Ikea’s R&D laboratory Space10 has teamed up with blockchain ventures Bloc and Blocktech and architects SachsNottveit to develop a prototype clean energy microgrid that could enable communities to be self-sufficient for their electricity supply.
“Centralised energy systems are often too slow and economically inadequate to reach the billion people who remain locked in energy poverty,” says Bas Van De Poel, Creative Director at Space10. “The SolarVille project showcases that, when working in tandem, technologies such as solar panels, micro-grids and blockchain open new opportunities: off-grid systems allowing people to leapfrog traditional grid electricity.”
Ikea already sells solar panels and battery storage systems and SolarVille could be a sign that the furniture retailer is looking to expand this side of its business. “We are curious and always looking for innovative ideas that can help more people live a better life within the limits of the planet,” comments Torbjörn Lööf, CEO at Inter Ikea Group.
“Space10 gives us new perspectives, discovering new opportunities within many different areas. It will be very interesting to learn how this combination of new technology and solar energy solutions can make lives better for many people.”
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has launched JD Chain, a blockchain framework for businesses.
This follows on from a blockchain technology open platform, which enables businesses to leverage pre-built APIs. The new addition means that companies can now build their own solutions, starting from the underlying architecture and without relying on pre-built APIs. This will be complemented by the JD Chain Open Source Community, which aims to promote greater discussions and pooling of resources among blockchain developers and enterprise users.
“JD has long been a trailblazer in pushing the boundaries of blockchain’s potential to transform global commerce,” says Xinlei Zhai, Head of Blockchain at JD.com. “Through JD Chain and the JD Chain Open Source Community, we are empowering enterprises to leverage the vast technological resources at our disposal to develop their own blockchain solutions, creating greater security, efficiency and transparency across all of their operations.”
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3.) Albertsons Companies
Food and drug chain Albertsons Companies has signed up with IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform.
The retailer, which operates nearly 2,300 stores across the US, will pilot Food Trust for tracing bulk romaine lettuce from one of its distribution centres. It will then explore expanding to other food categories throughout its distribution network. It is looking to overcome the obstacles that have existed when a traceback is initiated for a product like romaine and is evaluating ways to highlight the provenance of its Own Brands portfolio.
Since it launched in October 2018, Food Trust has grown to incorporate around 80 clients, with over five million food products now using blockchain technology as part of their delivery process.
“Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner,” says Jerry Noland, VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Albertsons Companies. “Consequently, retailers are exploring new technologies to improve the infrastructure that underpins the global food supply chain.”
4.) Domino’s Pizza
Domino’s Pizza Malaysia & Singapore has announced a partnership with decentralised platform/AI venture SingularityNET.
It will be using SingularityNET’s AI algorithms to help optimise people’s time and resources and ways to deliver goods. The deal is pitched as the first time a multi-national company has chosen a decentralised open source AI solution instead of a closed circuit, centralised standard player to meet these challenges. All activities will be recorded and monetised using the SingularityNET native token.
“We are currently in the midst of transforming our core products and our data delivery platform to bring more speed and efficiency to our customers. Our newest transformation effort is occurring in our operations function, where we are automating significant portions of our delivery operations and consolidating our operations centres. SingularityNET’s AI algorithms and services will allow us to explore these efficiencies at scale,” says Domino’s Chief Executive Officer Ba U Shan-Ting.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten will launch its cryptocurrency exchange, Rakuten Wallet, in June.
This was recently renamed from Everybody’s Bitcoin and will start accepting applications for accounts in April. Rakuten acquired the exchange last year for 265 million yen, a few months after Japanese authorities issued a business improvement order against Everybody’s Bitcoin due to concerns about its risk management system.
Rakuten said at the time: “We expect that the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future. In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function.”
It has now completed a restructuring process, including formulating a business improvement plan and strengthening business management and internal control systems.