We know what would be on our X-mas list if we lived in the U.K, Ireland or Sweden: Wattson, a sleek smart energy home product from design shop DIY Kyoto. Wattson and it’s software component, Holmes, can wirelessly monitor your home’s energy consumption and enable you to manage and reduce your energy bill and carbon emissions.
For the holiday season this year, DIY Kyoto has launched its community site, the Wattson Village, so that all Wattson fans can compare and contrast their energy consumption. Users upload their energy consumption, and it’s displayed in average watts per day, energy consumption per month and week and money spent on their energy bill.
Social networking and community features are a very important aspect of home energy management systems, as the raw emotions of life — competition, shame, embarrassment, desire to fit in — are major motivators. For residents of the Wattson Village, it looks like wanting to be a part of an early-adopter do-gooder community, eco-pride and a little competitiveness are the main driving factors.
At this point the Wattson Village has just a little more than 100 users, and it would benefit from more customization features. The main way users can clearly customize their pages is through the notes section, which is basically a list of comments below the user’s energy data. (For example, one user tries to justify his high energy bill by explaining that his house in Finland is freezing and needs to be heated a lot.) The company says it has implemented a tagging feature so that users can point out where they’re saving money, but I didn’t see a lot of people using those features. The Wattson images should also be able to be customized more — adding colors, background, etc. At this point all of the users have the same white (but cute) anime-style Wattson logo; light customization could enable hardcore users to stand out and make the community more sticky.
DIY Kyoto also released a new version of its software Holmes, which it says has smoothed out a few bugs and is easier to install. The new version has added an eject button to more easily disconnect Wattson and the software upgrade also enables users to more easily export energy data, delete energy data that’s no longer needed and display additional currencies. Sounds good, guys. Keep the upgrades a-coming.
DIY Kyoto was founded by three designers from the Royal College of London and the team says its gadget, which costs £149.50 ($292) can cut a user’s annual electricity bill by 5-20 percent.
Interested in how the social network effect can play a role in combating climate change? Check out our Green:Net conference in March. We’ll have a full panel dedicated to this question, along with lots of other great content!