Views from the intersection of technology, the environment and business.
Author: Heather Clancy
Heather’s articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. She is editorial director for GreenBiz.com, and was the launch editor of FORTUNE Data Sheet, a daily dose of enterprise technology news.
What discourages homeowners from investing in solar power generation technology? Cost is certainly the most obvious obstacle, but there’s also a certain snobbery involved. Seriously, most solar panels aren’t all the aesthetically pleasing. No matter how much my contractor-husband appreciates the idea of clean energy, he winces when he sees them.
The good news: Elon Musk, the entrepreneurial billionaire behind both electric vehicle company Tesla and clean energy installer SolarCity, hopes to change that perception with a new SolarCity product that embeds the generation technology right into the roof tiles. The not-so-good news: Musk conveniently neglected to mention when his so-called solar roof will be available.
Solar roofs (aka “building integrated photovoltaic” technologies) aren’t a new idea: more high-profile new buildings are including BIPV features such as the San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, California; and the flagship Apple store in San Francisco’s Union Square, which includes PV panels that are integrated into the roof design. But there’s something to be said for brand recognition, something that both SolarCity and Tesla have managed to generate.
Doing some Friday afternoon story-boarding when I came across an article proclaiming that three-quarters of all Internet use will be mobile by 2017. (That’s next year, folks. I know, it caught me by surprise, too.)
Which got me wondering how true that prediction really can be. While I certainly spend a big chunk of my personal “screen time” on either my smartphone or e-whatever, my husband is in the basement right now streaming a movie using my broadband connection. I would be willing to bet that at least half of my neighborhood is doing the same thing. (We’re a very sleepy town, I admit.)
The data in question, which comes from a media agency, Zenith, was collected to support the case for mobile advertising within the apps used most frequently on mobile devices — social networks and navigation software (aka maps) among them. While I certainly agree with that focus, there’s no way that I’m going to convince my husband that he should stare at a teeny-tiny tablet to watch one of the action flicks that he prefers. Nor do I believe that my binge-watching friends are putting their eyes to strain.
Given the bandwidth-hogging nature of streaming video and the couch-potato tendencies of binge-watchers, I really wonder how accurate that three-quarters number can be.