Smart Energy International Conference Preview

Posted by Macie Schreibman on September 30, 2011
Smart Energy International Conference Preview
Ron Zimmer, President and CEO, CABA.

The Smart Energy International Conference is taking place October 24-26 in San Francisco, California. Billed as the only global industry event where all smart grid stakeholders gather to discuss the future of the industry from the perspective of utilities, the conference also has a line-up of speakers that include community planners, architects, and energy analysts, to name a few.

Home Energy reached out and had a conversation with one of the speakers, Ron Zimmer, President and CEO of The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA).

Below is our Q&A:

HE: What are you speaking about at the Smart Energy International Conference?

RZ: I will be speaking about the organization's recent research project surrounding energy as a managed service. CABA's research found that the concept of energy as a managed service is appealing to the great majority of North American homeowners. The majority of consumers surveyed in CABA's study said that they would consider purchasing energy as a managed service if it was available at a reasonable price. The research was conducted for CABA by POCO Labs, a management consultancy which specializes in strategic consulting and was sponsored by several organizations, including: 3M, Bell Canada, Best Buy, Direct Energy, Freescale Semiconductor, Honeywell International, Ingersoll Rand/Trane /Schlage, Intel Corporation, Landis+Gyr, Microsoft Corporation, TELUS, Tyco Electronics and Whirlpool Corporation. I will also speak about general trends and provide analysis about the emerging home energy ecosystem which includes smart meters, home energy gateways, home area networks, and a wide array of new smart grid accessible appliances and devices.

HE: Did you attend the conference last year? 

RZ: This is first time I am attending this specific event, but I did attend Spintelligent’s Metering America 2011 conference in Dallas earlier this year.

HE: What are you looking forward to most at the conference?

RZ: I am most excited about taking this opportunity to network. CABA's mandate includes reaching out to its members and the general industry at large at every opportunity in a bid to expand the marketplace for digital home products and services.

HE: What should attendees expect and why is this conference different than others?

RZ: I'm excited to attend and participate at Smart Energy International 2011 because this is the only event I'm aware of in North America that is dedicated to addressing smart home issues from a utility viewpoint. This will allow attendees to hear the unique perspectives of utilities, appliance manufacturers, and retailers on the latest developments in the industry and understand the role smart homes play in the wider smart grid ecosystem.

HE: What exciting things are on the horizon for the home energy industry?

RZ: I expect greater investments in the home energy management segment of the marketplace as a result of the drive toward a next generation utility network or "smart grid.” For consumers, in-home energy displays and control devices will naturally bring more awareness and visibility to the consumption of energy. The broadband network will probably be the most suitable method to deliver these features while still utilizing the utility meter network for pricing, demand response and consumption reporting. I predict that utilities will work with telcos, and enlist them along with customer premise equipment manufacturers to extend a new type of energy management ecosystem to the home. In the near term, through retail marketed, telco-installed energy management gateways in the home that communicate with smart meters, consumers will be able to control "smart" light switches, thermostats and a growing number of appliances such as refrigerators from tablets or smartphones while on the road or at home.

To learn more about The Continental Automated Buildings Association, visit

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