I had the chance to attend DistribuTECH in San Diego, CA this past week. DistribuTECH is billed as the utility industry's leader in smart grid conference and exposition. End Point was present at the conference on behalf of Silver Spring Networks. Silver Spring Networks contracted with us to provide a Liquid Galaxy installation for their exhibit.
The Liquid Galaxy did its job from what I could tell. The exhibit was consistently surrounded with conference goers both interested in listening and watching the tours that were being presented as well as wanting to see what the Liquid Galaxy was all about. This was the first time I had seen the Liquid Galaxy and was quite impressed with how well it worked. I saw many people moving their bodies in sync with what was being displayed on the screen, showing that they felt immersed while within the galaxy. One gentleman knelt down while attempting to look under a graph that was being presented on the screen. This same person had returned to the exhibit several times, bringing colleagues back each time to "show off" what he had found.
I spent some time on the conference floor, checking out what was being displayed and seeing how others were getting the attention of the attendees. I could not find anything that compared to the Liquid Galaxy in both wow factor and usability. The fine folks at Silver Spring Networks also seemed impressed with the reaction they were receiving.
One product that I found interesting while walking the floor was a large unit that would freeze itself at night, when power is less expensive, the draw on the grid is less, and it is cooler outside and then use the ice as a coolant to be pumped into the AC unit during the day resulting in a reduction of cost and energy usage to cool a building.
I also took a look at the Silver Spring Networks products on display. One that interested me was their home portal that allowed customers that had Silver Spring smart meters installed by their utility to visit a web portal and view several things including their current usage and compare their usage to that of their neighbors. I can see how someone concerned with the environment could use this information to lessen their power usage.
Keep an eye out here for a few blog posts from Adam on his experience with tour development for the Liquid Galaxy.