October 29, 2015

How Social Media is Accelerating R&D

by Ric Jackson

A recent article published by the DOE’s EERE Building Technologies office cites complexity, customization and cost as the three greatest barriers to technology integration in commercial buildings. The article goes on to describe efforts to overcoming these barriers – and one in particular caught my eye.
Crowdsourced R&D.
The premise behind crowdsourcing is to bring a group of people together to help solve a common problem, usually via the Web. The cloud, social media and collaboration tools have all made information sharing so much simpler, creating efficiencies and conversations among some of the world’s top brands from a variety of industries – and today that includes the government.
The EERE and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the largest DOE science and energy laboratory, have been pioneering the use of crowdsourcing to “identify pathways to connect smart people and difficult problems” in an effort to reduce energy consumption.
In March, the duo launched Ideascale, a crowdsourcing site challenging students, companies and designers to develop solutions related to equipment and appliances, sensors and controls and envelope technologies. More than 300 people responded and the top ideas were celebrated and awarded at this year’s Industry Day.
The first go was so successful, that a second crowdsourcing initiative has been launched called JUMP with A.O. Smith, GE and United Technologies issuing challenges related to residential water heaters, refrigerators and HVAC systems. Like the first one, innovators have a finite amount of time to respond with the call for ideas closing on Dec. 16. Learn More.
Together, the possibilities are endless.
This is proof that now more than ever advancing building technologies is a team sport. The DOE has some aggressive goals in terms of reducing energy consumption, so they are amassing the top companies and the top minds to ensure progress is made.
It’s great to see social media being used to push the boundaries of R&D – and the DOE is at the forefront of it all. And we’re already seeing the positive results of collaboration. Have you seen the 3D-printed house? I’m excited to see what comes next.


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Posted: October 29, 2015 by Ric Jackson Filed under: