as our addiction to oil? link

“Wi-Fi on Steroids” Gets FCC approval

FCC approves Google backed white space spectrum. Digital TV transformation represents opportunity for true broadband for America. link

Cheap broadband access represents a $100 billion dollar plus a year market. This spectrum will allow billions of devices and objects to be connected to the Net. With speeds up to 80Mbps, it represents a threat to fiber-to-the-premises solutions like Verizon’s FiOS networks.

One of the beneficiaries? GE announces Smart Appliance program link

It could also provide a network for the smart meter.

Dell incorporates white space radios into laptops link
A threat to the Wi-Fi, WiMax and mobile provider players?

No e-waste dumping in landfills or developing countries link

FedEx cuts aircraft emissions, increases fuel efficiency. link

One of the largest users of fuel takes steps to improve costs by eliminating “gas guzzler” planes, will other carriers too?
What airplanes are most efficient? Least?

Energy efficiency will shape US economic recovery.
the cheapest and most available source of new energy is the energy we waste”. U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman

Information Technology (IT) members are urging lawmakers to keep big picture in mind when they create economic and energy legislation link

How does America waste over 50% of its energy? (you'll never guess) link

China merges electricity infrastructure with information technology. link

Project aims to reduce China’s energy consumption per unit.
China’s stimulus plan that focuses on increased investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy (smart grid) should be a wake-up call for the US.

IBM proposes a technology-fueled economic recovery plan. link

Sixty-seven percent of electrical energy, for example, is lost because of inefficient power generation and grid management.
Energy efficiency offers the highest return for our economy.
Grid management and power efficiency companies should be monitored.

IBM is also reviving an old idea, broadband over powerlines. link
Google also invested in this space link

Advertising Comes Into Digital Age

YouTube, otherwise know as the world’s second largest search engine introduces targeted advertising to video searches link

New online video site to match YouTube’s revenue. link

This proves media companies can generate revenues online without having to go through Google. (Apple’s iTunes controls the music industry). The end of Google's video monopoly?

Will they start to include consumer produced videos? A threat to Google/YouTube?

Search videos using text link
A search engine is able to search videos using closed captioning technology and image recognition technology.

Dynamic ad insertion for both linear and non-linear TV viewing (HUGE implications for advertising industry)
Targeted ads to be inserted before, after and during on demand content playback

Advertisers can now reach prime time and “my time” TV viewers link

Advertisers can now place targeted ads based on WHEN show is watched, not when it is broadcast. A reason for advertisers to love the TiVo now? TV morphing into PC.

Blockbuster enters the set top box market with an on-demand device. (dumb) link

This is just prolonging the inevitable death of this company and industry (retail video stores). Blockbuster failed to capitalize on movies/games being downloaded over the Net. They didn’t recognize that the physical items in their stores were being replaced with digital content online.

The TV remote comes alive with sensing technology.

The first type of ecommerce through the TV? (order pizza using TV remote control)

When Apple incorporated sensing technology (accelerometer) in the iPhone, they didn’t just disrupt the mobile phone industry, they disrupted the entire remote device space.
This sensing technology is transforming remote controls into PC mouses. What’s inside an accelerometer?…small micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)

The new remote control.

Wii controller and a browser will reinvent the TV and viewing. link

Will the Wii be the new TV remote? Will hand gestures replace button pushing?

Will set top box manufactures incorporate this motion sensing technology (accelerometer)? What other devices will include this technology? The TV is morphing into a PC.

Biggest spam company shuts down link

Who does this affect? Viagra ( sexual and prescription drugs), email database companies. Will eliminating spam drive up the price of keywords at Google AdSense?

The eBay of working capital?

Recession and tight credit markets create a new way for businesses to tap cash. By selling outstanding receivables, much needed financing is available without resorting to vulture financing. link

How will this financing method What kind of impact will this financing method have on balance sheets? Will this put pressure on banks to lend, or will they too get into this business?

Philips develops “intelligent pill”… contains a microprocessor, battery, wireless radio, pump and a drug reservoir to release medication in a specific area in the body link

Intel gets into the home health care business link new laptop (computing device) will remotely sync patients with health care providers

File sharing Internet darling BitTorrent falls on hard times. link

Have .99 songs offered on iTunes AND the iPod eliminated this once Internet file-share darling? Or does geographical distance no longer matter for file delivery?

The rebirth of the barcode…a Physical World Hyperlink
Airline industry adopts mobile barcodes for boarding passes. link
Sprint enables mobile phones to scan barcodes for Internet connectivity. link

The 2d barcode represents a way for camera phones to link physical objects with the Internet. Can the barcode save the print industry?

Is Apple building a search engine? link

The end of phone landlines is near. link

Internet of things fights traffic jams. Cars with mobile sensors that pick up real-time information on the location and speed of the vehicles as well as the condition of the roads. The data are fed back to a central computer that calculates the traffic patterns and can predict the optimal route link

Search engine for sound wave recognition link

Streaming online videos to a high definition TV is next major boom.
So far there’s Apple TV but a new player has emerged link

New bulletproof tire is airless link
What other products could this material be used for?

October e-commerce slowest growth ever, 1%..lowest monthly growth rate since comScore began tracking data in 2001 link

Another form of physical content gets digitized and goes online. Is the end of book retailers fast approaching? link

Digital music finally surpasses compact disc sales. More than half of music sales in the United States are now from digital products, like downloads on iTunes and ring tones for cellphones.

While the losers are easy to see, such as retailers, packaging could it also include the management industry? If an artist can produce an album and get it online, what happens to the agency business?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Merrill Lynch Calls Cleantech The Sixth Technology Revolution

Cleantech, the next investing boom?

Merrill Lynch Compares Cleantech To Computing In The 70's

History shows that technology revolutions occur about every 50 years.

"We believe cleantech is at the beginning of a high-growth period much like computing was in the early 1970s. The application of technology to resource problems should cause profound changes in the energy, utility, and automotive industries." says Mr. Steven Milunovich

Mr. Milunovich believes the sixth technology revolution will be driven by clean technology - the application of technology to optimize the use of natural resources - and biotech.

The current pressure on cleantech stocks may continue for now, but the combination of friendlier government policies and economic improvement should lead to investment opportunities in 2010-11.

Is Bandwidth The New Oil?

Does America face another addiction with limited resources?

"Bandwidth is kind of like a drug," says Dana Waldman (CEO Voyant International). "The more you get, the more you want"

The number of devices connected to the Net is expected to grow exponentially with the "Internet of Things". If you include the growth in video related devices/application (and include the high definition capability) we could be facing another commodity crisis.

Tech Radar asks the question What If Bandwidth Was The New Oil?

While our oil habit continues to cost us dear, we're busily establishing another addiction. This time, it's bandwidth. The combined cost of broadband, home phones, cable or satellite TV and mobile phones can easily outstrip our energy bills, and our connected lifestyle is making these services essential. Is history repeating itself?

Will our internet addiction become as costly and as dangerous as our addiction to oil?

The solution

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is The New Economic Indicator Signalling That Smart Grid Plans Are On Hold?

From W.S.J.
A drop in power use, disrupts utility industry.

An unexpected drop in U.S. electricity consumption has utility companies worried that the trend isn't a byproduct of the economic downturn, and could reflect a permanent shift in consumption that will require sweeping change in their industry.

compel major changes in the way utilities run their businesses. Utilities are expected to invest $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion by 2030 to modernize their electric systems and meet future needs, according to an industry-funded study by the Brattle Group.

if electricity demand is flat or even declining, utilities must either make significant adjustments to their investment plans or run the risk of building too much capacity.

But what has executives stumped is that recent shifts appear larger than others seen previously.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Oil Is Finite But Information Is Infinite".. Google's CEO Eric Schmidt

Bits, bytes, megawatts and's all just data to me, but Google sees it as content. We saw how they revolutionized content traveling over the Internet.

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said “the cheapest and most available source of new energy is the energy we waste”.
Scott P Shaffer
Is an antiquated power grid the biggest form of waste?

Here comes the “next generation” Internet. Think of all of the computing devices that are connected (plugged in) to the

"EnerNet" (Energy+Internet=EnerNet)

Eric Schmidt gave a speech at the New America Foundation that outlined what the "next generation" Internet will allow.

How will Google use the power of information for the energy industry?

Energy is really just another form of bits and bytes (data) that travels across a network.

When an air conditioner is turned on, data (or content) is being created.

Millions of ACs, refrigerators, Ipods etc. There are probably fifty times the number of other "computing devices" in your house generating data (content) compared to PCs/laptops.

When Google joined the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition they signaled their intent to dominate handling "information" traveling over the "EnerNet"

Schmidt's first suggestion is to use some of the bailout funds to upgrade the electric grid, and make it smart. Broadband was required before people could really utilize the Net, a smart grid is necessary for the CleanTech boom.

Every structure that relies on heating or air conditioning will require a "new PC".

Are smart meters the next generation PCs? The grid is similar to the Internet.

How will Google utilize (and monetize) the data created by the grid?

Here's how I see the next generation Internet and the analogy of previous Net winners.

Smart meters (Dell), chips that make devices more energy efficient (Intel), software that connects these devices to the EnerNet (Microsoft) and managing the data (content) that is generated when these devices are connected (Google)....and Google again.


WalMart Makes Commitment To Wind Power

Having a major retailer commit to a product or service can be as transformational as a government mandate.wind turbine

From Wall Street Journal Blog

WalMart Commits To Wind Power

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer just announced a deal with Duke Energy to use wind power for 15% of the electricity at hundreds of its Texas stores. The wind will come from a Duke wind farm slated to go operational next spring.

What’s interesting about Wal-Mart’s announcement is the company’s long-term bet that using wind power will be cost-competitive with traditional power sources. Wal-Mart’s vice-president of energy said in a statement, “We’re purchasing renewable power at traditional energy rates,” though the company didn’t disclose specific terms.

Wind Energy stocks

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pondering Primate (Team Monkee Do) Off To Race In IronMan Arizona

The end of IronMan racing season is almost here.monkee do

Team Monkee Do (Scott Shaffer) is taking off for beautiful Tempe to race in IronMan Arizona.

An Ironman race consist of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run (marathon). It is by far one of the most agonizing but rewarding things to experience.

Follow the race at

There's a little unfinished business in the desert to take care of.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google, iPhone and Speech Recognition...Will QWERTY Keyboards Lose Their Significance?

The iPhone represents two major transformations, one is speech recognition. (know the other?)

One of the selling points to smartphones is the QWERTY keyboard. Will speech recognition technology eliminate the need for them?
Scott P Shaffer
When word processing was introduced, it was the beginning of the end of handwriting.

Can you think of the last time you wrote anything of length on sheet of paper?

Google is blending the PC with the mobile phone, and will be creating another revenue stream for keywords

NY Times has a story about Google, iPhone and Machines That Listen

Google’s new speech recognition service for the iPhone, understands you most accurately when you speak to it just the way you enter queries into the Google search box. It may even signify an inflection point — speech recognition that is more useful than typing.

Not only will Apple (using Google's technology) transform search on a mobile, but imagine the other applications that will change with this speech recognition technology (text messaging, email, location based services).

(second transformation)
In addition to transforming the way we use a mobile phone, Apple also disrupted the entire remote device space, when they incorporated sensing technology (accelerometer).

What other industries will benefit from this?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Energy Efficiency And Grid Reliability Represent $65 Billion Market

Lux Research report predicts that focus energy efficiency and grid reliability will drive a $65 billion market opportunity in 2013.

The advent of distributed generation, distributed storage, and distributed intelligence will change power infrastructure into an intelligent and more nimble power web, according to a new report from Lux Research, "Alternative Power and Energy Storage State of the Market Q4 2008: Weaving the $65 Billion Power Web.

"Smart grid technologies, like advanced metering infrastructure and demand response services, will enable the transformation of the current grid to a more reliable and intelligent power web," said Ying Wu, Senior Analyst at Lux Research.

More on demand response and smart meter

Comcast Rolls Out Extreme Broadband..But Who Can Afford It?

If you roll it out, with they buy it?

As consumers cut back on unnecessary expenditures, I can't help but think that Comcast's extremely expensive broadband service will receive a lukewarm reception.

Comcast to Roll Out Extreme 50 Mbps

Comcast, the nation’s leading provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services, today announced it is making the leap from broadband to wideband with the launch of next-generation DOCSIS 3.0 in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

* Extreme 50, offering up to 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed at $139.95/month.*
* Ultra, offering up to 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed at $62.95/month.*

To see what broadband speeds you're really getting (as opposed to what they advertise) do a free test at

The eBay Of Working Capital

Recession and tight credit markets create a new way for businesses to tap cash. By selling outstanding receivables, much needed financing is available without resorting to vulture financing.

eBay of working capital

What kind of impact will this financing method have on balance sheets?

Will this put pressure on banks to lend, or will they too get into this business?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The First Type Of Ecommerce Using TV Remote Control?

What other order menus do you see cable companies inserting in shows?

Dominos and TiVo Hook Up For Remote Control Ordering

Users can also access the Dominos site through any number of entry points -- Gold Star sponsorship, program placements, interactive tags in live TV spots, and through Music, Photos, Products & More by clicking on "Order Your Pizza" -- and manually enter an address and pizza order. Users will also be able to track their pizzas, according to Domino's.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Voice Recognition Mobile Search From Google Is Here

First Google introduced local voice search (1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411)

Using this service, you can:

* search for a local business by name or category.
You can say "Giovanni's Pizzeria" or just "pizza".
* get connected to the business, free of charge.
* get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone.
Just say "text message".

Microsoft acquired TellMe for $800m. TellMe's founder Mike McCue called his vision "DialTone 2.0".

From NY Times Google Adds Voice Search To iPhone

Users of the free application, which Apple is expected to make available as soon as Friday through its iTunes store, can place the phone to their ear and ask virtually any question, like “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” or “How tall is Mount Everest?” The sound is converted to a digital file and sent to Google’s servers, which try to determine the words spoken and pass them along to the Google search engine.

The search results, which may be displayed in just seconds on a fast wireless network, will at times include local information, taking advantage of iPhone features that let it determine its location.

The other mobile speech recognition deals and players

White Space Provides The Future Of Wireless Revolution

It should come as no surprise to Pondering Primate readers how big the FCC's decision to approve Google Backed White Space Use will be.
white space
It's been called "WiFi on steroids" and offers "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

From M.I.T. Technology Review The Coming Wireless Revolution.

"The announcement that the FCC will allow white-space devices has a lot of people feeling like this is a beginning of a wireless revolution," says Anant Sahai, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

radios that are smart enough to hop from one frequency to another, leaving occupied channels undisturbed--an approach known as cognitive radio

Dell may want to build broadband wireless Internet cards that are faster and have more range than existing ones do (already announced this initiative)

Google may simply want to push Internet coverage to increase the number of people who see Google ads (Google has estimated it will increase revenues by 20-30%)

Jake Ward from Wireless Innovation Alliance describes one white-space application as "mind blowing": sending high-definition television signals from one room to another within a house. "You have a TiVo, a DVD player, a cable box, and three high-definition TVs," he says. "Using a white-space device, you could beam those signals anywhere, to any TV."

More about the White Space potential

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Google Joins Smart Grid Coalition

Google joins Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition
google cleantech
The Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition (DRSG) is the trade association for companies that provide products and services in the areas of demand response, smart meters and smart grid technologies.

DRSG works to educate and provide information to policymakers, utilities, the media, the financial community and stakeholders on how demand response and smart grid technologies such as smart meters can help modernize our electricity system and provide customers with new information and options for managing their electricity use

How will Google use the power of information for the energy industry?

Google Says White Space Will Boost Their Online Ad Revenue By 20-30%

"Wi-Fi on steroids" is said to be worth billions to Google.
How much will it be worth to other white space players?

Could President Obama, Congress and and Google team up to deliver Wi-Fi on steroids?

The FCC just gave it a thumbs up.

From Investor's Business Daily U.S. Broadband Push Seen Gaining Steam

President-elect Obama writes on his website, "America should lead the world in broadband penetration and internet access". He calls for "providing true broadband to every community in America".

How can this be accomplished?

Microsoft said access to white spaces offers "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

On Nov. 5, the FCC voted to open vacant broadcast spectrum for unlicensed use. The availability of these white spaces was applauded by Google co-founder Larry Page, who said in a statement: "In terms of how people use the Internet, how they communicate with each other, how rural areas will be able to have connectivity, this will be a tremendously important thing."

Page predicted the free use of white space will boost Internet use so much, his firm's online ad revenue will rise 20% to 30% a year..
(My rough estimates put that figure at roughly $4-7B in additional revenues)

Last week Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt went to Chicago to serve as part of Obama's 17-person economic transition economic advisory board.(Schmidt said no to Obama's CTO position though).

Google's Larry Page defines White Space as "Wi-Fi on steroids"

Utilizing the unused TV "white spaces" for broadband access would be a tremendous opportunity to bring the Internet to more Americans -- including those in rural areas and first responders.

Because of the much longer range of these spectrum signals, wireless broadband access utilizing the TV white spaces could be brought to more consumers using fewer base stations -- in effect, "wi-fi on steriods".

Largest PC manufacturer is already betting on its adoption.

More ponderings on White Spaces

BitTorrent....The Internet's Darling Becomes A Dud

Representing about half the world’s Internet traffic by some measures, The called it the next gigantic IPO.

CNN called it the The Next Big IPO.

Much of their popularity is due to its ability to break the download bottleneck.

However when Comcast, a service provider, decided to put a "hold" on their Internet traffic, their downfall began.

BitTorrent Sacks Half Its Staff

As an open-source technology protocol, the file-sharing system BitTorrent is going strong, representing about half the world’s Internet traffic by some measures. But the San Francisco company, BitTorrent, is showing signs of serious trouble while it tries to commercialize the technology.

The company, with its remaining 20 employees, will focus on BitTorrent DNA, a content delivery network that helps media and video game companies distribute their products cheaply over the Internet.

Om Malik was spot on with this quote "While Web 2.0 companies may get acquired by Google (or Yahoo), specialized software start-ups with products that enhance hardware will find buyers more often. Expect this trend to continue, and in fact gain momentum"

So is the market in need of more bandwidth, or just bandwidth efficiency?

Where Do We Go From Here?

Picking up any newspaper or listening to any news outlet will have you wondering if the days of a prosperous U.S. economy are over. There isn't anything new to invent (we have heard that before).

How did we get here and where do we go from here?

What is the next boom?Scott P. Shaffer

Here's a compilation of events/transformations that got us here:

Year 2K and Internet boom
-massive spending in the hardware/software industry (PC growth)
-telcos ramped up by laying pipe
-govt flooded market with money to fight off any 1/1/2000 problems
-easy money led to "dumb" IPOS (remember fees for investment bankers
-"day trading" a new industry
(the first leg of the financial industry greed)

The end of the Net boom and the recession officially started with 9/11

Fed lowers interest rates to stimulate economy after 9/11

-home building wave starts (demand for lumber, concrete starts)
-home prices start to increase causing refinancing, line of credit boom---consumer wave starts
-Govt creates Homeland Security (security industry booms)
-housing boom starts with all time low interest rates (stock day trading shifts to day trading homes)
-unprecedented hurricane activity (and strength) triggers roofing/repair industry
-home builders, realtors, mortgage brokers see record prosperity
-the financial industry create esoteric investments based on mortgages (second leg of the financial industry greed)

CHINDIA (China and India two massive economies start to ramp

-farming, manufacturing, medical equipment companies
-commodity prices skyrocket
-the tipping point for finding cheap oil and Chindia's massive appetite create perfect storm
-Olympics in China create big spending for one time event
-oil prices reach record levels impacting consumers and manufacturers..the start of the CleanTech money flow
-US Dollar falls to record levels

What caused the upcoming perfect storm?

-Home prices crater causing foreclosures, home-builder weakness
-oil prices dive on economic slowdown (hedge funds on the wrong side of this trade are forced to liquidate contracts causing rapid drop in price)

-worldwide economic slowdown and financial industry
-Govt approves $700b bailout of financials
-Auto industry asks for a government handout

Oil and natural gas prices drop drastically
-Cleantech investment comes to a halt (a massive newly created industry that was expected to resurrect our economy)
-Photovoltaic prices (solar cells) expected to drop in '09
-Pickens delays his wind farm plan

The economy is cyclical with varying sizes of booms and busts.

The question is what technology, government mandate, or event will create the next boom?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Boom Coming For TV Advertising?

Dynamic ad insertion for both linear and non-linear TV viewing.

The ability to place targeted ads before, after and during on demand content playback will disrupt the television advertising.

A new advertising solution will enable advertisers and content providers to exert exacting control over ad placement and generate revenue through additional advertising opportunities.

Advertisers can now reach both prime time and "my time" viewers. This has enormous implications for advertising.

IBM Proposes Technology Fueled Economic Recovery Plan

From NY Times IBM Proposes Technology Economic Recovery Plan

Sixty-seven percent of electrical energy, for example, is lost because of inefficient power generation and grid management.

I.B.M. is increasingly playing the role of lead contractor in these so-called smart infrastructure projects around the world, from a traffic management network in Stockholm to electric grids in Texas.

computerized grids, thermostats and appliances can sense and communicate line failures or automatically turn off air-conditioners during peak load times to save money and fuel

What Has As Much Capacity As U.S. Wind, Solar, Geothermal And Biomass Combined?

The media rush to highlight every major new renewable power project, but another clean energy resource gets far less attention, even though it's flexible, abundant, relatively inexpensive and valued overall at billions of dollars.

Next 100 highlights the Invisible Energy Resource

According to a recent report by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), this unheralded resource is equal to 29,000 megawatts of capacity during periods of peak summer demand--as much as all U.S. wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass power combined.

The report calls it "an effective and efficient capacity resource, on equal footing with generation" and says it "will become a critical resource for maintaining system reliability over the next ten years."

I've discussed about this technology before.

Know what it is and who the players are?

Energy Internet Or Electronet...Two Terms To Get Used To

Thomas Friedman in Hot Flat and Crowded recognizes the core green truth that the future is all about clean electrons -- that is, carbon-free electricity -- and energy efficiency.

A smart electrical grid is when moving power use to the grid also opens up the full potential of an "energy internet,"

Al Gore speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit:

The nation needs to build “an electronet,” a unified national smart grid, with high-voltage, low-loss underground wires that deliver renewable energy from the places that produce it — like the sunny Arizona deserts or the windy Dakota plains — to the cities where the majority of it is used. Such a grid would require a $400 billion investment upfront, but would pay off in just over three years, he said, because the nation spends $120 billion annually on costs from power failures attributed to the existing grid.

7 Ideas To Watch With Upcoming Energy Infrastructure Build

A new report by the Brattle Group estimates that the U.S. utility industry will have to invest between $1.5 and $2.0 trillion between 2010 and 2030 just to maintain current levels of reliable energy service for customers throughout the country.

The Energy Road Map does a great job summarizing “Transforming America’s Power Industry: The Investment Challenge 2010-2030”

They also list seven ideas to watch.

1) Smart Grid- Software, Sensors & Storage
2) Distribute Power & Energy storage
3) Cleaner Coal conversation gets emotional, but coal wins
4) Next generation biofuels push corn aside
5) Solar grows, but real breakthroughs still waiting in the lab
6) Nuclear tries to reengage public and political leaders
7) Geothermal energy

In addition, the report states that EE/DR programs could significantly reduce, but not eliminate, the need for new generation capacity. And, implementation of a new federal carbon policy would significantly increase the cost and change the mix of new generation capacity.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pondering Primate Off To Race In IronMan World Championship 70.3

The 09 IronMan racing season is coming to an end. This weekend is the World Championship 70.3 race and in 2 weeks IronMan Arizona.

Team Monkee Do (Scott Shaffer) will be racing at this weekend's IronMan World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Florida • Monkee DoNovember 8, 2008

The Ironman 70.3 Series culminates with its world championship in Clearwater, FL.

More than 1,800 domestic and international competitors earn the right to compete in the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 by qualifying at one of the 31 Ironman 70.3 events held around the world.

Ironman 70.3 events consist of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. The race will start and finish at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach

Follow the race live at

Dell Incorporates White Space Radios Into Laptops

Dell adopts "WiFi on steroids".

In short, access to white spaces offers "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

I have pondered at great length about the enormous opportunity White Space represents
After the FCC approved the Google Backed White Space Use, the largest PC maker announces they will incorporate this technology.

From PC World Dell To Offer White Space Connectivity In Laptops

Dell will add a new wireless option to future laptops by installing radio chips that provide connectivity over the unused television spectrum known as white spaces. Proponents say the TV spectrum can carry broadband signals significantly farther than Wi-Fi, and that opening up the spectrum will help expand the market for new smartphone-like devices.

Today some 1 billion WiFi chips are shipped each year.

"We intend to integrate white-space radios into future Dell products," said Neeraj Srivastava, director of technology policy at Dell. The products could include laptops, netbooks, and any other devices that provide wireless network access. White spaces could solve a lot of the problems of the 2.4GHz spectrum and allow for higher-bandwidth applications such as streaming audio and video.

4 Reasons why you should care about White Space.
(Hint: one of them is the fastest WiFi ever)

How will this new spectrum affect WiFI players, telcos and cable cos?

Also this week Intel announced they were scrapping their ultrawideband efforts.

More white space ponderings

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Suggested CleanTech Reading

A record amount of VC money is going into the CleanTech, or GreenTech space.

Here are some books I have found that give great insight on where some of the next great investments might be found in the CleanTech space.

Nicholas Carr, the author of "Does IT Matter?" (a book that was way ahead of it's time) provides more of his visions.
This book discusses how cheap, utility-supplied computing will ultimately change society as profoundly as cheap electricity did.

Best selling author Thomas Friedman follows up his "The World Is Flat" with a great insight as to how the Green Revolution could provide America with a great opportunity. "The green revolution we need is is like no revolution the world has seen".

Highlights the various types of renewable energy opportunities (trends, pros/cons, timeframes, profitability potential and myths).

FCC Approves Google Backed White Space Use

The "Internet of Things", or "Physical World Connection" is becoming a reality.

When everyone and everything has access to broadband, the Internet will deliver numerous applications, companies and revenue opportunities.

Everything from thermostats, smart meters, digital cameras, sprinkler systems, airplanes to mobile phones and laptops will soon have broadband access capabilities.white space

Internet For Everyone and soon everything. Cheap broadband wireless services will soon be available to all.

Google calls it "Wi-Fi on steroids". Today some 1 billion Wi-Fi chips are shipped each year. "

Now that the FCC has set the rules, I'm sure that we'll see similar growth in products to take advantage of this spectrum," Google's Larry Page wrote.

Microsoft calls "white spaces" the greatest improvement in Internet access since the advent of Wi-Fi."

White Spaces offers a "ton of bandwidth"

From Yahoo FCC Approves Google-Backed Plan For Airwaves Use

The five-member FCC voted to open unlicensed pockets of the spectrum known as white space that will become available when U.S. broadcasters are required to move to digital television next year.

Companies like Google and Microsoft, as well as consumer groups, said access to the white space airwaves would encourage innovation in cellular telephones and wireless devices, much as WiFi did.

"Let's hope it's not just Wi-Fi on steroids but Wi-Fi on amphetamines," FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said.

While a lot of companies make white space radios (modems), the white space rules mandate that unlicensed users of this spectrum also be able to sense licensed users and not interfere with them (that was a key argument for opposition). That means companies that make white space radios will need more than just radio expertise: they will need sensing expertise.

According to Josh Silver, (Free Press) white spaces adoption would champion four core principles:

-- Access (fat pipes in every home),
-- choice (real competition between providers),
-- openness (this appears to be a code word for some flavor of 'Net neutrality),
-- innovation (job creation and economic growth).

More white space ponderings.

Our company uncovered a small company with modulation techniques (and over $200m in VC funding from Cisco, SBC Communications, US Venture Partners, ComVentures along with $100m from US Govt) that is positioning themselves to be the "Qualcomm of 700MHz and White Space" (modulating standard).

This Silicon Valley player is already receiving white space radio orders.

The report is titled "White Space Represents A White Hot Opportunity"

Friday, October 31, 2008

GE Smart Appliances Reshape Energy Use

GE Announces Program To Reshape Energy Usage With Smart Appliances

"Now that ENERGY STAR® appliances are recognized by 75 percent of American consumers, the next step is to reshape when energy is being used," said Kevin Nolan, Vice President Technology for GE Consumer & Industrial.ecoimagination

"Peak hour energy demand is growing faster than total energy demand.

It is imperative that we begin to shift some of the energy load from peak hours to other parts of the day -- helping to avoid the need to build new power plants to meet the demand," he explained.

These "smart" or Energy Management Enabled Appliances and the utility "Smart Meters" help consumers manage their utility bills by enabling them to avoid peak hour energy usage and benefit from pricing.

For example, the automatic defrost feature on GE refrigerators is initiated by the internal electronics based on the number of refrigerator door openings and other input signals. If the refrigerator can delay the defrost cycle from occurring during peak energy usage hours, consumers will save money by paying for the same amount of energy, later in the day and at a lower rate.

A pilot program is already underway with Louisville Gas & Electric.

WiFi Thermostats Eliminate Need For Smart Grid

The "Information Superhighway" will connect all types of devices and deliver ALL types of data.

Energy efficiency through telematics is here.

Toronto-based Ecobee thinks it has a winning plan for reducing everyone's cost of heating and air conditioning, while giving utilities greater interaction with customers when needed

From ARS Technica WiFi thermostats set to change energy industry
The Ecobee connects to a thermostat through a standard HVAC interface, and hooks in to the Internet via a home WiFi network.

The thermostat regularly synchronizes its data with a secure Web portal.

Once networked, the thermostat can receive alerts, too, from whoever installed the device.

Previous smart thermostats required a smart grid, an electrical network also capable of passing data. Ecobee goes out of band, using the ubiquity of WiFi to pass data. The system can tie into home meters that track usage.

The kicker:

Because utilities pay for more power during peak periods—whether they generate that power themselves or buy it on the open market—being able to send an alert to a customer asking them to participate in backing off usage could have a disproportionate effect.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

FCC Commissioner Says White Space Will Win Approval

White spaces, or as Google's Larry Page calls it,"Wi-Fi on steroids" is close to reality.

A top federal regulator said on Wednesday he is optimistic communications officials will approve a plan, backed by Microsoft (MSFT) and Google, (GOOG) to open soon-to-be vacant television airwaves.

From Investor's Business Daily FCC Commissioner Says White Space Use Will Win Approval

The FCC, made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, is due to vote (Nov 4) on the white spaces proposal drawn up by Republican commission Chairman Kevin Martin.

there is great potential for a new wave of innovative and faster devices to be developed by the private sector with the new spectrum.

I have pondered at great length about the enormous opportunity White Space represents.

One Silicon Valley player is already receiving white space radio orders.

More White Space ponderings.

Visionary Innovations uncovered a small company with modulation techniques (and over $200m in VC funding from Cisco, SBC Communications, US Venture Partners, ComVentures along with $100m from US Govt) that is positioning themselves to be the "Qualcomm of 700MHz and White Space" (modulating standard).

The report is titled "White Space Represents A White Hot Opportunity"

A Smart Grid Relies On Demand Response

SmartGrid offers an Industry News summary
Their take: That new transmission has to be smart and self-healing to better accommodate the stresses of intermittent wind.

NERC cites improving Demand Response and lagging grid

Highlights I found in the 2008 Long-Term Reliability Assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corp

To consistently validate and measure the results of the demand response programs, NERC is inaugurating a demand response event analysis system (Demand Response Data Task Force), expected to be launched in 2010.

Significant increases in demand response programs over the next ten years are projected to reduce growth in demand and provide ancillary services across North America.

Demand response will become a critical resource for maintaining system reliability over the next ten years.

Though demand continues to grow, new development of supply-side options are becoming increasingly limited – many coal plants have been deferred or cancelled, nuclear plants are becoming more and more expensive, and transmission lines increasingly difficult to site.

Further, demand response also has an important role to play as more variable resources (such as wind) are added to the system. Variable resources, for example wind generation, often need a “dance partner” which can provide operational flexibility to maintain reliability during resource down-ramps that can be ssociated with them.

Demand response can provide all or a portion of the flexibility required for this integration.

Brattle Group consultant Ahmad Faruqui revealed that his firm has updated its 2007 assessment of DR’s present value. The previous assessment, called The Power of Five Percent, concluded that if DR could reduce peak demand by five percent it would produce a benefit stream over twenty years with a present value of $35B.

Since then, says Faruqui, the cost of providing peak energy has doubled. Meanwhile, DR technology costs have come down and regulators have started promoting faster adoption. Even at a five percent reduction, the present value jumps to $66B.

If DR can reduce peak demand by 25%, says Faruqui, the present value is $332B.

2008 Long-Term Reliability Assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corp

CleanTech Opportunities Offer Inflection Point For American Economic Turnaround

M.R.Rangaswami at Earth2Tech outlines 3 opportunities to set America on a new path.

The resolution of the presidential election next week will be an opportunity for a fresh start.

1. Rebuild the national grid
2. Stimulate the Green Economy
3. Move to a sustainable economy


America is at a Tipping Point and here are my 6 points (with some government incentives).

1. Reduce our dependence on oil..oil supply is finite. Solar and wind are free and supply is infinite.

2. Utilize our own natural resources (offshore drilling, ANWR) that buys us time (and lowers prices) until renewable energy becomes grid parity or competes with coal.

3. Reduce money going to oil producing countries (terrorist nations) and keep the money within our country (massive trade deficit reduction)..higher GDP,

4. Create millions of jobs (some that include manufacturing)

5. Allow people to be producers of energy in addition to consumers of it (HUGE transformation)..imagine the income change when Joe Consumer can sell power back to the grid while he's working at his job

6. Renewable energy technologies can be licensed to other countries...instead of buying oil, we can sell our own "oil" to other countries.

7. Profits generated by renewable energy companies (instead of foreign countries) can be put back into R&D and the economy.....the money stays here in the U.S.

The Land of Eco-Opportunity

U.K Creates Smart Meter Mandate

The U.K. Government announced yesterday that it will require all households to have smart meters installed over the next decade.

Announcing the mandatory smart meters roll-out, Lord Hunt said: “This is a major step forward; no other country in the world has moved to an electricity and gas smart meter roll-out on this scale.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Verizon Sees Physical World Connection With 700 Megahertz Spectrum

Physical World Connection can be static or dynamic.

From Technology Review
Verizon Sees All Kinds Of Devices Connect

"It's about connecting any- and everything that could be connected," Verizon VP Tony Lewis said at the Mobile Internet World Conference.

In addition to cell phones, Lewis expects to see an explosion of devices that connect to cellular networks, such as industrial machinery and home appliances.

He talked about home health monitors that might track, for example, whether an elderly person is taking medicine at prescribed intervals and then notify family members via the wireless network if a dose is missed.

He also talked about home appliances that would automatically send for a repair person if a key part fails, or order new supplies, such as groceries, when they run out.

What Happens When Electric Motors Go Green?

Each year billions of dollars and electricity are wasted from electric motors electricity that can only run at 2 speeds, ON or OFF.

Their inability to adjust power to varying loads, makes them one of the biggest “wasters” of electricity.eSave

Improving motor efficiency is a huge and the easiest to implement untapped “green resource” and represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

Power Efficiency has developed a patented and patent-pending technology platform, called E-Save Technology™, which has been demonstrated in independent testing to improve the efficiency of electric motors by up to 35% in appropriate applications.

Electric motors consume over 25% of the electricity in the U.S., and many operate inefficiently.

Power Efficiency is also developing a new product based on E-Save Technology™ for the tens of millions of small motors found in applications such as residential air conditioning, pool pumps and clothes dryers.

The company is working with manufacturers to incorporate this technology directly into new motors and appliances.

Read our complete report on how Electric Motors Go Green