Multinational services and consultancy firm Accenture has developed a smartplug that leverages blockchain technology to seek the lowest tariffs available, thereby saving money by lowering electricity costs wherever possible.
In a news story under its ‘Technology column’ today, the BBC published an article announcing Accenture’s development of a smart plug that could save money on electricity costs.
The BBC article screamed the headline “Bitcoin Could Help Cut Power Bills.” One to stir interest for sure, while a closer look at the news story sees the ‘smart plug’ powered by a smart contracts-enabled blockchain.
The smart plug works by actively seeking out different power suppliers, looking for the cheapest available tariff from a provider, with the help of smart contracts. Accenture believes that the smart plug will benefit people who pay directly for power through a meter, especially those who are on low incomes.
While no technical details have been released of the concept just yet, the potential application of lowering electricity costs for lower-income families holds promise. The possibility of a smart-contract-enabled, blockchain-powered home device stands in good stead with the much speculated oncoming wave of Internet-of-things (IoT) home devices.
Accenture’s proof-of-concept prototype will work with other power-monitoring devices, confirmed Emmanuel Viale, Accenture’s head of research in France. An embedded smart contract into the blockchain will enable the smart plug to look through energy prices when demand fluctuates to go high or drop low. Acting on behalf of the owner, the smart plug will be automated to choose the cheaper source when it finds one.
The global smart meters market is estimated to reach a value of $18.2 billion by 2019, according to an industry report. That’s a conservative estimate, as IoT enabled devices become the norm in the future, with the added potential of smart-contracts-powered, blockchain-enabled devices.
Accenture research claims that the smart plug could potentially lead to savings of over £660m ($945 million) in the UK alone.
As the world’s leading independent services firm, Accenture has made significant forays into exploring and investing in blockchain or distributed ledger technology in recent times. Notably, the company became one of the investors in blockchain-startup Digital Asset in January. A newly announced partnership following its investment with Digital Asset will also see blockchain solutions and ideas provided and deployed to the consulting firm’s global client base. Accenture services 42 of the top 50 financial institutions globally, making its blockchain endeavor a significant one to the technology that powers Bitcoin.
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