A Smart House Requires Relevant Contracts


In the year of 2015 one would hardly be surprised to hear “smart house”. Almost everyone knows that it refers to some electronic components incorporated in the infrastructure of an appartment, a house, or an office. They are to make our lives more cost effective, eco-friendly, convenient, and safe.

However, we are at the earliest stages of smart houses. Regardless of abundance of relevant offers at a market, which propose gadgest to make a house smarter, the real spree will start when the concept will be integrated during construction: the walls will carry sensors for temperature, moement, sound, lighting, smoke content, antennas for distribution of various radio signals, and lots of executive mechanisms controlling power supply to devices, water supply, and access to premises.

Certainly, upkeeping of such robotic houses will be as automated as possible. It concerns not only a vacuum cleaner robot who will give your cat everyday like a lamb to a slaughter. Let us see how it could work with a multi-storeyed house. Their weak spot is centralized utilities serviced by managing companies of varying qualification and trustworthiness, and inhabitants usually have to suffer due to absence of said characteristics. A system of smart contracts to hire contractors performing duties that robots as yet are incapable of (like waste removal, holiday decorations, leasing dedicated premises at ground floor, or area cleaning), will be the basic feature of a robotic house.

At first thought it may seem hard to implement, but even a superficial analysis shows that the main thing for a house’s system is to detect that the work would be performed completely, with required quality, and within a specified time. Owners will be happy to assist, as they are the ones whom everything is done for. A simple incentive like utility service discount will cause them to go out and check for performance of the work, fill in an e-questionnaire, and digitally sign it using the secret key employed for access to a premises. It would become an integrate part of a smart contract with a contractor who gets paid when the survey returns satisfactory assessment.

Utility resources like power, water, and canalization will be based on the same principle: on the one hand, automatic valces and switches will prevent inhabitants from using the resources for free, on the other hand, sensors and experts hired via smart contracts will maintain the quality of those resources at a predetermined level.

Certainly, smart contracts may (and have to) be used not only during routine upkeep. Significant advantages thereof may bloom when it comes to leasing or purchasing real estate. Instead of a notary and endless bureaucracy, we could employ a decentralized ledger like bitcoin’s blockchain which records the owner’s public key. When the owner or his / her affiliate wants to get in the premises, they should prove they have a secret key corresponding to that recorded in the ledger. There might be lots of mechanisms to perform that, like usual larva locks, or something more complex like fingerprint or retina scanners. The locking device asks a person to sign a random like with the key, checks the record in the ledger, and opens the door if everything is fine.

Ownership transfer also happens with a smart contract which programs the price and the new owner. As soon as the new owner completes the transaction, the premises instantly become his or her property without no risks of fraud and push and drags. It is a pure, inevitable, and, if necessary, an anonymous deal. When it comes to leasing, everything is still simple: a closing mechanism will track the timely manner of transactions within the smart contract, and, if necessary, confine an indisciplined leasee within or outside the premises. Certainly, reliability of the locking mechanism shall be ensured, because should it fail, the real owner could be locked outside as well. However, this task may be performed by engineers, and it would cost significantly less than feeding an army of officials ‘responsible’ for maintenance of real estate ownership rights.

Thus, smart contracts may make a home smart not only in terms of communication, but also in terms of utility services, leasees, and purchasers. And no corrupted condominium partnerships and drunk plumbers will remain on the face of the earth.

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