Walmart Files Blockchain Patent for Smart Appliance Management

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Walmart has filed another patent application in the blockchain sector entitled “Managing Smart Applications Using Blockchain Technology.”

The filing follows a number of previous applications for blockchain patents including blockchain package delivery systems, medical record storage systems, and a blockchain-based digital marketplace.

The most recent patent application, published on Aug. 2, details systems and methods that can be used to manage smart appliances, including a kiosk for the receipt of drone-delivered packages and potentially a smart home system, among other use cases.

IoT Ecosystem

The patent discusses the use of a blockchain server network to support an IoT (internet of things) ecosystem.

“The blockchain server network includes one or more secondary or second server systems that use one or more server-side applications to provide one or more client-side services at one or more other resources in the IoT ecosystem.”

“A resource in the IoT ecosystem may be associated with one or more roles and, thus, is associated with a single role in the context of a single corresponding transaction,” the inventors added.

Kiosk for Receipt of Packages by Unmanned Drones

walmart IoT blockchain

Users will wear a device that gives them access to a securely locked deposit box or kiosk where they may receive goods delivered by drones.

“A user may obtain a kiosk and add the newly obtained kiosk to the distributed ledger structure utilizing their smart device to provision and/or authorize the kiosk. In one example, the user device may be a wearable device that maintains the private key used to authorize the transaction. The kiosk may sync with the user device and be automatically provisioned as a home delivery station and added as a device in the distributed ledger management system”

Smart Home

The patent mentions the possibility that the technology could be used to create a smart home system.

“The appliance management environment described herein may be used in a broad range of environments including, without limitation, a home environment, a media environment, an environmental monitoring environment, a manufacturing environment, an energy management environment, a healthcare environment, a transportation environment, a retail environment, an agricultural environment, and the like,” the patent applicants said.

Data Encryption

The technology will make use of public and private keys to securely encrypt transaction data.

“The cypher module is a component of the appliance management environment that transforms data between a plurality of forms…. A message including information in plaintext form, for example, may be encrypted to generate and/or identify encrypted information in cyphertext form.”

The patent is one of Walmart’s broader expeditions into the world of blockchain and may signify the retail giant upping its game in terms of staking a claim to crucial blockchain technologies early on as the patent could conceivably revitalize Walmart’s delivery system in conjunction with the previous patent filed in July.

The concepts in the new patent may also be adopted in homes to augment home entertainment and IoT systems with blockchain smart appliance technology.

Images from Shutterstock

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Conor is a cryptocurrency journalist and an ICO writing consultant at The Written Craft content service. He's an advocate of decentralized public control of finance, an off-grid enthusiast, and really fun at parties too. Follow him on Twitter @iWriteCrypto to hear him roar.