Annette Hovdal

Higher executive officer in Technoport, master's degree in political science, passionate about green technology and innovation

11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalOctober 4, 2013

The New Digital Age

What will the future look like? Jared Cohen, the Director of Google Ideas, and Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google believes that four new technologies will contribute to change our lives in the next five to ten years.

The book “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business,” written by the two Google top leaders, has gotten a lot of attention since it was released this spring.

In the next 10 years, the number of people using the internet will probably grow from 2 billion to 7 billion. The Google executives do not paint a rosy picture of the future, when describing how the digital world will affect the physical world in issues such as the future of states, terrorism, conflict combat, citizenship and identity. Read more about the predictions here.

Future technologies
However, as it is Friday today, let’s not focus on the troubling predictions, but rather on some of the “fun” technologies that Cohen and Schmidt predict will contribute to change our lives in the years to come:
• Automatic simultaneous translation: This means that people with different languages could understand each other on the phone
• Intelligent pills: The pills can communicate via wifi with your phone, which automatically book an appointment with your doctor if something is wrong with your health
• Holograms: You will be able to see an Olympic exercise as if it was happening in the middle of your living room
• 3D printing: Printing technology will pave the way for new markets

Do you think these technologies will be in your life in five to ten years?

Photo by: Diavolo Qqta (CEO Eric Smith)

Opening Remarks by Rajendra K. Pachauri
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalOctober 1, 2013

IPCC’s climate report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is between 95 and 100 % confident that global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions.

On Friday 27 September, the IPCC presented a summary of the first part of the fifth main report on climate change since 1990. The report itself was presented yesterday.

According to the IPCC the temperature will continue to rise, but has not increased as much in the last 15 years, as previously suggested. However, if emissions continue to increase significantly this century, the temperatures can rise by more than 4 degrees Celsius up to 2100. Large amounts of the ice in Greenland and at the poles have melted. The sea level will rise between 25 and 82 centimeters by 2100. The wet areas will get wetter and the dry areas drier, and there will be more extreme weather, but perhaps not as bad as previously thought. For Norway the climate change means extreme rainfall and sea level rise.

The response in Norway

However, the report shows that it is still possible to prevent the most serious consequences if the world’s nations agree on swift and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The report shows that climate change up to 2100 will depend on emission levels ahead.

Some political parties and the environmental movement hopes that the report puts an end to the debate on whether climate change is manmade, and start the transition now. For example, Ola Elvestuen in the liberal party, says that politicians have to pursue policies that are consistent with the challenges we are facing. We still have the ability to prevent the most serious climate change, but we have to initiate the process of restructuring now.

Fredric Hauge, Bellona President, says that the report is an order from our globe. The order is to change course in climate politics, towards more full scale facilities for carbon capture and storage, more renewable energy, more energy efficiency, more money to ensure a transition within the industrial sector and more electric cars on the roads.

Read the other Norwegian environment organization’s comments on the report here.

The IPCC report

This first part of the report is a status on the research done on earth’s climate, how the climate system works, and how we human’s is changing it. The second and the third part of the report will come in 2014, and looks at the climate change’s effects on society, and how we can limit the effects.

The IPCC is a body established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988. Participation is offered to all countries that are members of either the UN or WMO. The main mandate is to provide assessments of the world’s total knowledge about climate change and its effects. IPCC’s first assessment report came in 1990, the fourth in 2007, and the fifth is thus today.

To learn more about the process writing the report, click here.

Photo by: World Economic Forum (Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalSeptember 19, 2013

Open innovation – innovate our way to the future?

Big companies, like IBM and Google, are looking to open innovation. Open innovation platforms, like InnoCentive, outsource innovation problems to the world public to solve. Why this focus on open innovation?

The short answer is as follows: companies are looking to open innovation for faster development and market launch of new products and services, and to diversify risk and the sharing of both market and technological uncertainties of innovation. InnoCentive crowdsource innovation problems to the whole world via an online platform, so that the smartest people in the world can compete to come up with the best ideas which will solve problems that matter to business and society.

Technoport has invited Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of Health Data Consortium, to come and hold a Technoport Talk on open innovation. Spradlin is the former President and CEO of InnoCentive Inc., the crowdsourcing pioneer connecting corporations, government, and foundations to a global network of innovators over the internet. Spradlin’s Talk will take place during “Topplederkonferansen” at NTNU, 15 October.

Spradlin croppedSpradlin will give us insight into the open innovation model, a model more and more used during the last decade. He will talk about crowdsourcing; give good examples on how this works, and how the company leaders at the conference could use this and proceed to formulate their problem accurately in order to improve the quality and efficiency of their innovation efforts. Technoport find Spradlin’s thoughts and knowledge on this topic inspiring. We believe that open innovation is a way to innovate faster and better.

The conference is for invited only, but we will of course film Spradlin’s Talk, and share it with you. In the meantime, let us get to know the terms open innovation and crowdsourcing better.

Continue Reading

Ocean Forrest
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalSeptember 16, 2013

Future prospects in aquaculture: the challenges in making aqaculture sustainable

15 August, Technoport visited Aqua Nor at Trondheim Spektrum, the world’s biggest aquaculture exhibition. Our day at Aqua Nor were exciting, and we learned about the future prospects in aquaculture, the challenges in making aquaculture sustainable, but also on how to solve these challenges.

Future prospects in Aquaculture
- Expressed in human consumption, we obtain 98 % from land-based production, and only 2 % from the sea, and there lies great business opportunities in the bio marine sector, said Karl A. Almås (CEO, SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture), when welcoming to the SINTEF seminar, “Future Prospects in Aquaculture Technology”. The seminar, happening during Aqua Nor, gathered industrial leaders in the Norwegian aquaculture industry, to speak about the possibilities and limitations for future growth in aquaculture.

Karl A. Almås, CEO at SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, says there are great business opportunities in the bio marine sector Photo by: Thor Nielsen

The industrial leaders agreed that there are great possibilities for future growth in aquaculture; the carbon footprint of salmon is 8 times less than of beef, and is therefore more sustainable. However, the industry is also facing challenges. The speakers pointed to different challenges, saying that one for example needs to solve the sustainability issues.

One of the sustainability challenges is linked to the fish meal for farmed salmon. For the salmon to be a healthy product, it has to contain omega-3 fatty acids, in other words; fish oil. The problem is that the price and demand for fish oil increases, but the access of fish oil is not growing. Einar Wathne (CEO, EWOS), said there is a need to find alternatives to the fish oil in the fish meal. Another sustainability problem is sea lice. Farmed salmon with sea lice that runs away is a threat for the wild fish. Diseases the farmed salmon get is also a problem, and means production loss. Development of new vaccination is important here, Edel Anne Norderhuus, Research director in Pharmaq, said.

Trond Giske, the Minister of Trade and Industry, held a speech about Norway’s interests in the marin- and maritim sector under the seminar. Photo by: Thor Nielsen

To realise the possibilities in Aquaculture, one needs to solve the challenges, said Alf-Helge Aarskog (CEO, Marine Harvest). Several elements were mentioned to solve the problems, for example new technology, a closer tie between the operators and the technologists,  development of new vaccination, more researchers from Europe working on the challenges, and more recruitment of people to the aquaculture industry. The leaders also called for more agriculture area around the coast of Norway.

Ocean Forest – a project to make aquaculture sustainable

At Aqua Nor the environmental foundation, Bellona, and the fish farming company, Lerøy Seafood Group, presented the new company, Ocean Forest.  Later this fall, the new company will establish a test facility at Sotra in Hordaland, to test integrated aquaculture on a large scale.

Ocean Forest med vindmøller

An illustration of how Ocean Forrest might look like. Photo: Bellona

-The goal with Ocean Forest is to address aquaculture environmental challenges, help removing CO2 from the atmosphere, at the same time as creating economic value, said Fredric Hauge (president, Bellona) in a press release, during Aqua Nor. The company will do research on how ecological interactions between species can help to solve the environmental problems that farming operations create, and at the same time seek economic value by being in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding new sources of biomass and bioenergy.

Technoport is confident that aquaculture is one of the solutions to the worlds growing need for food, provided it is done in a sustainable way. Ocean Forest is an exciting initiative. We hope the collaboration between Bellona and Lerøy will contribute to solve the sustainability challenges that the aquaculture industry is facing, and make fish farming a green alternative to meat.

There were 480 different exhibitors at Aqua Nor, and 18 500 visitors, from 65 countries visited Aqua Nor 2013.

Photo by: Bellona (illustration of how the Ocean Forrest facilities migh look like)

ola og connie hånd i hånd
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalSeptember 13, 2013

Ola Borten Moe and Connie Hedegaard discuss renewable energy at Technoport Talks

“How can Norway play a role in a renewable energy Europe?”  This was the topic discussed  at Technoport Talks earlier this summer. At the panel debate, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Ola Borten Moe, met with EU Commissioner on Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. Borten Moe stated that the EU should stop subsidizing renewable energy.

During the panel debate between the two, and Professor Asgeir Tomasgard, Director at Centre for Sustainable Energy Studies,  Borten Moe claimed that the EU should not subsidize renewable energy, and rather use public money to develop new technology, like carbon capture and storage technology. This controversial statement was then published in several Norwegian newspapers, and criticized by many. The problem today is not the subsidizing of renewables, but the subsidizing of fossil fuels, some of the critics argued. Hedegaard also pointed out that the subsidization of fossil fuels can be problematic. “Every time the world is spending 1 dollar subsidizing renewables, we are spending 7 dollars subsidizing fossil fuels”, Hedegaard said. Watch the panel debate bellow:

The background for the panel debate was this question: How can Norway play a role in a renewable energy Europe? The EU has high ambitions on energy and climate change. The EU wants to increase the share of renewable energy to 20 % by 2020. However, due to the variability of wind and solar power, there will be variations in power generation, and the EU therefore needs more balancing capacity to ensure a stable and reliable power supply. Norway with its hydropower and natural gas can play a role here.

Click here to hear our speakers from research and industry talk about Norway’s role in the EU’s energy mix.

The topic, “Norway’s role in a renewable energy Europe”, is  highly discussed nowadays. In Oslo, there will be a mini-conference (25 September) on this.

However, what is the popular view on Norway as a “green battery” to Europe? If you haven’t already –  do read Henrik Karlstrøm’s guest blog post on the subject. Henrik is presenting new research on people in Norway’s view on the subject.  



Samsung Galaxy
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalSeptember 4, 2013

Smart Watches – the next big thing?

On Wednesday this week, Samsung introduced the Smart watch, Galaxy Gear. This smart phone accessory can pick up notifications, control music playback, and keep time with a rich variety of watch faces. In addition, the watch can take pictures, and even conduct phone calls.  

Galaxy Gear is not the first smart phone product on the marked though, nor is it the last. Both Sony and Motorola are selling the product, and last year, 330.000 smart watches were sold. Big companies, like Apple, Microsoft and Google believes that the smart watch is the new big marked. According to the analysis company, Canalys, there will be sold five millions smart watches next year.

The smart watch is not a replacement of the smart phone, it relies on a Bluetooth connection to the smart phone. However, a smart watch will open new opportunities for software developers who create applications for health, sport and activities (

Is this a cool gadget you just must have?        

Photo by: Samsung Electronics (CC)                 

Photo by: (CC)
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalAugust 21, 2013

Another example of roadway powered electric vehicles: Online Electric Vehicle

The problem with electric cars today is the short range of driving because of the battery capacity. In addition, recharging the batteries on charging stations takes time. In a blog post published 8 July, I presented an idea developed in Sweden on roadway powered electric vehicles. In South Korea they have also been working on roadway power electric vehicles, but their idea is different.   

Researchers in South Korea have developed a vehicle, called Online Electric Vehicle, which recharges while driving. The technology is already taken into use; in the South Korean city, Gumi, two electric buses are driving a 24 kilometre route, recharging the batteries as they are driving, getting electricity of the road.

The buses are powered by two electric cables that lie under the surface of the road.  The electric cables create magnetic fields, which are converted into electricity by a receiver under the vehicle.  The technology is called “Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance”. According to the researchers, it is not necessary that the entire road is built with cables, 5 – 15 % of the road is sufficient (

The core of the idea, developed in Sweden, is to place two power lines in the road.

Which solution on eco-friendly transportation do you believe the best – the Swedish power lines or the South Korean Online Electric Vehicle?

Photo by: (CC)

11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalAugust 5, 2013

New apps could be of great importance for Norwegian police

Two master students in computer science from NTNU are this summer working on “police apps”, which could change the way we communicate with the police, and make it easier for the police to locate us, in case of an emergency.  

On 2 August, Bergen Tidende published an article about the students Eirik Mildestveit Hammerstad and Esben Aarseth, which are working on two “police apps”. The apps will be tested in Finnmark, Norway, and the Finnmark police are looking forward testing them out, saying the apps will give unlimited opportunities.

The sooner the police can form the best possible picture of different situations happening from the operation center, the better. Esben’s app could be an important tool here.  He is working on a “112-app” which uploads the caller’s exact location when calling the emergency number. As of today, if the police get an emergency phone, they do not have the information to locate the person calling. The call could be traced, but this is very expensive. The app also has an “emergency chat” which gives you the opportunity to communicate with the police without having to call.  In addition, it will be possible for people to send pictures to the police at the operating center. The ability to receive pictures can help the police to better know what missions to prioritize.  

Eirik is working on a web-app where it should be possible to book an appointment with the police, renew your passport, submit a report, and deliver a police complaint.  

The prototypes of the apps are almost finished. If the police like the apps after testing them, it is possible that the two student’s summer projects will be realized.

 We cross our fingers, and hope the apps will be a success! 

Do you have an idea to an app of public utility?

Kjell Jøran Hansen
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalJuly 11, 2013

Solar mirror: the sun always shines in Rjukan

Rjukan, a small Norwegian city, is situated in a deep valley. The sun is gone for 6 months every year. A big solar mirror will now give Rjukan sun throughout the year.   

May 2013: After years of planning, the work on installing a big solar mirror, a heliostat, with a surface of 100 square meters, began on a hillside over the city. When the construction is completed, it will adjust the sun’s movements, reflect the sunlight, and transmit light to a fixed spot in the city centre throughout the year. A computer program will make sure that the mirror adjusts the sun’s movements.

The construction weighs 14 ton, and every part is moved up on the hillside by a helicopter.  In Italy you can find a similar construction, but it is not nearly as large and complex as the one in Rjukan.

However, the idea to use a big mirror to reflect the sun in Rjukan is not at all new. In 1913, a worker, Oscar Kittelsen, suggested that Rjukan should install a mirror up on a hillside so that the sun would reach the city centre during the winter.  Now, finally, a hundred years later Kittelsen’s dream is coming to life (

To see how the solar mirror works, click here

Photo by: Kjell Jøran Hansen (CC)