Blockchain

Blockchain Patent Filed by Walmart for Smart Appliance Management

Walmart has been leading the race in order to expand the usage of blockchain technology in its framework and has filed another blockchain patent regarding smart managing appliances.

In the most recent patent presented forward by Walmart, the usage of blockchain technology in order to manage smart appliances such as kiosk for the receipt of drone-delivered packages and a smart home system is explained and elaborated in detail. The internet of things (IoT) system has been prevalent around the globe already and the recently submitted patent by Walmart discusses the same IoT system to be deployed using the blockchain framework to provide an smart ecosystem. The patent discloses that the distributed ledger technology will be employed at the core to keep things in transparent and in order. According to the abstract:

“A computing system receives, from a smart appliance associated with an appliance type, a transaction request associated with a transfer between a user and a profile manager, and determines whether a transaction ledger includes transaction data associated with a reference transaction. The reference transaction is associated with a reference configuration of an appliance associated with the appliance type. On condition that the transaction ledger includes the transaction data, the computing system transmits a configuration instruction to the smart appliance to automatically configure the smart appliance to operate in accordance with the reference configuration, and communicates with one or more nodes in a network to validate a transaction associated with the transfer.”

The incorporation of IoT framework at a miniature level will provide the retail giant with opportunities to revamp the services it provides.

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,

According to the patent, the users will wear a device that will provide them with access to a secure deposit box, and using this box or kiosk the users will be able to receive goods delivered by drones revitalizing the delivery system for the retail giant. It is stated that:

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.

In the patent presented, the ability to build a smart home system is also elaborated in detail. The patent mentions that it will be using the blockchain framework to develop different kinds of environments such as home environment, healthcare environment, retails environment etc. It is stated that:

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.

Regarding the security aspect of the entire ecosystem, the framework deployed will be making the use of public and private keys to encrypt and secure the transaction data. The security and transparency that the blockchain technology provides cannot be denied. It is mentioned in the patent that:

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.

As the blockchain technology progresses more and more, the recent patent filed by Walmart is just another step taken by the organization towards owing the ground of blockchain technology. In July, another patent was also filed by the retail giant revolving around delivery of packages. Walmart has also filed for patents in the domain of medical record storage systems and blockchain-based digital marketplace. For medical record system, it is stated in the patent that:

“A method for obtaining a medical record of a patient that is unable to communicate, wherein the medical record of the patient is stored on a blockchain, is provided, including receiving an encrypted private key and a public key associated with the patient stored on a wearable device of the patient, in response to a scanning of the wearable device of the patient at a scene of an emergency, wherein the encrypted private key is decrypted by a biometric signature of the patient, obtaining the biometric signature of the patient by scanning a bodily feature of the patient, decrypting the encrypted private key using the biometric signature of the patient to determine a private key associated with the patient, and accessing the medical records of the patient, using a combination of the public key and the private key associated with the patient, to access a local storage medium of the wearable device.”

The retail giant is looking to engulf the blockchain space for innovative and groundbreaking future developments. After filing another patent, the retail giant is looking to expand its territory in the world of blockchain and completely revitalize its delivery system using the newest technological framework. The concepts mentioned in the new patent can also be used to develop home entertainment systems and IoT systems deployed using the smart appliance technology based on blockchain.

As blockchain promises to be the future of technological innovations, these steps taken by Walmart to file patents concerning the usage of blockchain might prove to be beneficial for the retail giant. Regarding the importance of blockchain,  Seo Young-il, Vice President of Korean Telecom stated that:

Blockchain will be among the central technologies for digitization in the fourth industrial revolution.

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