Technology roadmaps for the future
From 3D TVs to wind turbines, new technologies seem to pop up every day. Innovation, research and development, and commercialization of creative ideas characterize our era. “This is the technology era,” said Associate Professor Tugral Daim at Wednesday’s Sustainable Solutions Seminar. “We want to avoid being slaves to technology, so we have to manage it.”As a professor of engineering and technology management, Daim has become an expert in long-term technological planning. Using “technology roadmaps,” Daim helps companies, governments, and communities prioritize the needs of technology—improving inter-agency communication while integrating technological considerations into products and services.
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the utilities industry invests the second lowest amount of funds (next to the wood products industry) for industrial research and development. In an effort to address this shortfall, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) were tasked with creating a collaborative energy efficient plan for the Northwest.
Working with Professor Daim, the task force brought together representatives from utility companies, universities, government agencies and research labs from across the region to create the Northwest Energy Efficiency Technology Roadmap. The team identified about a hundred R&D programs that are needed to link current technology with goals for future energy efficiency. They also identified gaps in communicating information about the technology to the public, noting the importance of marketing efforts in bolstering public knowledge.
Having plotted a path for reaching energy goals, Northwest utility companies can invest in informed R&D programs that will harness technology to best suit the needs of the regional community.
photo: flickr CC/sam_churchill