Direct Energy both sponsored and helped judge the Startup Showcase competition at SXSW Eco, held at the Austin Convention Center October 10 -12, 2016. Inside the exhibit hall, Direct Energy debuted a new augmented reality experience that shows products and solutions for residential and commercial customers.
Garrett Hester, director of Centrica Connected Homes North America and Hive, served as a judge in the 2016 Energy Startup Showcase competition. On Monday, October 10, Hester served on a panel of judges for the Energy Startup Showcase. Eight energy-related startups were given five minutes to explain their company and how they tackle today’s energy challenges. The startups addressed topics including: community solar projects, water heater energy usage, and thermal energy storage.
After some deliberation, the judges declared a tie between Xstream Trucking and SkyCool Systems. Xstream Trucking was chosen for its use of aerodynamics to create transportation efficiency, and SkyCool Systems was selected for offering cooling efficiency by harnessing the cold of space.
Xstream Trucking uses aerodynamics and IoT offerings for trucks and trains to reduce fuel use and emissions. The company created the GapGorilla device that sits in the gap between the cab and trailer of an 18-wheel truck. The device expands to close the gap when the truck reaches speeds over 40 mph, and will contract to be flat at slower speeds so the truck can easily turn. It creates a more streamlined vehicle, which will increase fuel efficiency by eliminating the additional drag.
Skycool Systems developed rooftop panels that can cool fluids as much as 25 degrees below the ambient air temperature, with zero evaporative losses. The system uses technology paired with radiative cooling to lower temperatures in buildings. Research has shown that the system can reduce the energy consumption of a medium-sized office building by 30 to 50 percent.
More than 400 attendees of SXSW Eco 2016 stopped by the Direct Energy booth inside the exhibit hall and tried out the new augmented reality experience. Visitors explored some of Direct Energy’s home and business energy solutions by holding an iPad up to the large images of a home and a commercial building and clicking on icons that appear on the iPad. Some of the residential solutions featured are the Hive active lighting kit and Direct Your Energy. On the business side, visitors learned more about Panoramic Power, solar energy, and Demand Response.
Were you at SXSW Eco 2016 in Austin, TX? Share your memories of the event in the comments!