Recap BAE Q3: IoT, Technology, & Innovation

- Michael Ramsey, AEG Fellow

Boston’s Q3 IoT Series has become one of AEG’s most successful events. With a full house at Holland & Knight, energy stakeholders discussed specific problems related to advancing the Internet of Things (IoT) for the City of Boston. AEG founder H.G. was so pleased with the results, he shared a public thank you note for the attendees, highlighting what he appreciated most and what he hoped for moving forward.

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Following the standard AEG approach to produce meaningful results, stakeholders:

  • Identified applications of IoT that would have the most meaningful impact for Boston;

  • Voted on discussion leader presentations regarding what they thought was the most pressing issue inhibiting IoT advancement;

  • And produced a practical 1-year action plan to address this issue at the 3, 6, and 12-month marks.

Joe Christo, Program Director at the Boston Mayor’s Office, highlighted the many programs that the city of Boston has implemented to responsibly manage its growth. Joe stressed that it is not only about driving the growth and implementation of technology, but also filling the gap in citizen engagement. According to him, genuinely engaging Boston residents in the planning process will ensure an IoT system’s profound and enduring value.

  Galen Nelson, MassCEC

Galen Nelson, MassCEC

Senior Director Galen Nelson of MassCEC discussed the need for IoT development in reaching Boston’s goals, citing a few major problems that have yet to be resolved. Galen argued the IoT interoperability tech is available, but that the market regulations lag behind such advancement. The problem is identifying the best way to get this IoT tech into the system and who is best fit to lead the effort.

David Funk, Enel X’s Senior Manager, was in agreement with Galen. He added that IoT technology is available for deployment at a wide scale, but that market challenges inhibit it. David claimed the greatest challenge is the simplification of IoT so that consumers better engage in the market; he proposed the need for innovative solutions to reduce complexity.

  David Funk, Enel X

David Funk, Enel X

  Carlos Nouel, National Grid

Carlos Nouel, National Grid

Carlos Nouel, VP of New Energy Solutions at the National Grid, echoed the opinions of the other presenters: the technology is available, but getting it to scale requires turning the customer into an active stakeholder. This is not the only problem for IoT deployment, but is a critical one. Carlos suggested that we need to engage customers by making IoT applications ‘sexy.’

  AEG Founder H.G. Chissell presenting the voting results

AEG Founder H.G. Chissell presenting the voting results

Stakeholders voted on problem statements. Carlos’ question caught the attention of the audience: “How do we make energy IoT sexy for the everyday consumer?” This question revolves around a central point that all the discussion leaders made; this technology adoption rate needs to be accelerated from the consumer end. In order to do so, the system design and products need to be consumer-oriented. Not only does it need to be appealing, but it also must not be a burden in terms of drastically changing behavior or business practices.

Following team discussions, action plans for effectively engaging customers at the city scale were presented and voted upon. The winning action plan was presented by Michelle Bebrin from Navigant, who explained her team’s proposed ‘ABC Plan:’

A - Assess Boston Climate Action Plan to identify connectivity issues among stakeholders (3 months)

B - Build “IoT Innovation Nodes” map and criteria for advancing solutions to top needs (6 months)

C - Catapult winning work plans for deployment (12 months)

These team members earned not only recognition among the stakeholder group, but also the opportunity to attend the Energy Blockchain Consortium, Horizon 18, and the leadership opportunity to spearhead this action plan.

Stay tuned for next year’s IoT Series to see how progress has been made and the lessons learned. Next up on Advanced Energy Group’s Quarterly Series is Transportation and Mobility, with Boston’s dinner and breakfast taking place on November 14 and 15.

Advanced Energy Group is a stakeholder member-supported organization committed to developing and delivering advanced energy policies and solutions in key cities. Stakeholder sessions are by invitation only.  For details of our programming please visit:

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