Spring 2013 TED Conference

Our apologies for being silent about Spring 2013 TED Conference that happened 17 days ago in its hometown Long Beach, CA. We’ve just been busy a little bit, however, TED Conference is one of those events that cannot be missed or left uncovered.

4134981697_c5823b18d8Photo by matteopenzo

What is TED?

TED is a non-profit organization that nearly 30 years is bringing together the world’s greatest thinkers and doers. They present their ideas that are definitely worth spreading to more than thousand people who attend the event. TED Conference is the main event of the year, so if you consider attending it next year, you better hurry up, as it usually sells out a year in advance. But if tickets are far out of your budget, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to attend. There is no live streaming, however, all talks are recorded and shared on TED’s website within short period of time.

Spring 2013 TED Conference Overview

5 days and more than 70 speakers made this spring event an unforgettable one. People from 3 different worlds – Technology, Entertainment and Design gathered together to deliver their views and ideas on very diverse topics: from poverty and mental health issues in Ghana to eco innovations and school learning, etc. One blog post won’t be enough to mention all great research topics and presentations that have been discussed at the event. However, there was one special talk, so inspiring and brilliant, that it won TED 2013 Prize.  “To build a school in the cloud” was a wish of the TED’s prizewinner Sugata Mitra – an educational researcher, the author of “Hole In the Wall” experiments. His idea to design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world might change the entire education system to something very different and unusual.

In the meantime, while listening to great thinkers about their views on “future everything”, you can contribute right now by learning and expanding your knowledge on everyday basis. Our eco-friendly tip for you: try to take maximum from everything in life – college, professional internship or a presentation you attended few days ago. And remember that learning is a lifetime process.

LEDs For Retail Lighting

Lighting makes a big difference to your customers and to how well your products are displayed, and every good retailer knows that things are more likely to sell if they’re well-displayed. LED accent lighting is a smart choice for displaying your product.

LED accent lighting is cost-effective; it may have a larger initial cost, but it will pay for itself. Other lightbulbs output most of their energy as heat; up to 90% for conventional bulbs, and 80% for CFLs. LEDs remain much cooler and are more efficient; most of the energy output of an LED is light instead of heat. Because LEDs use much less energy and are more energy-efficient, you will also see a savings on your energy bills.

LED accent lighting also retains its efficiency at a wide range of temperatures, making it ideal for use in freezer case displays and outdoors. And because they are dimmable and more controllable than fluorescent lighting, you can set them on timers and sensors that activate when a customer walks by, saving energy and creating an ambience. LEDs also are much cooler than halogen or fluorescent bulbs, avoiding problems if your customer happens to come in contact with the bulb itself when reaching for a product.

LED accent lighting is more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient than traditional fluorescent lighting, and emits a more pleasing, “purer” light, which makes your products and displays look better to your customers.

Commute, Don’t Pollute

The most common tip for “being green” is to carpool or take some sort of public transit to work. There are lots of obvious benefits – saving gas (a savings of roughly 223 gallons per year, or $865 at Ann Arbor’s gas prices today – 3.88/gallon), paying less for car maintenance, and reducing your carbon footprint by 4800 pounds of CO2 per year! (Source: GreenPerl)

I’ve been greening up my commute since I began the eco-friendly internship, and so far, it’s been a pretty wonderful experience. Ann Arbor is very fortunate to have the Ann Arbor Transit Authority, the local bus system, which is, for a smaller city like ours, very thoughtfully planned, thorough, and easy to navigate. There are stops almost everywhere around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and you can go almost everywhere; both universities, both downtowns, and lots of shopping and recreation.

There are a few other benefits, too. I drive a lot to my other job, but I notice driving is stressful, especially around rush hour. When I take The Ride downtown, I don’t have to worry about fighting Ann Arbor rush hour traffic or the sometimes-confusing one-way streets, and where I can and can’t park.

And speaking of parking, not having to figure out where the cheapest parking is or how much it costs is a big plus. I’m told there is a $4-per-day lot somewhere, but if it happens to be out, I’d have to pay 1.50/hr in most of the lots, even more in the decks!

AATA lets me enjoy the commute to work (and have more time to beat Angry Birds…) instead of stressing out on my commute. Plus, it’s cheaper, and most importantly, greener.

Virtual Conference; more than just a green way to network!

Not in a million years would I have fathomed receiving digital marketing advice from David Plouffe, President elect Barack Obama’s campaign manager, let alone be able to ask him questions.  Thanks to the incredible Digital Maketing World conference held by Marketing Profs on April 1st, 2009 I can actually say I have. 

A week ago if I was asked to attend a conference where David Plouffe was to be the guest speaker, despite my interest in it, I would have declined thinking it would be out of my budget to travel to the conference, pay for a hotel, and actually pay the fees to attend the varied events and seminars.  Today, my answer would be different. 

Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World virtual conference allowed everyone and anyone with an interest in digital marketing to attend a conference with some of the leaders in the Digital Marketing industry from the comfort of their own home at no cost.  Platform provider InXpo in conglomeration with Marketing Profs created an online conference that was far beyond any I have been to in person.  The conference included everything from an image of a beautiful convention centre where the conference was being held, to an auditorium where the speakers would present, an exhibit hall where companies could hold their booths, a resource center where you could download information provided by vendors and the event schedule, to a lounge where you could mix and mingle with others attending.

conference

The conference also eliminated the need for vendors and participants to travel to the site.  It eliminated the need for vendors to create elaborate exhibits, print stacks of pamphlets and informational packages, as well as spend money on chotchkies and doodads to give away.  Making it one of the greenest conferences I have attended.

Other benefits to the online aspect included the fact that there was no line up in front of a booth for a chance to have a conversation with a vendor, there was no rush to get a seat at a seminar, or even the awkward conversation about the weather whilst trying to mingle with others around you. 

trade-show-floor1

When you arrived at each booth a chat window would open where you could see all the conversations going on and join in, or ask for a one on one conversation.  There were several representatives at most booths so there was no waitin in line necessary.  Each booth also had ample information for you to look at with links to their websites, blogs, and so on.  Some vendors even went as far as to provide an opportunity to win prizes like an I-Pod or a book to those stopping by.

The auditorium held a scheduled set of speakers who provided visuals to go along with their live podcast as well as a question and answer session to which you could submit your questions via the live chat window, or via e-mail. 

It was an easy to use, entertaining, intriguing event with so much to offer.  Thankfully all the content and resources from the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World virtual conference are still available for 90 days for anyone that missed out.

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

ECO-VERTISING!

More and more corporations are starting to combine their advertising efforts with the trend to go eco-friendly, a relationship known to some as eco-advertising or eco-vertising.  This relationship allows corporations to benefit from advertising about their attitude and interventions in regard to eco-friendly business. 

Despite the message the eco-friendly ads these corporations are sending  many are forgetting that the means through which they are sending them are far from eco-friendly.  Using mass print media such as magazines or newspapers, fliers or billboards all of which require paper, printing, transportation, and numerouse other un-natural and environmentally deterring resources to create.  The big question is, is it the profit margin of this new niche market they are trying to capitalize on or are they really hoping to make a difference? 

Although some corporations unfortunately might be making the choice for the wrong reasons there are many out there that are leading the way in eco-vertising. 

For starters Toyota known today for being one of the leaders in Hybrid cars took their eco-friendly outreach to a whole new level when introducing their 3rd generation Prius at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.  Instead of handing out glossy brochures inside large plastic bags to be carried around the show by as many people as they can get their hands on, they chose to continue to make positive changes by handing out paper cards in the shape of their new car with seeds embedded in them.  When placed in soil and given water and light the seeds in these cards provided beautiful flowers for their audience to remember them by all summer long.  Stepping out of the box and into an eco-friendly mindset Toyota not only lead the way with their eco-friendly car but also stood as one of the eco-vertising leaders at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show!

So how many other ways can a company eco-vertise? 

Curb, a natural media company based in London, UK has answered this question with their unique eco-vertising concepts.  Clean advertising and snow tagging are two out of the many I found interesting in their bag of tricks.

 eco-vertising_clean-ad4eco-vertising_snowtagging2

  • Clean advertising: laser cut stencils are put on surfaces like a pavement and the surface is then cleaned to let the message shine through the dirt and grime.
  • Snow tagging: company logos/messages are branded into the snow for a winter advertising.

Despite the out of the box thinking and unique eco-vertising techniques being developed there are other ways to go green which can start sooner than you think.  One niche that I personally have become a big fan of that is growing exponentially is the use of digital media as a platform for advertising.  It requires nothing but the power of technology that is already on the desktops and palms of your target audience.  Digital media eliminates the need for most (or at least some to start with) print material and provides mass outreach like never before, best of all this method of going green saves you some green at the same time!

Derek Mehraban (CEO, Ingenex Digital Marketing) continues to develop the digital media presence for individuals and businesses so they can eco-vertise to reach their audience.  Mehraban is not only focused on providing an eco-friendly service but like Toyota, he supports this green initiative through other parts of his company.  In Mehraban’s case it is not an eco-friendly pamphlet but a unique eco-friendly internship program that helps interns like myself reduce the carbon footprint on the world.  

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

Environmental Tips on Improving Your Fuel Efficiency

I’m sure most of you have been fighting gas prices throughout the year. Despite the fact that most of us are trying to be more eco-friendly the constant increase in the price of oil has made it extremely tough. In recent weeks however, gas stations have surprised us all and have actually lowered their prices. We’ll see how long that actually lasts though. Hopefully it won’t be short-lived. In the mean time, here are some tips to help make your automobile more fuel efficient:

 

  • Slow down your acceleration time (accelerate 0 to 60 mph in about 15 seconds). The average improvement in fuel economy is about 31%
  • For all you speed racers out there, try driving the speed limit. You’ll save on average 12%.
  • Try using your cruise control more frequently, it can save you an average of 7%
  • If you end up being stuck in traffic or idle for more than one minute turn off your car, it will save you an average of 14%
  • Refuel your vehicle during the evening hours to cut down on the amount of pollution created
  • Try combining your daily errands and activities to the shortest route possible. The heaviest car emissions occur during the first two miles that your car is being driven since the engine is still warming up
  • Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure and get your car alignment checked about every 5,000 miles
  • Keep up on your car maintenance, especially ignition timing, spark plugs and wiring, and idle speed settings
  • Purchas long-lasting, fuel-efficient radial tires
  • Avoid quick starts and stops
  • Use anti-freeze that doesn’t contain ethylene glycol
  • Avoid idling your car for more than 30 seconds
  • Keep the air and fuel filters clean

 

In addition to these check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Vehicle Guide. All you have to do is fill in your car make, model, year and state and it will show you your cars fuel efficiency, air pollution score, greenhouse gas score and more. You can also look up and compare what the “greenest” vehicles are.

 

 

Driving is an essential part of most of our daily lives. Although it is hard to cut back on our daily activities, we must come to realize that when there is an opportunity for us to take public transportation or ride a bike we should use it. Although we rely on cars to fulfill a majority of our needs, we also rely on the environment to survive. Without the environment, we are non-existent thus making cars un-important.

Carbon Dioxide: Omiting the Footprints

Every day, the U.S. emits the equivalent of about 118 pounds of carbon dioxide per resident. That’s almost 20 metric tons per year which is about five times the number per citizen of the world, according to the International Energy Agency. Now you may be wondering what the importance of carbon dioxide is or why I am even taking the time to discuss it. Well, here is why. Recently, I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that discussed a new concept called carbon foot printing. This article peaked my interest and caused me to do further research on this topic.

Carbon footprints are the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are emitted into the air when goods are made, shipped, stored and then used by the consumer. It has been discovered that many products’ global-warming impact depends more on how products are made than on how they are actually used. With that being said, the easiest way to cut carbon emissions would be to buy a product less, or use it in a way that is more conservational.

Referring back to the Wall Street Journal article that I discovered, I came across some very interesting points that would be good for any consumer to know. The article compared some everyday items and calculated their carbon footprints.  The article revealed that for every mile a car travels, the average U.S. car emits about one pound of carbon dioxide (annually that’s about five tons of carbon dioxide per year). 86% of those emissions came from actually using the car as opposed to the 4% that was emitted from making and assembling the car. This proves that consumers can lower their carbon footprints by buying a car with better fuel economy and not driving it as much. Typically, the cars with better gas mileage had less carbon emissions as opposed to bigger cars with worse gas mileage. It has also been suggested that another way to minimize carbon foot printing is to keep your car as long as possible since junking a car and manufacturing a new one produces pollution.

An unlikely product that most people would not think gives off carbon foot printing is none other than shoes. Timberland boots, usually used for hiking, can range anywhere from 22 pounds to 220 pounds of carbon emissions. Not only boots, but flip flops tend to have carbon footprints of 22 pounds to 44 pounds.  Normal shoes typically give off about 66 pounds to 132 pounds whereas hiking boots emit anywhere between 154 to 198 pounds. Another thing that drives up carbon emissions in shoes is leather. The average dairy cow produces an amount of greenhouse gas equivalent to four tons of carbon dioxide annually. Most of that is due to the greenhouse gas, methane. A cow’s multiple stomachs produces lots of methane which is 25 times as damaging to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. 

Even something like the type of laundry detergent you use can effect carbon emissions. For a low-carbon load of laundry use liquid detergent instead of powder and wash your clothes in cool water. In addition to this you should hang dry your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer.  Not drying your clothes in a dryer will cut carbon foot printing 4.4 pounds per load. Solid capsules of detergent have the highest carbon foot printing. Powder has a somewhat lower footprint than capsules; however, liquid still has the lowest of them all. This is mainly due to the fact that making solid detergent uses more energy than making the liquid detergent.

 

A recent study by a Dallas based dairy called National Dairy Holdings, found that the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk in a plastic jug is either 6.19 pounds or 7.59 pounds. The difference is due to what kind of cases the jugs are placed in during the transportation process from the plant to the distribution center. Plastic cases yield more carbon-dioxide emissions than cardboard cases. It has also been found that the single biggest chunk of emissions from milk production comes from all the action in a cow’s stomach.

Beer is a product most college students are pretty familiar with; however, I doubt they are aware of how much carbon dioxide a six pack emits. It has been found that a six-pack alone would release about seven pounds of carbon footprints.  The refrigeration of beer at its stores is where most of the emissions come from. This creates a problem since most stores refuse to keep most of its beer out of the refrigerator for fear of losing customers. The other alternative to this is enclosing the beer with clear doors as opposed to having open beer chillers. Now the store’s biggest concern is whether or not thirsty customers feel like making the extra effort to open the door.

So as you can see, carbon emissions are found everywhere in some of the various products we use on a daily or weekly basis. There isn’t much we can do to avoid this; however, there are things we can do to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. Once again, preservation of the environment lies in the hands of the consumer.

 

Looking to save Money at the Gas Pump? Here’s How!

Gas Discounts for Cash Purchases

In an attempt to maintain profit levels, gas stations have started to offer discounts of up to 10 cents a gallon for drivers willing to pay with cash. These discounts are being offered as a way to increase traffic to convenience stores attached to gas stations as well as to limit the transaction fee associated with credit card transactions. By paying cash, consumers are able to skip out on the transaction fee that is normally charged to them to use a credit card.

For more on Credit v. Cash, visit CNN.com