Over the summer, Clarion Events, owner and producer of North American energy events, hatched a plan to re-create the tradeshow experience virtually. The idea was to deliver the same high-quality content, networking, and business-to-business matchmaking experience that its beloved live and in-person annual events offer the energy industry but do it all online.
In September, the Plus Series, DISTRIBUTECH+ and POWERGEN+, was launched. With a new theme each month, each event offers attendees live and interactive conference sessions plus the ability to connect with other attendees, set up meetings, browse new products, participate in matchmaking, and watch (or re-watch) any of the sessions that they may have missed. For example, the DISTRIBUTECH+ September theme was Utility of the Future and offered in-depth sessions on how utilities are reducing carbon in an uncertain world, engaging with customers in innovative ways, and partnering with cities on smart city initiatives.
“In order to re-create the tradeshow experience virtually, we knew we needed to launch one single digital platform that would serve as the location of the virtual event,” explained Liz Irving, Executive Vice President – Head of Marketing, Technology & Customer Experience at Clarion.
Today, less than two months in, there are more than 1,000 members of that virtual DISTRIBUTECH+ community and over 1,600 of the POWERGEN+ community. And they grow larger every day.
“As the platforms have developed quickly, our teams have worked to deeply understand how we can make this transition to digital easier, provide more support — both technical and service — to customers, and focus our marketing on not only awareness of digital but also engagement within the platforms we use. Keeping your customer’s voice heard from concept through execution is important,” added Irving.
“We’ve always delivered content digitally via our websites POWER-GRID.com, RenewableEnergyWorld.com, POWER-ENG.com, HydroReview.com as well as our standalone webcasts,” explained Teresa Hansen, VP of Content for Clarion Energy. “But putting together a full virtual series with keynotes and a large group of utility speakers — getting everyone set up on the platform and trained — has been quite an undertaking,” she added.
Sponsors have also been quick to respond to the opportunity to participate in a digital event. In particular, the November series on resiliency has seen a lot of interest from companies who have solutions for utilities that need to up their game when it comes to vegetation management, disaster coordination, mobile workforce management, weather tracking and more.
“We were delighted when ABB and IBM took major sponsorships in our series,” said Stephanie Kolodziej, Portfolio Director, adding, “and we’re equally pleased to see some new names and faces come onboard.”
To date, the following companies are partners to the plus series: ABB, AiDash, Clean Power Research, Clevest, EnergyHub, IEEE Xplore, infor, Jupiter Systems, PrecisionHawk, RAD, Screaming Power, Telit, and TransUnion.
The organizers fully expect the platform to continue to grow over the next 12 months. And while it won’t ever replace the live and in-person DISTRIBUTECH International event, Clarion believes that DISTRIBUTECH+ will serve as a nice compliment to it going forward.
Renewables, Energy Storage and How Utilities are Planning for a Sustainable Grid
October 28, 2020
Welcoming Address 9:55 AM -10:00 AM CST
Speakers: Stephanie Kolodziej, Portfolio Director, North American Energy at Clarion Events
Teresa Hansen, Vice President, Content at Clarion Events
Keynote: American Renewable Energy in the Time of COVID
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM CST
Speaker: Greg Wetstone, CEO, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Best Practices for Distributed Solar and Storage Programs and Interconnections
11:30 AM – 12:15 PM CST
Speakers: Alan Saunders, Clean Power Research
Ben Cuozzo, New York Power Authority
Jeff Cook, NREL Strategic Energy Analysis Center
An Overview and Analysis of DER Management Software Technologies including DERMS, VPP Management Systems and DER Analytics
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM CST
Speakers: Aakriti Gupta, EnergyHub
Brett Feldman, Guidehouse
Paul Wassink, National Grid
Modular Energy Management Solutions Increase EV Charging Capacity While Mitigating Grid Impact
2:30 PM – 3:15 PM CST
Speakers: Allen Austin, ABB
Tim Fyre, ABB
October 29, 2020
Keynote: The Road Ahead for Energy Storage
10:00 AM – 10:15 AM CST
Speaker: Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO, Energy Storage Association (ESA)
How Smart Utilities are Using IoT to Enable Smart Cities and Plan for a Sustainable Future
1:30 PM – 2:15 PM CST
Speakers: Curt Kirkeby, Avista
Pete Westlake, OUC
Renee Cinar, SCE
Mark Your Calendars: Future Plus Series Events
- November 12-13, 2020: Grid Resiliency: Planning and Response
- December 16, 2020: Virtual Initiate Start-Up Program
- December 17-18, 2020: Cybersecurity and Digital Grids
- January 2021: Grid Modernization and Energy Storage
- March 2021: Digitalization and Data Analytics
- May 2021: Distribution Automation and Outage Management