(video audio) 

What is normal now is it four months of back to back rains or is normal half the amount of rainfall? I don't know I’m still trying to figure it out.   

I continue to worry about the problem of sea level rise.

My feeling, and I am not alone in this, is deep sadness. 

The sea has already destroyed part of my house.       

Our goal is to make life better for fishermen and increase our income.       

Fish farming it is a sustainable use of land and it can stand flats and drought. 

I started farming crabs when fish became scarce. From what I learned at climate-smart farming trainings, I set aside a portion of land to dig a water well.                                                                                            

With the new water system, we hardly ever get sick anymore. 

My job involves creating the conditions for reforestation. It is a great opportunity to work.

The purpose of the hybrid engineering dam is to trap sediment behind the bars and let it build up so it captures the perfect sediment for mangroves to grow.

Civil defense officers trained us how to rescue people when there is a cyclone or flood. 

We are doing everything we can, so this road isn't destroyed by floods again. 

This job has changed my life.               

The effects of climate change have been reduced because of the work done by communities. So the community benefits as does the country and the world.

 
Elyse Winer 

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage our disruptive tech for disrupting climate change panel.

 
Elyse Winer 

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for being here. And thank you to my panelists for being here as well. A brief introduction. My name is Elyse Winer. I am the Marketing Partner for Material Impact fund. We are a venture capital fund based in Boston and we're focused on building companies around products enabled by material science innovation. And one of the things that's very common amongst each of our portfolio companies is that each company is on a mission to solve a large scale problem in the world. And we're going to be talking about some of those problems today. So it's estimated that about 800 million people that's 11% of the global populace population is actually vulnerable to climate change impacts, like droughts, like rising temperatures, like rising sea level, and extreme weather events. I mean, what's going on right now in Australia, I think with the bushfires really underscores this fact with I believe it's up to date that 14 million acres of land has been destroyed and a half a billion animals lives have been lost. And you're going to hear from two panelists today from Columbia and Bangladesh where managing impacts Like these are a daily reality, but emerging technologies like 5g, IoT, cloud computing, drones, renewables all have the capacity to really disrupt climate change. And that's what we're here to talk about today. I think the question is, can entrepreneurs and engineers and the technologists that we see here at CES right now, can they invent and deploy enough technologies? And can the world's governments adopt the right policies to remove carbon from the global economy all in time to avert continued, you know, parallel that we're seeing right now with all the impact of climate change? And so today, on this panel, we're going to be talking about the urgent need for technology innovation. We're going to be talking about some use cases, some case studies of where it's actually worked very well, and what the future could hold. And I think the theme here, based on the panelists who you're about to me is that there really needs to be a collaboration between the public and private sectors that the technology innovation that we're seeing here at CES needs to come together with with world leaders who can help to ensure the widespread adoption of disruptive tech, and to ensure countries are resilient today and into the future. So I'm going to ask each of my esteemed panelists here to introduce themselves. They each have prepared a very brief presentation about themselves, their organization or their country and why they're here today. And then we're going to launch into a really great discussion. Now, Atishay take it away.

 
Atishay Abbhi 

Thank you so much, Elyse, and thanks a lot for joining here. My name is Atishay Abbhi and I work as a Disasterous Management Specialist with the World Bank, largely focusing around climate change, resilience and disastrous management within the South Asia region. And just to get started, I think I don't know how many of you actually know what the World Bank does, but we are a multilateral development bank that that has two goals. One is to end extreme poverty. And which means we are trying to reduce the extreme poverty by about 3% by 2030. And keep that 2030 mind for the next few minutes, and increasing the income of the poorest 40%. So sharing prosperity, and we do that through finance, policy, advice, analytics, etc. But the one of the key reasons why we here is that it's the poor people and in the vulnerable areas that are most affected by climate change. So how can we bring about the use of disruptive technologies for addressing some of these risks and that's where our partnership with CES comes in. And that's why we are here. And just to give you a glimpse of, we're talking about future this is a, you know, technology show about the future. And the next decade. So what is 2030 going to look like if we do not have any action on against climate change will be adding about hundred million additional, fewer people due to climate change? Over the next 10 years, we'll have another 10 mega cities out of which many are vulnerable to climate change. And some cities would also face five times the flooding in a year. So if you have once a year flooding, you'll have about five times the flooding. Now, there are certain things that are being done, which is, for example, countries, low income, middle income countries would require at least $1 trillion to meet their 2030 climate commitments. The World Bank is is already planning to invest about $335 billion in private investments up until 2030. And of course, our goal about reducing the number of for extremely poor people to 3%. In addition, if you look at some of the trends that are going along now, over the next 10 years, we know that there are we all know about the technology trends, which is 5g, IoT, AI, data regulation, which is but then there are other trends also that will that are going to emerge, increased urbanization, about 300 million people are moving into cities every week, we are talking about $1 trillion of infrastructure investment by low and middle income countries, but we are not very sure of the quality of that investment in infrastructure. Of course, there is rising inequality, definitely climate change. And also a key aspect is people local communities do not have enough information at hand to adapt and to understand what to do in the face of this huge risk that they are having. And just look at some numbers on on your right hand side $18 billion in damages every year. You talking about overall economic costs about 390 billion dollars. Every year, but if you invest in resilience, you're looking at net benefits of $4.1 trillion. So it's not all doom and gloom. But to get there, we need not just, we need the challenges and we need policy solutions. But that's where also, technology comes in. And the bank has already started sort of doing a little bit of work with countries around using disruptive technologies, be it AI and big data for pushing out disaster alerts, or even using blockchain to create climate markets and try to see how we can solve the problem of land records in some of these vulnerable countries will also be hearing for example, from Carlos later on around the use of machine learning and drones for resilient housing and how drones and communities can be used and social media for doing flood risk mapping in your areas. Now, what is it that the countries actually need? It will be very well articulated by the two that we have here. But largely, we're talking about smarter, safer built environment. We, I mean, the amount of infrastructure that's going to be added is is massive, but we want it to be safe and smart. We want localized risk information. So if I want to put up a school or a hospital in an area, I need to know how landslide prone it is, what is the kind of you know, flood inundation in that area? And believe me, country states and countries are facing issues around planning to that specific granularity. So we need technology to help us with that. We need to understand how we can use predictive analytics to plan better, not just our responses, but also prepare better for for what's what's coming ahead.

 
Hardik Bhatt 

There are certain things they need, but there are also certain things that we are working with the governments to do, which is for example, incentivizing innovation, we hear a lot about collaboration, but how can governments incentivize some of those innovation, they need to create the right regulatory environment they need to build skills of their own government, but also the communities that will be working to absorb a lot of this technology that's coming in. We need basic connectivity infrastructure. And of course, there are governance issues that need to be dealt with, in order for this collaboration, this match be making between you and us and the community has to happen to solve this issue. And that's a huge reason why we are here, part of the scale that CES provides, and the global platform that it has, while dealing with the global challenge. I think it's it's it's a no brainer in terms of partnerships. So we have a challenge that we just launched. That was launched by Gary at the keynote around resilience. So we're inviting entrepreneurs and startups to talk to come up with solutions regarding specific challenges around resilience. We are focusing on India. There are also two other sessions besides these that will be focusing on connectivity for example, countries are facing connectivity challenges? How can they be solved? How can conflicts climate change that count deadly combination? How can technology help with dealing with some of that? So. So the outreach to CES and to all of you is essentially, to move away from the gloomy scenario that we saw about 2030 to a much happier, resilient scenario. And I'm just leaving, leaving with some of the ideas that you can start thinking about when it comes to resilient 2030 over the next decades, one decade, how can we use some of the tech that you guys are producing? And what would it take from the side of the government's the communities and the World Bank to help you bring those solutions together? Thank you so much.

 
Elyse Winer 

Thank you. Yeah. And we will be looking forward to learning a little bit more about the partnership with Columbia and the work you're doing with Carlos. Saber, go ahead. Yeah

 
Saber Chowdhury 

Okay, my name is Saber Chowdhury, I'm a Member of Parliament from Bangladesh. I chair the parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, forests and climate change. I've been working a number of years on this, and of course, the linkages between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. And you know I see them coming more into play. So what I thought I would do today, because this is the first session that I have attended, where the technological dimension has come into play. Now, previously, we have been in events with just purely looking at climate change from a development perspective, but now we see the very exciting possibility of a potential marriage with technology. So before I go into that, I wanted to give you an overview and an insight into the context of Bangladesh. And what are the challenges we face? climate change is a term that we use quite often, but what does it actually mean what is the impact that it has on people and our That's what we're really talking about. And this whole event is also having people at the center of its conception and the way it's been laid out. So if you were looking at what are the potential impacts of climate change, there would be a number of boxes. And I think Bangladesh is one country where you would probably take most of the boxes. So a map of Bangladesh is here. And just to give you an idea, it looks quite, it looks a good size over there. But in terms of the area of Bangladesh, it's about the size of the state of Illinois.

 
Saber Chowdhury 

If I look at the population of Bangladesh, it's 165 million. Now think and imagine the state of Illinois, having its own population, and that of the fifth of the five most populous states in the US, which I believe would be California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida. So if you crowd them all into Illinois, they would still be 30 million short. So that is the population of Bangladesh. Now, that is important because population density has a huge impact, you know, when you're talking about an impact and you're talking about a large population, so that's what it happened. So, look at the boxes that you would take in the case of Bangladesh, drought. inlet affects 42% of the total land area of Bangladesh, this is to the north, you have flash flooding. Then of course, you have floods. And when we talk about floods, remember, I don't have this year but on the north on the top of this map, you have the water towers of South Asia and the the Himalayas, which provide drinking water fresh water to about 700 million people. So as you have glacial melt, the snow is melting and the water is actually draining through Bangladesh into the Delta that you see in the south in the Bay of Bengal. So flooding is a is a huge challenge for us. salinity intrusion. You know, you don't hear about this. But as water levels rise, sea levels rise, it has an impact on coastal drinking water. It has an impact on public health. It has an impact on agricultural yield. And of course, farmers are getting lower prices at the end of the day. And as you can see that that will impact 8 million people by 2050. What will impact even more is sea level rise. So if you have a one meter rising sea level, it's going to displace 42 million people. And remember the earliest slides and what he said about poverty. If you do a map of Bangladesh, you will find that this 42 million people are the poorest of the poor. So they are going to be hit the most, and they're going to be displaced, which means that we have a population of hundred and 65 million now. Come 2050 One in every five person in Bangladesh is going to be displaced. So that gives you an idea of the scale and magnitude of the problem. And I know it's not a numbers game, because even if it's one, it's one too many, but it just shows you the extent of the challenge that we face. But despite all of this, the government has been really proactive. We have set up our own climate change Trust Fund, we have launched our own satellite into outer space, which is collecting a lot of data and offers interesting possibilities. We are looking at graduating from least developing country to a developing country, a middle income country and then a developing country. Our perspectives, in fact, take us to 2,100, 2,100 where we have the Delta plan. So it's not just Bangladesh being at the receiving end. I think we are trying to see what we can do about it. And the whole discourse on disasters has actually changed. In the past, it was a question about responding to an disaster. So act after a disaster has struck. Now we are trying to understand, well, where is the vulnerability? Where is the exposure? Where is the risk? So how can we be better prepared to respond to a disaster. And I think that in itself provides very interesting possibilities in terms of using technology. And remember, even in the context of Bangladesh, and I think it's also true across the globe. Now, we are talking about a new normal. In the past, we talked about high frequency, low impact events. So you would have flooding more or less around the years. So it would be very frequent, but the impact would be minimal. And then you had the other type of events, which we refer to as, you know, low frequency high impact. So a cyclone, which might strike you every 10 or 15 years, is now going to strike you much more frequently. So now the new normal is high frequency, high impact. So that's really what we are dealing with. So in the case of Bangladesh, we have all of these challenges that we face. So what are we going to do about it? I think the first one that comes to our mind is we need to act faster than the rate of change of climate change, otherwise, we will always be falling behind. And with you, if you look at the Paris Agreement and what is happening globally, targets which have been set in Paris are slipping out of our hands, we are not going to be able to reach them. So we really start with adaptation, although adaptation is not really the ultimate answer, because there are limits to adaptation in when people are displaced, adaptation has actually failed. So we also need to think about that. Bangladesh as, as a government and as a country, I think we are very open to new ideas. We are certainly open to innovation to technology, people coming up and suggesting ideas towards we also have a vision of a digital Bangladesh that we talked about. So I think the ingredients are in place. This is really Bangladesh is where we are fighting climate change at the frontline. No, I don't think you can come up with another country. We can talk about how vulnerable we are. But Bangladesh really is fighting. And I think we are a model when it comes to community based adaptations. Just one statistic I want to share with you. In 1970, when we had a cyclone in Bangladesh, 500,000 people lost their lives. Now, if you move to, let's say, 37-40 years later, the similar Cyclone of similar intensity, only 4000 people died. So that still too many 4000 lives. But you can see that there has been 100 fold reduction in the number of people who have died. So now that we are saving lives, we see what is the quality of life we give them. We talk about the livelihood opportunities. So I think that's something very exciting also for the tech and the innovation community. And certainly, welcome you to Bangladesh and the possibilities that exist. I don't want to speak for much longer, because I think we need to have questions also at the end. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 
Elyse Winer 

So Carlos. Yeah. And it's, it's interesting, it'll be interesting for you to draw on some of the parallels that Colombia experiences and that how vulnerable they are to certain climate change impacts as well. But I know Carlos is part of the Ministry of housing, and the migrant population in Colombia, people who are displaced from their homes, that's probably one of the largest challenges that Carlos deals with on a day to day basis. So looking forward to hearing more about that.

 
Carlos Reyes 

So good afternoon, everyone. My name is Carlos Reyes, I'm policy director at the Ministry of housing, focused on housing or housing policies in the country. And I'm very excited of being here tonight today to show you how we are using these eruptive technologies in order to make housing more resilient in the country. So First of all a quick context, more than 3.7 million households in the country living houses that don't meet the minimum criteria for in order for them to be livable. That's more than 14 million Colombians, almost 30% of the total population. And as a consequence, they need a home improvement or house or a new one. And this is a situation that gets worsened by climate change because of the increasing probability of flooding in many regions of the country. And also because of higher temperatures in which houses that are not built with the correct materials can put many lives in risk. So what was the response since the beginning of the presidential campaign President Luca and wanted to have a very ambitious goal for home improvement for a home improvement program in the country then So then, when we started the administration, we started the design and now the execution of a program that we call decent house, decent life, in which the national government wants to reach out to More than 600,000 families throughout the country. And this is not just by giving subsidies for some home improvement, but also, for example, by giving and formal documents, for more documents for the families to prove that they are the owners of those houses, and also by improvement of the neighborhoods that's around. And keep in mind that these are the poorest of the poor in the country. And that's a program that in Spanish is called Casa Digna via Digna. And

 
Carlos Reyes 

one, normally housing policies in Colombia, as in many other countries in Latin America and around the world. Our housing policies are those focused on building new houses, right. So changing that paradigm and starting into home improvement programs, and had a huge challenge. That was data. We didn't know what kind of interventions these houses actually needed, what were the current condition of these houses, and so we had a huge a huge task of getting more information. These neighborhoods. So we teamed up with the World Bank and local authorities in many cities of the country to think about how we can harness new technologies in order to gather this information. So we started in carta haina, a city that many of you may know because of its beautiful world district. But that city, which in fact, has many of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, and even in the whole of Latin America. And what we did was using drone technology, and also straight camera cameras in order to take a full inventory of the needs of these neighborhoods and have the whole whole housing stock that was in there. And so we went there with our teams. And as a result, then we took all this information, all these imagery, and we went and we using machine learning algorithms, we are now able to see what were the materials that were being used What are the conditions of the terrain, we can check if the risk assessment documents that we that the municipalities have are updated or not, for example, we can even see if it if it's just residential users, or maybe there are also as more shops within the house, and also helps us prepare for our for the execution of our program. So as a result of all this new technology and information that we are gathering, we are then able to build these kind of maps in by which we can focus our attention, focus their resources, and understand what is the real demand that these neighborhoods have and where we should put our money on. And that's just the first ways by which we are starting to think of how to use these technologies. So as a result, and now we can prioritize Where are the most in need in many of these areas. hoods, we can also supervise the execution of home improvement projects. And that's the phase we are in right now. Now there are private contractors going to these neighborhoods. And we can check if the project that they are designing and then executing meets the needs that we identified using these technologies. So fighting and also reducing corruption. And then in the end, we can use all these data to make risk to update risk assessments and all the databases that local governments have and update them in real time. And these are just a few of the users that we have been thanking for these kind of technologies. And that's why I'm very excited to be in a place like this. To discuss whether or use we can have other technologies can be put in place to increase the well being of many Colombians, especially in the poorest regions of the country. Thank you so much.

 
Elyse Winer 

Now, we will hear from technologist point of view, Adam Wallen, who's here to speak with us today. Adam is the CEO of a company that you're going to learn about called Veir, but he's also a serial entrepreneur, and has worked on a number of technologies. And so he'll be a great point of view to hear. Okay, what's the role of technology here? And how do we work together to ensure its adoption? So Adam, take it away.

 
Adam Wallen 

Thank you at least. Again, my name is Adam wall and I started my career with British Petroleum transitioned to entrepreneurship have been in venture for a bit and then now coming back to doing something really exciting with a new emerging technology. So VR is focused on developing a transformational technology for both transmission and distribution of energy as you know, or decarbonisation of the grid. in emerging markets, more and more renewables are being brought online. Those are typically remote and those that energy needs to then be transmitted and distributed to city centers where We talked about urbanization and other other things. People moving the city even, you know, more and more electricity needing being consumed within city centers for cooling and other things in consequence of climate change. So we're developing a technology that is based on high temperature superconductors, and allows five times greater than five times amount of energy to be transmitted. versus traditional conductors, which you would think of 200 foot high voltage towers with four conductors strong across, you know, big long areas, the technology can be put on regular telephone poles right next to telephone, cable wires, things like that. And there's no disruptive electromechanical waves to them. So we're we're excited to have looking at both domestic implementations and deployments as well as in the emerging markets and and more, more resilience and security to the technology.

 
Elyse Winer 

Thank you. Alright. So you know, one of the things that's been brought up today is that it seems in response to climate change, there's the shift from disaster response to Disaster Reduction. And so we've heard about some programs today that have had great impact. I just love to ask the panelists talk about the programs that they've implemented within each of their countries. attache, you've worked on with a number of different regions on different programs. What I love severe that you said is that Bangladesh is not fighting on the front line against climate change, you're fighting back. And so even small programs and small technology innovations that you've implemented have had great impact. So I'd love for you to give us a bit more of a description of what those have been and maybe what you're looking into. And Carlos, that, you know, this was very cool for us to see how you're using machine learning to kind of identify where there needs to be home improvement. One of the benefits of these technologies been and how are you thinking about expanding potentially beyond housing and into other opportunity area? So I'll leave it to the panel to, to jump in and talk a little bit more about that.

 
Saber Chowdhury 

So Sure. So across the the two, three regions where I've worked, which is Africa, Southeast Asian, and South Asia, the risk disasterous reduction, one of the few components is really getting the early warning systems in place that is most important for you to know what is going to happen when and then act accordingly give enough lead time to communities and the disaster responders to essentially get into action. There are things like, and somebody is going to probably know about invest is stuff like Multi Purpose disaster shelters, how do you make sure that people know where to go when disaster strikes? how resilient those structures themselves are, you know, that are going to shield people livestock etc. into that, then there is also stuff like residents of infrastructure. So making sure that the risk to infrastructure is reduced when you talk about electricity poles, you talk about connectivity networks. So the one of the programs that I'm implementing has a lot of underground cabling involved. And now we're already seeing that micro grids are coming into place, you know, to sort of make sure that the systems don't fall down due to disasters. So these are some of the risk reduction things and I think the most important thing is also capacity building. People need to know the institutions need to know how to be best prepared for those disasters, and also the fact that communities need to come around to reduce their own risks, in terms of how they build their houses, how they build, how their livelihoods can be better protected, especially when you talk about Bangladesh. The agricultural community is so much exposed and so highly vulnerable to climate change. So how can you reduce their risk by, you know, using embankments by using, you know, crops and that that can tolerate some of those risks.

 
Elyse Winer 

And it sounds like civic participation. And in many cases, education is really important because without that these technologies just aren't going to get implemented. And in the case of Bangladesh, and Colombia, we're talking about areas where you have very vulnerable and poor populations that may not have access to a cell phone. So I'm just curious about how your your kind of adjusting for that in implementing new technologies

 
Saber Chowdhury 

just falling up from what edition mentioned. I think I mentioned in my remarks that we have been a role model for community based adaptation. So I think the buying of the community is absolutely critical, right? And so what we have done in Bangladesh is other than the multi purpose Cyclone shelters, now we have had this early warning system, whereby let's say you have a community of fishermen living in in a coastal

 
Saber Chowdhury 

place. So we would send them SMS, you know, text messages that be community radios, who would hoist the flag, a red flag to say that this is not a good time to go out for fishing in a sustained or so I think that is something that has worked very well. Of course, the challenge still remains, you know, the concept of last mile connectivity, because what happens if someone doesn't have a phone? I mean, we have a high degree of mobile phone penetration Bangladesh, but still so I think that's where technology will come in. The other way that we have looked at it is we have tried to bring about conversion between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. So I've talked about the glacier melt in the Himalayas, you know, because so now we have the rivers have to carry and hold more volumes of water. The first thing we have done is read the rivers. So that's capital retching. And then the dredge material is used to build embankments on either side. So one is you're increasing the capacity of the river to hold the additional water As a result of glacial melt, and so even if the rivers are flooding, you know, we have built embankments, so the water doesn't get in. And then we are planting trees to make sure that the embankments actually hold. So I think these are things which have worked very well in Bangladesh. And given that it's a country where the elevation is very low. And I'm in there generally, I mean, you're talking about just a few meters above sea level, where a bulk of the population lives. So I think our experiences if the community has a buy in, I think it's very good. And the other aspect, of course, is the private sector. Because you know, you talked about the public private partnership, because if you look at a scenario, let's say 2030 years down the road, or even during the course of this century, it is not government's, it's going to be the private sector, which is going to make the bulk of the investment. So I think the way we see private sector, they are not just creators of jobs. They're not just providers of goods and services, but they're also investors. And I think you You can get that buy in that investment is not just in, in dollars, but it's also in technology. And I think that's why this event is so exciting.

 
Carlos Reyes 

So in our case, well, besides the benefits that you saw in terms of vocalizing the resources to the most in need, also in combating corruption, because we have data to check what private contractors are doing, there are many other benefits that these kind of technologies have, for example, we can now make estimations of the value of these houses. And they'll help for example, reducing the cost of insurance assessments. So those the reduction the cost of insurance that can be provided in these neighborhoods. It also gives us the opportunity to talk with the finance ministry, which is always a difficult discussion by which we can start having and making a point that if you invest in in home resiliency, before the disasters came up, it's a very cheaper way than then have to invest after Internet disasters can come. So there are many ways by which we are using these technologies. Of course, there are challenges, for example, and involving the private sector in a country like Colombia with traditional procurement laws has to it needs to make innovations. On the legal side also, of course, training for our teams, for the teams in the with local administration, and even for communities to be able to reach out to this kind of information is always a challenge. But that's why places like this, it's a huge opportunity for us to discuss whether ways we can find to introduce this technology even in such an evolving world of the one we are living in this technology.

 
Elyse Winer 

Okay, great. So, it's been talked about several times that there's just a lot of people poor populations that are displaced from their homes due to climate change and are migrating into city centers. And actually, you talked about the population density challenges, that infrastructure just can't handle the type of influx of people coming into city centers, especially out of the coastal region. So, Adam, I'd love for you to talk about various technology, when you think about not having to be dependent on the grid or failing infrastructure, when you can kind of come in and set up technology quickly. What are the benefits of that when you think about, you know, Bangladesh, you think about Colombia and an opportunity to reduce risk, but also to react after a disaster when people need access to power?

 
Adam Wallen 

Sure, certainly one of the one of the critical differences, differences of our technology versus, you know, traditional, again, medium voltage, high voltage transmission or as the magnitude of the towers. So you think when you're driving along the highway, those 200 foot steel towers, one to put in and install that infrastructure is expensive, time consuming. And then disaster recovery, when you think about trying to replace a cable that's 200 feet in the air has all those complexities, the technology that we're doing in a three inch pipe, we essentially transmit greater than five times the amount of energy capacity through that right of way. So as you talked about people moving from rural areas to cities, you're getting more and more requirements and more and more needs for energy in those city centers. And it's not easy to run high voltage cables when you have to put them at at height. So both being at a 50 foot telephone pole type of level and stringing materials that way. You're able to in disaster recovery string and repair those at a 50 foot height is a lot easier than 200 feet. The cables don't have the same swag that traditional cables have. So easier repair. And also when you're thinking about populations moving and just going to low carbon or renewable energy sources that are not low localized in in those areas. You want to put those where they're not vulnerable inland. stringing new right of ways means Adding capacity and new new ways to transmit that electricity will be a bottleneck if you look at traditional technologies. So we're allowed to were able to implement more quickly and more efficiently.

 
Elyse Winer 

I think one of the biggest challenges for any early stage technology company is finding opportunities where you can actually pilot your technology in the fields, right? So I'm curious if there's an appetite for working with early stage innovation in Bangladesh and Colombia, or through the programs with the world's bank, where technology isn't necessarily baked yet, but could use the input from nations that are really on the front lines, right of dealing with climate change? You know, how do you think about working with companies like their other early stage technologies that would love the opportunity to have a seat at the table and talk to you about how they could implement their technology in your area?

 
Hardik Bhatt 

So if I could go back to the challenge, that's precisely what it actually does. Because the idea there is that The country is this the people who are dealing with those challenges are going are the ones who have expressed those needs, and are now saying, look, we are ready to see what what is out there and use our areas for field testing for piloting. And if there is potential, then of course, given the enormity of the challenge, there is always an opportunity to scale up. And I think that collaboration is also important because governments and institutions also need to know what do they need to do at their end to make it more conducive for those technologies to be used in their environment? So challenges like these are pretty geared towards that. And the bank has been doing that for actually a few years. It's not just the first time but could see us I think we will be able to garner more, more solutions grow globally.

 
Elyse Winer 

That's great. Yeah.

 
Saber Chowdhury 

And I think from the Bangladesh perspective, as I've said to nothing, we are very open as a government. And I mean disruptive. What do I mean by disruptive I think any new ideas That challenges the status quo subsequently becomes disruptive through innovation. And I think we are certainly open to that. I think Bangladesh because, you know, we see the benefits of innovation. I mean, we have seen it when it comes to adapting to climate change. So I think when it comes to energy, and I know this is a priority of the government, because we are trying to provide hundred percent energy security, and there are certain areas which are off grid, so where, you know, you have solar systems that have been put in place, I think something like that would be very appropriate to try this out. And once it's been proven in that environment in that context, and of course, cost is going to be a huge factor. And also, you know, we talked about an additional you mentioned this, the ability to absorb, and then the ability to manage the new technology is also important. So I think while we welcome the new technology, I think it is also important that we at the same time build our capacities in a way which will allow us to make sure that it doesn't become a white elephant or a liability, and it actually gives the benefits that it's meant to

 
Elyse Winer 

Adam, I'm curious, what do you see as the role of government as you're thinking about, you know, transitioning this technology into the real world? How do you see the government playing a role?

 
Adam Wallen 

So globally, certainly domestically, but globally, most most utilities are government regulated monopolies. So having you know, as a, as an early stage company, a new innovative technology coming in, utilities are pretty typically pretty risk averse. So it really takes, you know, governments and government agencies to promote the use and, you know, and appropriately in the right places evaluating risk and exposure but but adopting those those two new technologies, so that that for the benefit going out, but but I think it's partnering with companies like ours, partnering with the right government agencies to get that adoption drive that

 
Saber Chowdhury 

you think it just very briefly, and that the are proven technology. So we're not saying that we start from scratch. But the customization of it at the local level is, I think, where the key in terms of innovation and the partnership comes in. And that's what we're trying to see more and more coming out of here is

 
Elyse Winer 

Because one size doesn't necessarily fit all. And so you can look at best practices, but from one country to the next, they're going to be nuances that are critical. So yeah, it's at that level of starting to customize an offering that makes the most sense. So you, we don't have a ton of time left. So I really want to ask all the panelists to think about, you know, here at CES, what's your call to the technology community? What types of technology? are you most excited about the potential of what tech? What do we still need to be working on? And how do you hope to engage with the people who are here at this show and beyond?

 
Carlos Reyes 

So, so, maybe in the common case, as you've seen, we're working with machine learning algorithms, for one venues to just look at the way we are using this kind of technology in finding new ways or better users of these things. information. That's one side. One other thing that will be very interesting is the move from this basic diagnosis of the house into prototyping. What kind of Home Improvements do these houses actually need, using lean technologies or others, that were working with several NGOs and companies in the country to try to think about that. And maybe in general, how we can harness these technologies to update like four more registries and the formal in databases that many municipalities and local governments have to run their cities, right. And those are just three of them many different options in possibilities for collaboration that we are seeking in the tech community.

 

Elyse Winer 

Great. Anything else?

 
Saber Chowdhury 

Yeah, I think you know what, essentially technology is evolving so fast. That you know, we I won't say that this particular technology because we don't know what will happen in ces 2021 will come up with a new ideas but the areas where we are looking At first is to measure and understand risk. I think it sounds pretty basic, but that's very, very important than how we process that risk and how we manage it. And also, I think, you know, if you're talking about cities and Resilient Cities, there's already an element of risk which we have accumulated from the past. It's not to create new risk. So what can we do to make sure that any new infrastructure that's coming up, and that's, that's it's a huge area, you know, so whether it's drought, whether it is monitoring, the situation with rivers, whether it is seeing how sea level rise is coming in mapping, salinity inclusion, I think these are all areas which are which are going to be certainly relevant to Bangladesh. I think the other aspect, which I would mention is we have a young population, we have one of the youngest populations in the world. And if you look at the way it is coming up as a sector in Bangladesh, so I think what that does is I mean, if there is an idea if there is someone here with an idea, then You can partner with companies in Bangladesh, and also use the local talent which is available in this field. I think so Bangladesh is, you know, not just identifying the problems, but we can also contribute resources to a potential partnership. I think that's very important.
 

Elyse Winer 

That's right. And are there incentives or programs to help encourage?
 

Saber Chowdhury 

Yes. Together funds from the ICT ministry, especially encouraging startups. So you know, a startup in Bangladesh can always partner with another one. overseas, you know, can introduce an idea. But I think as I mentioned it me more to customize it, you know, to make sure that it's the right fit for Bangladesh. Maybe the concept has been proven in America, for instance, but let's see how we can customize it in the context of Bangladesh. So we are looking at good practices, which once we take over will become a best practice in the context of Bangladesh.

 
Atishay Abbhi 

I think both at CES and largely to the tech community. I think that while it's being its disruptive, I see it as something very basic. And when I say basic, it's beneficial, it should be accessible. It should be scalable. ingenious, for sure, and customizable, I, like I mentioned earlier, and I think, with open to all technologies, and you've heard from them the challenges that they're facing. So come collaborate, work with us work with countries directly to understand what they need. And also think about 10 years later, where the countries would be and where they want to go, and how can you contribute to sort of through technology to catalyze the movement forward?
 

Elyse Winer 

That's right. So so we have a bit of time for some questions from the audience. You'll see there two podiums right here with microphones. So if you have any questions for the panelists, please feel free to stand up and you can address the panel directly.
 
 
Hi, I'm Gabriela Ehrlich from the IEC. I would have more a comment I've seen I've heard quite a bit about customization. And one of the things and we work with the World Bank, it's one of the things we do is Bangladesh is a member. Columbia is a member of the IC. One of the things you should think about before you go into absolute customization is standardization. We produce international standards, your countries are members participate. That way you get the standards you need, and you can buy the technologies, even if they're innovative, they have to plug into stuff that exists already. So if you work with that, that's an important enabler, it will give you access to the world market and with that more affordability and long term investment, that would be a tip from from the IC. Thank you.
 

Elyse Winer 

Any other questions? Comments? Okay, well, I know the panelists will be available if you have any additional questions, but I just want to thank everyone for coming here from any from very far away and participating in this very timely discussion. And I'm excited that you'll have the opportunity to meet with a lot of technologists here at CES who could hope to hopefully partner with their countries to create change. So thank you, everyone. And thank you, panelists.

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