The arrival of green tech was all the rage at this year’s CES. Much of the â€œgreening” of the technology world is by necessity to meet stringent manufacturing standards and recycling goals. Yet the industry is now estimated sadly to cause more carbon pollution than the aviation sector. So gadget makers are joining the green movement already sweeping the rest of the corporate world. The new push in part reflects pressure from environmentalists, consumers, and big customers for the industry to clean up its act.
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Worldwide, according to Gartner, some 3.2 billion external power supplies will be manufactured in 2008. The typical home or office has more than a dozen of these power transformers â€“ the heavy black â€œwall warts” or â€œbricks” common to device power cords that litter the floor under too many desks. Too much precious current is wasted as â€œphantom power” â€“ when chargers are hot but their devices are either fully charged or absent. As every consumer knows, each adapter is physically unique — and discarded every time a device is replaced. For the planet, it’s a situation that is extremely costly, inconvenient, and a growing source of material waste and pollution.
To help combat this menace, Green Plug debuted a new electronics component chip â€“ called the Green PlugTM Universal Power Protocol (UPP). The chip enables real-time collaboration between electronic devices and their power sources for the first time, using a secure, digital protocol. Green Plug is aiming the chip at consumer electronics manufacturers, residential and commercial builders, automotive, aircraft, and power tool manufacturers who have begun embedding the chip in their new products. Green Plug believes the time has come for a reusable, multi-port power supply that can provide a universal power interface for all electronic products. The company is also taking a stand for setting a worldwide DC power standard.
Green Plug Leading Fight for Device Power Standards
Green Plug was also one of the featured companies at the popular Lunch@Piero’s event held annually during CES. At the event, Green Plug discussed its leadership in the Alliance for Universal Power Supplies, an industry standards group working to develop a universal power interface for electronic products that use external power supplies. The company joined consumer electronics manufacturers, federal and state government leaders, power utilities and non-governmental organizations in advocating for a more environmentally friendly solution. Green Plug’s founder, Frank Paniagua, Jr. was cofounder of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), which is still a leader in helping global device manufacturers align their interests through standards.
However, due to a lack of both standards and government oversight over DC power, the average U.S. consumer is now burdened by dozens of device-specific external power supplies that work only with the client devices for which they were designed and packaged. A recent study of U.S. consumers by research firm Forrester Research revealed that 12 percent, or 25 million U.S. adults, are willing to spend more for gadgets that use less energy or employ environmentally conscious design. These â€œbright green” buyers represent the vanguard of an emerging consumer electronics segment and will be sure to attract innovative green products from manufacturers and technology companies in the coming years.
One Plug, One Planet
As for Green Plug’s future plans, its highly efficient, stylish DC power hub enabled with the UPP chip will be able to simultaneously power multiple devices, each with its own specific voltage and power requirements. All cables and connectors will be uniform, so, they work with any device. As an intelligent power source, its digital communications will support advanced features such as device monitoring, control and power optimization. It would eliminate â€œphantom power” which is wasted when chargers are connected to the wall but their devices are either fully charged or absent. Moreover, consumers will be able to configure power supplies to charge devices during off-peak hours to ease demand on the power grid during peak periods. Best of all, the amount of solid waste that ends up in landfills will be reduced as consumers hang on to universal chargers for use with the next generation of devices long after the first generation have become obsolete.
As Frank Paniagua, Jr., Founder and CEO of Green Plug, explains, â€œGreen Plug is committed to what we call â€˜one plug, one planet.’ We believe that a growing number of manufacturers will adopt new power standards to herald global reductions in energy and material waste from consumer electronics and battery-powered equipment. This is not only because governments will mandate more eco-friendly power supplies, but because doing so is financially beneficial to them and to their customers.”
Seth Socolow, VP Business Development, Green Plug
Seth Socolow brings to GreenPlug a track record of creating and selling products that change how people use technology in their everyday lives. Socolow was most recently CEO for Telling Stories, Inc., a start-up in the user created content space. In 2000-2001, he served as the London-based European Marketing Manager for AltaVista, where he launched 17 country-specific search engines; he originally joined the company in Palo Alto to manage its Babelfish product. Prior to that, he was Product Manager at Intuit for the UK and German versions of Quicken 2000. Socolow is fluent in French, Spanish and German. He holds a B.A. in International Studies from Vassar College and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.