WiTricity and Qualcomm Add Their Perspectives to Smart Energy Forum, Coming June 8

5/4/10Follow @bvbigelow

As the editor of San Diego Xconomy, I’m as thrilled as the next journalist to say I have electrifying news—and this time it’s almost literally true.

In planning the Xconomy forum on smart energy, now just five weeks away, we’ve asked some of San Diego’s leading luminaries in energy innovation to discuss what they’re doing to develop smarter ways of using energy. We’ve recruited strategic thinkers, such as Terry Mohn of Balance Energy, leading visionaries like Calit2 director Larry Smarr, and startup CEOs like Achates Power’s David Johnson, to enlighten us with their ideas and views, as well as their technologies and startup business plans.

Today, I am pleased to report that the closing keynote speaker of the afternoon will be Eric Giler, CEO of Watertown, MA-based WiTricity, who is overseeing the development of technology that transmits electricity without wires. As I said, it’s electrifying. The technology was conceived by MIT assistant professor of physics Marin Soljačić, who won a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2008 for his work in this field. WiTricity was named the emerging innovative company of 2009 by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and it won the audience choice award among startup energy companies in Boston last June at XSITE, the Xconomy Summit on Innovation, Technology, and Entreprneurship. Today, WiTricity is pursuing a host of applications, such as wireless recharging of cell phones, laptops, and other mobile consumer electronics. But another prospective application—recharging electric vehicles—could have major ramifications throughout Southern California.

In addition to WiTricity, we have landed Qualcomm Senior Director of Business Development Manuel Jaime, who will give a case study presentation on technology that Qualcomm is developing to help electric vehicles communicate with the power grid.

As I mentioned last month, when we first announced the Xconomy Forum event on Smart Energy, many of the innovation clusters that already exist in San Diego specialize in technologies that will be needed to help make people smarter about using energy. By providing a glimpse at innovations that lie just over the horizon, the smart energy forum offers an opportunity for people with expertise in IT, wireless communications, data warehousing, and software analytics to understand how and where these new opportunities are emerging.

Our Xconomy Forum is set for the afternoon of June 8 in the Calit2 auditorium at UCSD, and tomorrow is the final day you can buy discounted tickets at the super-saver rate of $75. If the previous Xconomy Forum on San Diego Life Sciences 2030 was any indication, tickets for the 200-seat auditorium will sell out well before the event. Additional information and online registration is available here, and maps and directions to Calit2 can be downloaded here.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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