CHICAGO (May 12, 2016) — Interactive technology, virtual reality displays and other tools to create the next generation power grid through advanced technology and innovation are on display today at Soldier Field as part of Exelon's fifth annual Innovation Expo, an event bringing employees, vendors and industry experts together to explore how technology can solve challenges affecting the energy industry and contribute to a more effective and productive work environment.
"The energy industry is ever-changing, and keeping our focus on innovation and the development of new technology is essential to modernizing our electric grid and better serving customers," said Christopher Crane, president and CEO of Exelon. "The annual Innovation Expo gives employees an outlet to test their ideas so we can effectively implement them in our work. It also presents employees an opportunity to learn from other industry professionals and experts, who can offer fresh insights on unlocking the potential of technology."
Today's event will focus on the next-generation energy company and the new technologies that will augment human capabilities for the digital worker. One display will immerse attendees in virtual reality inside a 25-foot diameter dome called "the Igloo," allowing for a 360-degree look at what life will be like for the digital worker of the future.
The event will also highlight a new agreement between Exelon and Northwestern University to form a five-year strategic research partnership focused on grid management and resilience, energy storage and renewable technologies.
As part of an annual companywide initiative to encourage a culture of innovation, Exelon also held a poster contest to give employees an opportunity to display their ideas for using technology or innovation to solve business challenges or increase customer service. The number of entries increased from 47 submissions in the contest's first year to 235 this year. Employees who entered the contest attend the Expo to present their entries to their peers.
Also attending are 30 female engineering students from Marion Catholic High School who are part of a STEM program sponsored by ComEd, as well as seven students from Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Students from MCA designed and created trophies to be given out to poster contest winners at the Expo.
In addition, executives and technology experts from companies such as GE Power, Northwestern University and ZF Group will take part in a panel discussion focused on managing change caused by disruptions in the marketplace.