Energy-tracking blockchain projects win Future Cities Hackathon
The second annual Future Cities Hackathon has been won by two teams (pictured), both of whom have utilised blockchain technology to reward energy efficiency among Australian households and businesses.
The hackathon was part of the Future Cities Project developed by WWF-Australia’s virtual accelerator, Panda Labs, designed to take innovation principles and apply them to global conservation challenges. WWF-Australia partnered with Schneider Electric, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), National Australia Bank, Hackathons Australia and Brooklyn-based blockchain venture production studio ConsenSys to host the event from 23–24 November.
Held at UTS, the hackathon brought together some of the best and brightest from the fields of sustainability, design and technology, the corporate and academic world, and the start-up community. Their mission: to develop blockchain and Internet of Things-based solutions to make cities more sustainable, inclusive and accessible for all, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
One of the two winning teams, Novum Industria, developed a prototype app that tracks energy consumption and uses blockchain to reward households which reduce energy use with tokens to pay for goods and/or services with partner businesses. The app allows energy providers to spread the energy load between on/off peak times. Novum Industria also won the Consensys Prize for blockchain solutions.
The other winning team, The Action Calculator, uses data from an online Home Carbon Consumption Calculator to track a home’s carbon footprint and provide targets to reduce energy consumption. Footprint reduction is tokenised using the Ethereum blockchain platform and the reward tokens contribute to global conservation projects run by WWF. The Action Calculator also won the Footprint Reduction Prize.
The joint winners will now combine their efforts to deliver one final solution.
“We are absolutely thrilled to win the Future Cities Hackathon,” said Eli Saraf, from Novum Industria. “Inspired by the challenges of finite resources and energy-hungry humans, the team knew there was an opportunity to develop a solution to reduce wasteful and costly energy consumption.”
“We are ecstatic to have won the 2017 Hackathon and look forward to bringing our solution to homes across Australia,” added Arran Leonard, from The Action Calculator. “Our project, which is a first of its kind, brings together the partners and technology needed to reduce electricity consumption, benefit people’s wallets and support WWF’s conservation projects across the globe.”
Other innovative solutions from the hackathon include using blockchain technology to enable the sharing economy, which will encourage people to share and borrow household products (such as power tools) instead of letting them sit unused at home; and a platform that promised to revolutionise crowdfunding and civic participation in sustainable development.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman, a member of the judging panel, said disruptive technologies such as blockchain and the IoT have enormous potential.
“If channelled correctly, disruptive technologies could be used to solve the big, global problems that humanity is facing. For the past two years, the WWF team have used innovation principles as an opportunity to create new value and to channel positive community action to help achieve a planet in which humans live in harmony with nature.”
For more information on the hackathon, including the full list of category winners, visit www.wwf.org.au/futurecitiesproject.
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