EV fast charging – Blockchain and IoT – Singapore

Singapore Startup Blockchainfirst on Jan. 26 launched a blockchain-enabled EV/multi-purpose charging station that accommodates electric cars, motorbikes and bicycles. The “Ethan BIoT Charging Station,” as it’s been dubbed, is the first of a planned series of blockchain-enabled commercial products the company intends to introduce this year.

Intended for use by by governments (B2C), companies (B2B/B2C) and individuals (P2P), Ethan BioT Charging Stations have four main features, Blockchainfirst founder Juergen Schaar explains in a Jan. 26 news report:

  • Fast-charging of electric vehicles (EVs) “Type 2 IEC 61851–1” e.g. BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf
  • Charging of electric motorbikes and bicycles
  • Payment with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether, either via a standard Wallet App e.g. Jaxx or via RFID/NFC Card
  • An optional, built-in IoT OIracle with as many as six sensors for capturing environmental data, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), temperature, humidity, acoustics, light and pressure.

Several distinct modules and components go into manufacturing of Blockchainfirst’s Ethan BIoT Charging Stations:

  • A charging controller for the charging cycle and communication with the car
  • Electrical components e.g. relays, power supply, etc.
  • An industrial Ethan BIoT© Device
  • The optional IoT Oracle for capturing environmental data.

At the system’s core is a custom-designed industrial SOC (System On Chip) with cryptographic functions built in.

The Singapore-based blockchain product/systems developer and consulting company introduced a set of Ethan BIoT devices at International Blockchain Week 2016 in Shanghai. This included a connected remote control gate/door opener, vending machine (candy), smart electricity meter and light bulb, Schaar noted.

Positive feedback received from exhibition/conference participants, the blockchain development community and others served to confirm Blockchainfirst’s belief that the organization was on the right track. That led the company to invest more in developing practical, easy-to-use blockchain-enabled products, Schaar recounted.

Blockchainfirst isn’t the first to introduce a blockchain-enabled electric vehicle (EV) charging station. Germany’s Slock.it launched a beta version of its Share&Charge peer-to-peer (P2P) EV charging station and mobile app last September.

Both Blockchainfirst and Slock.it used the Ethereum platform to develop their EV charging station blockchains.

Ultimately, we aim to extend this concept to bring value to operators of mobility services, to easily share or rent their mobility assets, including energy, parking spots, and eventually even the vehicles themselves

Slock.it co-founder and COO Stephan Tual

…and for Distributed Energy Microgrids

Innovators are combining blockchain and IoT tech elsewhere in the power-energy sector, particularly in the distributed energy-microgrid market space. ¨The earliest adopters of blockchain will likely not be utilities, but other stakeholders,” Navigant Research principal research analysts and report authors Stuart Ravens and Neil Strother wrote in recently released market research.

“At present, those leading the research into blockchain are the owners of distributed energy resources (DER) and startups seeking to sell directly to them.¨

One promising application is using blockchain apps, smart contracts and distributed databases to integrate distributed energy resources into micro- and larger power grids, E7 Ventures founder and CEO David Cohen explained in a Microgrid Media interview.

¨Blockchain technology can be used to synchronize both real-time pricing signals for fast-response grid services with real time phasor control systems in order to balance microgrid operations with the distribution system and wholesale market operations,¨ Cohen said.

¨In essence, blockchain can provide the visibility and accountability to enable transactive energy systems by integrating both electrical, ‘cyberphysical’ and financial systems.”

Employers and Manufacturers Association Conference – Auckland NZ

I will be spending this Friday at the EMA Digi_X event talking about the Internet of Things to a sold out conference.

As one of the recognised disruptors in the NZ market I hope to be able to bring some information that can help technology in NZ jump from 3rd biggest industry to challenge that of farming and tourism.

Everybody is talking about how there’s an “Uber-for-everything”. And if there isn’t one now, there’s about to be and it could drastically kill your market share.

From robot lawyers to chat bots to immersive 3D shopfronts and workplaces – big change is happening everywhere.  These technology shifts will highlight opportunities for new revenue streams, help reduce costs and future proof your competitive advantage.  Some of these technologies can be inexpensive and easily integrated.We must fundamentally reshape our perspective on what our organisational structures should look like. We need to assess  our talent capability, supply chain structure and also realign our business model to focus on future customer demands.

We are lucky enough to have expert speakers from IBM, Amazon Web Services, Air New Zealand, Thinxtra and Goat Ventures, to name a few, who will discuss exactly that, including:

  • Digitally enabled supply chain – the key to the ultimate customer experience
  • Transitioning from physical business to digital enterprise – the hurdles between you and the finish line
  • Creating rich product experiences – customer immersion in Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Real-time is the internet of things – not just what, but when
  • Seamless Customer Experiences – Evolving to Omni-channel
  • If it’s obvious, it could be time for artificial intelligence
  • Using access to grow your business – mobility for your teams
  • Designing experiences for your customers not users

With all this talk about disruption and innovation, digital is no longer just about front-facing websites and marketing. It is about every aspect of your business: what you do, how you do it and which tools will actually help you reach your goals.

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Transportation progress – Deloitte on NZ Infrastructure

New Zealand’s central and local government transport agencies should take a well-deserved bow. But they can’t rest for long in the face of dual challenges from increasing customer expectations and digital disruption.

Over the last decade we have seen real momentum in dealing with the supply side of our transport infrastructure in the fight against congestion and its impact on productivity, liveability and social standards in our major cities.

Wellington and Auckland have new and larger fleets of passenger trains. Double decker buses are becoming more commonplace on our urban roads. Ticketing systems are smarter. And our largest transport project ever, the $3 billion City Rail Link (CRL) in Auckland’s CBD, is underway. When completed, the CRL will deliver much needed capacity for the rail network as well as a massive boost for development in the areas of the city it will serve.

Let’s not forget our roads that do the heavy lifting in terms of urban mobility. The Government’s Roads of National Significance (RoNS) programme is in full implementation. The 2.4 km ($1.4 billion) Waterview Tunnel, a key piece of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, is set to open this year, connecting Pt Chevalier and Mt Roskill. The Kapiti Expressway has recently opened north of Wellington and Transmission Gully is underway. These are two of the eight projects that make up the Wellington Northern Corridor.

Both the Western Ring Route and Wellington Northern Corridor are among the seven RoNS projects, already completed or under construction, around Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. When completed these projects will provide much needed transport resilience to New Zealand’s five largest population centres.

Central and local government agencies are now much more joined up in their planning and aware of the need to consult with key stakeholders. Last year’s report from the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) shows how planners across the levels of government can work towards a common goal. Similarly, the Let’s Get Wellington Moving initiative is aimed at building consensus around the future transportation system for the nation’s capital.

The $4 billion more ($11 billion over four years) of infrastructure spend in Budget 2017 continues to build on this demand-side momentum.

As part of Budget 2017, the Government has announced that it will invest $9.17 billion in capital into the state highway network over the next four years, including $4.4 billion from the National Land Transport Fund. This funding will progress a number of transport projects over the next four years including:

  • The completion of Auckland’s Western Ring Route
  • Northern and Southern Corridor State Highway 1 improvements in Auckland
  • The Transmission Gully and Puhoi to Warkworth Public Private Partnerships
  • The State Highway 1 Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway

In addition, the government has allocated $812 million toward repairing State Highway 1 north and south of Kaikoura and $436 million of new capital for Auckland’s City Rail Link (as the first tranche of funding).  It will also invest $548 million of new capital funding to maintain and upgrade the rail network, including $450m for KiwiRail over the next 2 years.

Everyone agrees that we can’t build our way out of the congestion problem.  Supply side action is also needed. Our hero needs to be transport pricing – a key recommendation in the final ATAP report and with options now being developed by transport planners. The other driver for changing the way we charge for using our roads is the impending wave of electric vehicles over the next 3-5 years that will begin to undermine traditional fuel based revenue collection systems.

Dynamic road pricing and real time traffic information, using the internet of things (IoT), is a key part of the mobility domain in Deloitte’s Smart City framework. Deloitte’s 360° Smart City looks across every aspect of a city’s operations to use technology to improve outcomes. The result is an urban centre – underpinned by digital infrastructure – that not only leverages technology to improve its own operations, but connects with citizens, business, and non-profits in new ways.

Transport pricing is just one element of a broader trend towards mobility as a service (MaaS). MaaS is all about meeting the increasing customer demand for choice when it comes to mobility. Customers want to be able to plan their journeys by integrating travel across multiple modes (both privately and publicly managed) using a single platform and payment channel.

But with MaaS will come even more disruption to traditional business models and planning paradigms for urban transport. We have already seen how Uber has turned the point to point travel market on its head. Public and private players will need to collaborate and work together across multiple markets and sectors, including those outside of the traditional transport sector such as property, insurance, energy and telecommunications.

Deciding on where government plays in the future of mobility ecosystem and how it embraces collaboration and technology change will be critical decisions for our transport agencies in order to maintain the momentum of the last decade. While there might still be differing views about what the future will look like, we can be certain that the pace of change to be faster than we have seen in the past.

You can explore Deloitte’s 360° Smart City framework and content across different domains – mobility, security, education, living, environment, and economy – smartcity.deloitte.com.