Ormera – when billing process meets Blockchain technology

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How many of you remember PostFinance closely following the development of Blockchain technology?

The financial services unit of Swiss Post, PostFinance, in partnership with Energie Wasser Bern (ewb) officially announced the launch of the start-up Ormera established in September. Ormera is the first permissioned Blockchain operated jointly by partners.

Decentralized, efficient and secure

Does the 3 letters B4U rings a bell ?

It is closed enough to B4G (Blockchain 4 Good- the Blockchain Humanizer initiave ran by a 500 Fortune company) but with a much more focus on Utility (Yes, the ‘U’ comes from there).

If you may still wonder what the 3 original letters are about, have a look at Matthias E. (a former project manager at PostFinance and the current Co-CEO at Ormera) thoughts on Smart energy billing via Blockchain . Being the project initiator of B4U, his previous positions includes software solutions marketing for the energy sector.

  ”Since the the energy act came into force last year, homeowners with photovoltaic systems are now allowed to use the electricity they produce themselves directly, and to charge their tenants for it. To make billing economically viable and efficient, an automated process is required” advanced Matthias.

For this reason ewb in collaboration with PostFinance wanted to develop a solution that enables simple and efficient billing.

A new platform for easy electricity billing

Ormera provides a simple, clear portal for measuring and billing self-generated electricity. The process is based on highly secure blockchain technology operated in Switzerland, is fully automated and cuts administrative costs for users. PostFinance developed the Ormera concept in cooperation with ewb as part of its innovation process.

The cloud-based Ormera platform simplifies complex and expensive electricity billing. It combines smart electricity meters, as Internet of things components, with blockchain technology. The power production data is stored here and used for the automatic billing of consumption and production data.

Ormera was created in light of changes in the Swiss energy system. Whereas energy supply was essentially organized centrally in the past, the trend today is increasingly towards decentralized production and local consumption.

Since the new Energy Act entered into force, homeowners can sell the power they generate using their own photovoltaic systems, for example. The administrative processes involved are complex. As a solution, Ormera provides a platform that fully automates the entire electricity billing process. Ormera is primarily aimed at energy supply companies, energy and real estate service providers and property management firms.

Transparency thanks to blockchain

Blockchain technology provides the ideal basis for storing and processing data transparently and reliably. Data in the blockchain cannot be modified retrospectively and transactions are securely verified. Ormera is based on the blockchain infrastructure launched at the end of 2018 and operated jointly by Swiss Post and Swisscom. This is the first “private blockchain” in Switzerland to be operated jointly by partners. The data remains completely in Switzerland and the infrastructure meets stringent banking security standards.

Concept emerged from innovation process

The idea of linking the energy industry with payment transactions through Ormera emerged as part of PostFinance’s innovation process. New, highly promising future concepts are constantly being discussed and presented as projects at the PFLab – the company’s in-house innovation lab. The ‘open innovation’ approach – in other words, opening up the innovation process to external parties – plays a key role here.

In the case of Ormera, the PFLab brought Energie Wasser Bern (ewb) on board right from the outset. The energy supply company of the city of Berne provided valuable expertise from the energy sector from the very start. After a successful pilot phase in autumn 2018, the platform was launched in May this year with various partners, including the energy service providers Eniwa AG, Società Elettrica Sopracenerina SA (SES) and IB Langenthal AG.

Ormera also works with the technology partner ABB to simplify the direct link between measurement data and the blockchain. Ormera AG, founded by PostFinance and ewb, has been operating as an independent start-up since September 2019.

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