RWE, a gas and electricity provider with 30 million customers and billions in revenue, revealed to trustnodes that they are taking a keen interest in utilizing smart contract technology to save costs and increase convenience for their customers.
Confirming a newly announced partnership with Slock.it, a tech company working on smart contracts based on ethereum’s functionality, including “a smart contract that allows users to rent the station, put up a deposit, charge their [electronic] car, then get their deposit back.”, a representative of RWE stated:
“We are looking into improving the [electronic vehicle] charging customer experience while reducing infrastructure costs from many different perspectives by the use of smart contracts. We will eliminate backend systems, reduce system complexity and establish an open[ing] for entirely new charging use cases for all kind of electric vehicles.”
Describing the vision of a new enthralling future, RWE’s representative detailed how blockcharge would work. By using a computer chip in the charging station, a smartphone app to communicate with the interface, and a blockchain to manage and record all of the payment and charging data, a fully automated, worldwide authentication, charging and billing solution with no middleman is created.
“When standing at the traffic lights, your vehicle connects and authorizes itself to the inductive charging pole under the road. It negotiates the best price on your behalf, starts the charging process automatically and completes the payment process seamlessly.”
RWE stated that they are working on other, undisclosed, blockchain related implementations, announcing a blockchain hackathon with an introduction of “blockchains are eating the world” and “simply… we believe in the power of blockchains.”
The technology underlining Ethereum, the blockchain, is capturing worldwide imagination with prominent leaders in finance, academia, politics and other spheres loudly promoting blockchain’s many benefits.
Blockchain’s uses can be categorized under three aspects. The more prominent implementations relate to finance, such as Overstock’s attempt to use a blockchain backend for stock sale, Digital Asset Holding’s attempts to create a loan clearing system by employing blockchain tech and R3 which aims to use the blockchain tech as backend for underlying banking facilities.
Another use is more as record keeping or storing identifying information or even facilitating elections. Such as Everledger which registers the information of diamond owners, thus making thefts more difficult if at all possible, or the recently announced implementation of the blockchain to facilitates voting in shareholder meetings by Nasdaq.
A far more exciting use of blockchain tech however is in smart contracts, a breakthrough new technology which allows devices containing a small computer chip to communicate with each other, thus automating tasks and freeing up time, made possible because of ethereum’s quality of programmable money.
This futuristic technology is at the early stages and currently requires an infrastructure of mini-computer containing devices, so allowing them to communicate.
Imagine, for example, your fridge communicating with your supermarket to order your weekly shopping while negotiating the best price, requiring your attention only when the delivery man is at the door. Or your electricity system communicating with your power company for the best price in a second by second basis, the airplane communicating with oil producers, or the train with your smart card or the car with your parking lot machine, billing you be the second.
This is a vision of a world where complex brains need no longer carry out menial tasks, with computer empowered devices providing you all you need on a second by second basis.
Who knows, we might even get flying cars after all.