Authenticated power outlets say Show Me the Money
I like pre-WWI English fiction. Often the hero/heroine lives in a London flat that seems from the viewpoint of almost a
century later to be more like camping than urban living. For example, you had to deposit coins to get your basic utilities like gas and electricity. Pop in a coin and get electricity to power your lamp for the evening. It seems so quaint. And inconvenient.
Everything old is new again: Sony recently introduced a concept demo of its authentication power outlet cloud-based system, where the outlet can check and make sure you’re an approved user of the power outlet, or manage devices on the outlet in times of power shortage, or charge you for using the power for your hairdryer or to recharge your laptop or cell phone. If you’re looking for power, you’ll need to pay for it with a NFC (near-field) card that’s read by the authentication power outlet, and communicated via what Sony calls its “RFID over powerline” communication system. Overall management of the system will reside in the cloud.
According to Sony’s press release, “The “Authentication
Outlet” is equipped with a contactless IC chip in the plug of the electrical device, while the electrical outlet is embedded with a contactless IC card reader/writer, controller or communication interface. When an electrical device is plugged into an outlet, the “Authentication Outlet” identifies a specific user or electrical device for authentication and matches it with each instance of electricity consumption. The adoption of the cryptographic communication technology used in FeliCa enables the outlet to quickly and correctly authenticate a device, while also preventing identity theft.”
In the future, Sony predicts, “your electric vehicle will come equipped with payment processing functions, which will let you recharge your vehicle anywhere in town without hassles.” OK – electricity charging costs for autos can mount up, and it makes sense you should pay individually for that level of usage. Or management of non-essential electronics during rolling blackouts makes sense also.’ On the other hand, giving society the ability to micro-manage low-level power consumption and thus prevent what the company terms “electricity theft” doesn’t sound like a step forward.
Here’s a concept video posted by Sony. The tag line is, “Sony wants to create a new relationship between people and energy.”