Mar 07, 2009 - 0 Comments - Uncategorized -

WattzOn

I met somone by the name of Raffi Krikorian (1) while in New York couple of years ago. The Founder of Synthesis Studios (2) and an MIT media lab graduate (3) and an adjunct lecturer at the Interactive Telecommunications program for the NYUs Tisch School of Arts (4). He created something called WattzOn (5). I met him prior to his success and I’m assuming WattzOn was just a conceptual idea in his head at the time along with his company.

image012We are currently in an era where saving the environment has become fashionable. Whether this is a good or bad thing is not an argument for this blog post. But nevertheless saving the planet has become a trend and more of us are recycling taking public transport, eating organic foods, driving economically, carpooling and many others. You’re probably thinking what has this got to do with communities online. Well.. certainly there are communities in the real world that encourage people in their neighborhood and each other to participate in recycling, saving water, electricity and so on probably more so in the United States and mainland Europe than Britain. But is there scope for this to be online? In a manner that can be socially interactive and competitive? Can we take personal informatics to a new level by just branching it out into a new area? The answer is yes and I believe it is WattzOn!

image013There’s a social network called Dopplr, which I’ve been a member of for the past few years. It takes your personal travel data to a whole new level. In it’s infancy it would only allow it’s users to input their flight information which I thought was ingenious. There was nothing around like it on the web at the time. Along with it’s beautiful design I believe that’s one of the reasons which has made it popoular. I love using Dopplr, unfortunately I’m not the jet setting type and that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to be it’s just that a students back account constantly gives a firm and decisive ‘no’ when I ask it. Dopplr have expanded their travel information since then incorporating car, bus, train, bike and other modes of transportation. When ‘being green’ came into fashion the people at Dopplr implemented a very cool feature which calculates your carbon emissions (on average) depending how far you’re going and what mode of transportation you are talking (6). I believe WattzOn will do the same with the way we use mother earth’s consumables for the modern man.

image016So what is WattzOn? ‘WattzOn is a free online tool to quantify, track, compare and understand the total amount of energy needed to support all of the facets of your lifestyle with the goal of helping you find ways to reduce your personal power consumption’. What they have developed and what implications it may have in the future in such an early stage of the life cycle of this project which gained business week’s Idea of the year 2008 (7, 8) is remarkable. Now knowing what WattzOn is I think one can clearly see the prospects to develop and extremely vibrant and popular social network around it. Imagine a place where you can compete against other users on power consumption and other consumables. Imagine if you will a social network or a social network application that may be installed on to your Facebook page that perhaps will compete with other users. You could create a social network around the whole concept where popularity or friends on your network is not the ‘in’ thing. Instead lets say… have the most efficient account or the lowest conspution/power rates from your home and daily life would be. I think most importantly they’ve developed an application programming interface (api). Good apis are important in the future development of a social network/web application. It enables others to plug in to the key feature of a social network and take advantage of them.

I think the potential and scope for communities to evolve around this platform will be tremendous. Strongly recommended to watch what they do next and how they develop the into the next stages and what implications it may have on us was web and social network users.

The people over at Google are working on a similar concept, but not quite what WattzOn is. But most definitely have the potential to plug in to what WattzOn is trying to accomplish. (9)

1. Raffi Krikorian Available from: http://www.synthesisstudios.com/about/raffi
2. Startup Company Synthesis Studios Available from: http://www.synthesisstudios.com/
3. Boston, Masachesetts, United States of America MIT: Media Lab [internet] http://www.media.mit.edu/
4. New York, New York, United States of America, New York University: ITP http://itp.nyu.edu/itp/
5. Synthesis Studios, Boston: WattzOn Available from: http://www.wattzon.com
6. Bruce Sterling (2008) Wired Magazin: Carbon overview from DOPPLR http://blog.wired.com/sterling/2008/05/carbon-overview.html
7. Raffi Krikorian (2008) WattzOn Blog: Best Idea of 2008 [internet] Available from: http://blog.wattzon.com/2008/12/11/one-of-the-best-ideas-of-2008/
8. Business Week Best Idea of the Year (2008) [internet] Available From: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/12/1210_best_worst_innovation/36.htm
9. Google Power Meter http://www.google.org/powermeter/howitworks.html