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Clean Energy Technologist Dr. Joe Nyangon on Unlocking Innovation and Polycentric Climate Renaissance

Erica Johnson



Climate change and the Fourth Industrial Revolution—a transformation in which the physical, biological, and digital worlds merge—are two global megatrends of the 21stcenturyshaping the future of economies, business, industry, and society. As a result, both the private and public sectors can play a vital role in understanding and addressing these megatrends.

However, while much about the future of the earth’s climate and the disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are still uncertain, several facts are incontrovertible. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen steadily since scientists began taking measurements in 1957.

Meanwhile, the scope, scale, and complexity of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and solutions needed to mitigate the climate crisis are unlike anything humankind has experienced before.

Capital markets are increasingly treating this challenge as a systemic financial risk that requires new and converging technologies to de-risk assets and mitigates climate change risks. For example, in the energy sector, this transformation requires massive investments in clean energy technologies and building and expanding electric distribution and transmission infrastructure.

But this transformation will not happen all at once or by a single “magic bullet” solution. Given the existence of the link between economic activity and carbon emissions, we need to “bend the curve” toward lower carbon dioxide emissions by supporting partnerships that unlock and scale innovation on emerging – and potentially game-changing – technologies in the way we produce and consume energy.

The increasing energy demand has continued to soar and will only increase more with time. To cope with the growing needs of decarbonization, decentralization, and digital transformation of the world’s energy systems, a trifecta of engineering, economic and policy solutions in energy generation, distribution, transmission, and storage are needed.

These innovations should prioritize poly-centric sustainable investments that are compatible with planetary limits. Among the individuals actively working toward fostering clean energy solutions for the climate crisis in polycentric settings is Dr. Joe Nyangon. With a multi-layered career as a scientist, engineer, energy economist, author, and clean energy technology expert, Dr. Nyangon’s research focuses on the hallmark of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He works on improving the fusion of breakthrough technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, and renewable energy and their interaction across the digital, physical and biological domains—to improve utility operations, policy design, risk pricing strategies, and power system planning decisions.

The climate crisis is an existential threat to human civilization. Climate-change-fueled disasters, including the growing threat of record-setting wildfires in the U.S. West, melting glaciers in the Arctic, and other extreme weather events. As alarming as it sounds, these impacts of climate change are widespread, rapid, and intensifying.

Understanding that stabilizing the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained investment in low-carbon energy technologies, Dr. Nyangon decided to focus his research on the rapidly evolving electricity sector, including the rapid proliferation of distributed energy resources (DERs), electricity market transformation, and proactive regulatory reforms to support a net-zero future.

Passionate about strategies for unlocking energy innovation to advance electrification of buildings and transportation, Dr. Nyangon acquired Ph.D., M.P.A., M.Sc, and BSc (Eng.) degrees from the University of Delaware, Columbia University, University of Greenwich, and the University of Nairobi, respectively. He specialized in energy systems engineering, energy economics and policy, and computing systems.

Dr. completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Delaware, focusing on energy economics and engineering systems. While acquiring his Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees, he was a lead project manager for a U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Science Foundation (NSF)sponsored project underQESST—Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies.

He was also a project-lead for the Delaware General Assembly-funded research studies about trends shaping electric power systems, including the rapid growth of distributed renewable electricity, city-scale solar power plants, and community solar development investigation. All these studies accelerate innovations in net-zero carbon emissions economy-wide.

Dr. Nyangon landed his first job in climate change reporting at the InternationalInstitute for Sustainable Development (IISD), a Canadian-based think tank, as an independent observer of united Nations environment and development negotiations. Additionally, he collaborated with Columbia Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Design in 2013 and launched an energy and infrastructure advisory and consulting firm called Sacital Energy Group, Inc.

In 2021, Dr. Nyangon published a new book and colleagues at the University of Delaware called “Sustainable Energy Investment: Technical, Market, and Policy Innovations to Address Risk.” The book provides a roadmap for unlocking sustainable investment in the energy sector and shifting to a low-carbon, climate-resilient development. Dr. Nyangon has authored over 60 publications on topics focusing on energy and climate policy.

His expertise lies in energy economics, policy, climate risk, pricing strategies, infrastructure investment, energy transition strategies, and technological change. He is also an expert in the consequences of three Ds’ of modern energy; digitalization, decarbonization, and decentralization.

A prolific and highly regarded scholar with extensive experience in energy market reforms, Dr. Nyangon, has investigated electricity market design and regulatory innovations for distributed electricity systems. He has assessed game-changing alternative utility regulation and pioneered grid modernization models like the New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), Illinois’s NextGrid, California’s Energy Savings and Performance Incentive, Germany’s Energiewende, Australia’s Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap, and Great Britain’s RIIO (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs).

He has also evaluated resource adequacy, spot market integration, and potential price convergence between natural gas and solar photovoltaic electricity markets in the United States to help deliver competitive ROI (return on investment) for customers. He is actively involved as an advisor and expert in various academic institutions.

Some of the notable institutes include the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware, the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment, and at the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (OGEES Institute) at theAfe Babalola University in Nigeria.

Acknowledging his valuable contributions, Dr. Nyangon has received many awards and honors. In addition to being elected a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he received a postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Energy Economics and Engineering Systems from the University of Delaware; an Environmental Defense Fund(EDF) Climate Corps Fellowship Award; a First Prize Award in the United States Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) and the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) Case Competition.

Other awards include a University of Delaware’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Leadership Award; a University of Delaware Doctoral Research Fellowship Award; a University of Delaware’s Professional Development Award; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate Colab Fellowship Award; a University of Delaware’s Graduate Research Fellowship; Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs Dean’s Environmental Science and Policy Fellowship Award; TED Fellowship Award;and theUnited Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) Executive Director’sWorld Environment Day Citation Award.

Dr. Nyangon’s achievements and contributions to the energy innovation field are helping equip governments, businesses, and organizations to achieve net-zero targets in an increasingly global and interconnected world.

These efforts are worth emulating by harnessing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to improve field-engineered advanced analytics and unlock energy innovation. He lives in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jennifer, a trauma and critical care surgeon, and their two children.

Published November 25th, 2021

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Sales & Marketing

‘Bullish’ marketing industry plans to boost spending power in 2024

Courtney Shields



‘Bullish’ marketing industry plans to boost spending power in 2024

UK marketing leaders are gearing up for a ‘bullish’ 2024, with more than 70% planning to boost digital budgets this year, new data shows.  

Following four years of economic flatlining and commercial pressures for many of the UK’s top marketers, 2024 is expected to see a resurgence in industry optimism, with increased investment being directed in key growth areas including AI, websites, SEO, broadcast and podcasts, as well as email and content marketing.  

The data from more than 500 UK marketing leaders, commissioned by search-driven content agency No Brainer, is available to in-house and agency marketers now. The first report is called the 2024 eCommerce Trends Report

In addition to No Brainer’s findings, a recent Statista report indicates the eCommerce market is set to reach a projected £100b ($124b) in the UK for the first time in 2024, and eComm marketers are poised to make 2024 the year they seize a greater share of consumer spending.  

The report by No Brainer also reveals significant spending growth in key areas of marketing, with many marketing decision markers saying they intend to invest over 60% more than they did in 2023 in the following areas: 

  1. AI: 64% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  2. Website: 64% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  3. SEO: 62% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  4. TV, Radio & Podcasts: 59% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  5. Email Marketing: 58% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  6. Content Marketing: 57% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  7. Digital PR: 57% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  8. Influencer Marketing: 56% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  9. Organic social: 56% to increase spend by as much as 60% 
  10. Paid search: 55% to increase spend by as much as 60% 

Some of the highest budget increases came from marketers working in sectors including Education with 69% increasing by up to 60%, Finance with 64% increasing by up to 60%, and Retail with 56% increasing by over 40%. Only 14% of marketing decision makers said they’ll be dialling back on budgets in 2024. 

Gary Jenkins, Director at No Brainer, said: “Four years of rising costs, inflationary pressures, and squeezed budgets has made life tough for UK marketing leaders tasked with delivering growth, but we’re expecting to see that turn around in 2024 with many taking a more bullish approach in terms of spending power. 

“This is great to see, and not just because we play in this space, but because if businesses of all sizes are serious about recovery and growth, then investing strategically in the right areas of marketing is crucial. Sadly, in challenging times, these are the things that can often be the first cut.  

“When every penny matters, like it has in recent years, then there’s a laser focus on marketing leaders proving the value of every pound they spend, and quite rightly. It’s got everyone challenging the ROI of their spending across every marketing sector, and the same rule should apply with these increased budgets.  

“It’s about putting them to best use. A solid, strategically planned marketing strategy can unlock new audiences, drive more revenue from existing ones, and drive more brand loyalty and advocacy, so it’s still a case of spending smart, even if spending more.” 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

Tags: budget, Content Marketing, seo, spending, websites

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Sales & Marketing

Why social listening platforms can’t listen – and how SocialVoice is looking to step in

Courtney Shields



Why social listening platforms can't listen - and how SocialVoice is looking to step in

The market opportunity for brands who get influencer marketing right is huge.

According to Goldman Sachs, the creator economy is worth around $250 billion (£205.4bn) today. By 2027, it could hit $480bn (£394.5bn), in line with predicted growth for global digital advertising spend. In line with this trend is an increasing preference for brands to use nano- and micro-influencers in their campaigns. The State of Influencer Marketing 2023 Report puts this at 39% and 30% respectively. With the rise of trends such as FinTok and others front and centre, no longer is there a subject which cannot be touched by an influencer; someone passionate, authentic and knowledgeable enough to earn consumer trust.

Getting the right influencers, in terms of what they say, how they say it and how many people they say it to, is therefore vital. Indeed, an entire martech sector has mushroomed in the form of social listening. Yet Nicholas Greig, chief revenue officer at SocialVoice, has a problem with the term.

“Social listening platforms can’t listen,” explains Greig. “All they can do is scan the metadata.”

While social listening tools can look at hashtags and comments, crunch engagement rates, and look at the sentiment of the written word, SocialVoice believes there is no tool currently on the market which can get ‘inside’ a video and analyse the voice. Until now.

The aim of SocialVoice is to enable analysis of an influencer’s past activity, through every frame of every video on every platform. Tone of voice can be analysed, beyond the written word, to assuage fears around brand safety as well as brand fit. This can go from the usual sentiment analysis to understanding personal versus corporate tone, to extrovert versus introvert, to liberal versus conservative. “Because we’re moving to nano- and micro-influencers, we’re not bringing them in for shoots anymore, so we’re relying on the quality of their recording,” explains Greig.

From a technology standpoint, it will not be a surprise that AI is at the heart of the solution, with three primary facets; deep analysis using machine learning tools, statistical approaches to identify pattern correlation across time-based events, and processing at speed. Almost two thirds of those polled in the State of Influencer Marketing report (63%) plan to use AI in executing their influencer campaigns, with two thirds of those brands using it for influencer identification.

What this looks like in terms of product is the Influencer Integrity Report, the first go-to-market effort from SocialVoice. The analysis of time-based events and processing at speed is combined so brand managers can input the influencer link and then get a report soon afterwards backed up by industry standards – toxic and profane content is based on GARM (Global Alliance for Responsible Media) metrics – and headlined by an overall trust score (left).

In the example MarketingTech saw, regarding a well-known influencer in the skincare industry, a specific brand appeared 273 times based on hashtag and written word analysis. For video scripts, the brand appeared 3648 times (right). Tone of voice noted variance between neutral and joyful.

Greig believes this will solve a fundamental industry problem. “We realised that there were some very big problems in the world of influencer marketing that, despite its growth, were affecting uptake from industry sectors such as banking, or from industry sectors where compliance and conservatism was more prevalent,” says Greig.

“These problems come around the fact that not a single influencer discovery platform in the world can be trusted to do proper vetting, or background checking, of the influencer,” adds Greig. “Checking influencers takes hours, and they can’t go back and check everything that an influencer has ever said – so they cut corners, they look at a random sample of videos, and then they go into a campaign [with a] lack of trust in whether the influencer has any hidden surprises in their background.”

While it remains early days, Greig notes that the trust score is the key element for customers on board thus far. The company has trademarked the term ‘trust my voice’ in anticipation not just of this, but for future cases beyond the brand and agency side. “One of the ways where we see this going forward is that influencers themselves on their profile will have a ‘trust my voice’ link,” offers Greig. “They’ll have that from a software as a service perspective.”

SocialVoice is exhibiting at the upcoming DMWF Europe event, on 21-22 November in Amsterdam, with something a little more enticing than usual. Those who visit the stand will have the ability to have one free check of an influencer of their choice – so the company has a strong bet on their value proposition.

“I think it will shock people as to just how limited the information is they have to make right decisions, and just how open they are to problems,” says Greig.

“We are still very much in a concept [phase],” he adds. “It’s going to be very difficult for anyone to compete against us. It’s not just the AI ability, it’s the scale of what it is that we’re doing; it’s the ability to do it at speed and do thousands of influencers at the same time.”

Insert picture credit: SocialVoice

Photo by Daniel Gaffey on Unsplash

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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Sales & Marketing

Clevertouch creates European consultancy and empowers marketers with AI marketing automation

Courtney Shields



Clevertouch Marketing, a marketing technology consulting and service provider, has formed a new strategic team to drive customer conversion from martech across its European client base.

This, in conjunction with new AI product development in its proprietary Momentum software, will bring productivity in martech to the forefront, at a time when marketers need it most acutely.

As Clevertouch Marketing changes its overall name to Clevertouch Consulting, the company has created a senior team focused on client revenue generation, customer insights and conversion metrics. The team is also investing in the development of new powerful AI marketing tools.

The development of ContentAI, a feature within Clevertouch Consulting’s Momentum software, ensures artificial intelligence is driving maximum productivity within Clevertouch customer marketing teams. It allows the rewrite of email and landing page content, greatly improving the capabilities of marketers and reducing the time it takes to launch assets. ContentAI is backed by a unique persona toolset that allows marketers to ensure generated content fits the tone and personality of the teams and the business. Momentum is used by leading brands such as Fujitsu, Atos and British Land.

To support this, Clevertouch Consulting has strengthened its leadership with a mix of promotions and hires. Elaine Webley has been appointed as COO and CMO to lead operations and marketing strategy, having previously served as Managing Director and Client Services Director. Stuart West, previously Vice President International of BrightTALK, will hold the Chief Revenue Officer position and lead the team across its services and SaaS products. Jamie Burrell, responsible for the company’s consulting services, will take the position of Chief Strategy Officer, and CEO and founder, Adam Sharp, will provide ongoing leadership and market insights. Lucy Larner also joins Clevertouch as Chief Financial Officer after fifteen years in various SMB finance roles.

Adam Sharp, CEO at Clevertouch Consulting, said: “Economic times are tough, and as marketers we all have to sharpen our focus on revenue delivery, customer conversion and productivity within our day-to-day activities. We are committed to investing in the most advanced marketing products and services, driving the efficiencies created by AI, but also backed by a super strategic team to give clients the best possible business outcomes.

“Our name change reflects the changing nature of the business and the desire for clients to bring the martech capability in house, with the support of Clevertouch Consulting to optimise their investment.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

  • Duncan MacRae

    Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

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Tags: AI, Clevertouch, consultancy, Europe

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