01/01/2013 04:06 pm ET Updated Mar 03, 2013

Can We Combine Technology, Economic Savings and Social Networks?

Can we use social media to play a role in mobilizing consumers and achieving energy savings?

The proliferation of social networks creates a tremendous opportunity for broadcasting and sharing information. We become more and more aware of the impact of these networks in our daily life. Those tools could have a new usage impacting on smart grids whose goal is to reduce energy consumption and to avoid grid saturation or disequilibrium between supply and demand. The contribution of communities is a catalyst on energy savings, valorizing the real-time raised information (from the grid to social networks) and providing a whole range of offers and value add services within the portfolio of all the energy distribution stakeholders (utilities, government, telecommunication companies).

We are undoubtedly entering a new era in the energy management: Energy 2.0 or Internet 3.0 (moving from virtual world to tangible actions). In a context of sustainable development, a single consumer can ask some practical questions: What is the minimum energy needed to cool one's home? What are the configuration settings of the thermostat? Is one's consumption in line with one's profile? Can one's utility send a notification when one reaches a certain level of consumption... ?

New kind of social networks and energy platforms are starting to address that need. A complete social network such as integrating the "Internet of things -- between 2011 and 2020 the number of connected devices globally will grow from 9 billion to 24 billion as the benefit of connecting more and varied devices is achieved." -- and targeting the improvement of consumer's energy behavior, using the social incentives (building a whole knowledge database and challenging the community).

"The parallel comparison between individual's data (recovered through sensors installed in offices/homes) and traditional communities of users will undeniably be a powerful lever in improving the network management, an inexhaustible source of value-added services and an important tool for reducing energy demand."

Tomorrow's users will come together for information in different communities to their consumption challenges, discuss different data and thus achieve a kind of knowledge base and suggest ways of improving the service or set up a system community control.

In fact changing the consumption behavior and putting the users at the heart of decision-making, assisting them with a "best practices" database and raising the awareness about energy issues will have during the coming year a big impact in our daily life and energy perception.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The World Economic Forum in recognition of the latter's Global Shapers initiative. The Global Shapers Community is a worldwide network of city-based hubs developed and led by young entrepreneurs, activists, academics, innovators, disruptors and thought leaders. Aged between 20 and 30, they are exceptional in their achievements and drive to make a positive contribution to their communities. Follow the Global Shapers on Twitter at @globalshapers or nominate a Global Shaper at