BillonBillon has a Trusted Document Management (TDM) PoC project with Tauron, one of the biggest energy providers in Poland. The companies are testing the possibility of sending and storing contracts (signed by Tauron’s clients) and other documents on Billon’s distributed ledger. A web-based platform would provide access.

Filip Grzegorczyk, president of Tauron Management Board
Filip Grzegorczyk, president of Tauron Management Board

Filip Grzegorczyk, president of Tauron Management Board, comments: “Tauron looks for solutions to streamline operations and optimize business costs along the entire value chain, from energy production to customer relations. By introducing a secure digital tool to facilitate customer service we respond to the importance of digital technologies and their widespread use by consumers.

Tauron’s motivation

Tauron is Poland’s largest electricity provider. It supplies over 5.5 million clients. This PoC seeks to leverage the capacity of Billon’s secure enterprise DLT system to save and store complete high-value documents on a blockchain, together with remote signing and proof of delivery. The solution has commercial relevance – saving costs. It also has social relevance in Covid-19 times of social distancing.

The main driver for the project is testing how digital solutions can replace paper contracts delivery to enhance cost-effective and secure communications for customers. A key factor here is that Billon’s enterprise DLT is compliant with the EU-wide regulation on durable medium of information. This means Tauron could move away from sending contracts by regular mail, saving on paper processing and postage. This is especially relevant in the current Covid-19 situation. Introducing digitised high value documents can reduce physical interactions while maintaining social distancing.

The pilot project included a selected group of some one hundred Tauron customers. They were testing the solution until the end of April 2020.

The relevance of the Billon distributed ledger

The pilot project, supported by Microsoft, uses Azure cloud infrastructure hosting blockchain nodes. The Polish branch of Microsoft is Billon’s technological partner in building solutions to publish other high-value documents – such as diplomas and certificates – on-chain.

Wojtek Kostrzewa, CEO of Billon Group
Wojtek Kostrzewa, CEO of Billon Group

By using a blockchain, all these documents would be available for future reference. In effect Billon’s distributed ledger would deliver embedded immutability and tamper protection. Apart from individual contracts, the PoC means Tauron can use Billon’s enterprise DLT to publish public documents (see below), for example terms and conditions or general tariffs.

Wojtek Kostrzewa, CEO of Billon Group, comments: “Blockchain ensures seamless and ultra-secure document management with no possibility of document modification without the knowledge of its parties, resistance to hacks and immutability of information stored on distributed ledger.

The Billon approach to TDM

As the Tauron PoC shows, the Billon technology enables:

  • the assignment of individual documents to specific customers
  • the signing and encryption of those documents
  • thereafter, their publication in the distributed database.

Billon groups stored documents into lists. These link with individual Customers. Lists of documents can become available to:

  • existing, and former, customers
  • regulatory authorities and to the
  • the publisher.

As with Tauron, publication and reading of documents is typically handled through a dedicated website. Alternatively, it is possible to use the Billon Webservice API where TDM has the ability to publish any type of file to the distributed ledger, including:

  • text files
  • images
  • PDFs
  • Office files.

Future releases will include the capability to store and publish binary formats, such as:

  • audio files (call centre recordings)
  • video files
  • images.

Public and private documents

With TDM, Billon classifies files into public and private.  Public documents are non-personalised, standardised documents – like the terms and conditions and fee tables in the Tauron example. Standardised documents are:

  • accessible to the general public
  • contain the service provider’s digital signature
  • are not encrypted.

After signing and publishing, each Public document receives a unique ID (hash code) and  timestamp. The published document then replicates across nodes and information on the publication goes out to the network. Any change in the document changes the value of the hash and is automatically detectable.

Private documents are documents are specific to each customer. they can include contracts and statements. As these documents contain private information, only the service provider (Tauron) and its customer have access. Like public documents, each private document receives a unique hash.

Unlike public documents, private documents go through an encryption process. Distribution of private documents across the network is also different. Private documents are transformed then sharded by algorithms into ‘compilates’.  Compilates are individually nonsensical and do not contain understandable data without being pulled back together into the original document.

In TDM, compilates are distributed to nodes. Information on their publication then moves out to the blockchain network. Furthermore, once assigned, document IDs (hashes) do not change. they are still available – even if the customer terminates his or her relationship with a publisher.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

in Billon’s DLT technology continuous communication and synchronisation between nodes, is what guarantees that changes, deleting or adding fragments to previously published documents is not possible. This maintains the integrity of the published data despite the absence of an external monitoring unit for the entire system.

Because Billon replicates data, its system ensures data (document) durability, accessibility and recovery – even if a significant portion of the participating nodes go offline. Combined with the immutability of blockchain technology, the Billon approach to TDM has the potential to deliver the business impact Tauron seeks.

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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