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Sony pitches pay-as-you-go power sockets

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Sony tapped into the energy market this week to reveal a series of electric wall outlets capable of controlling the connected kit's power consumption.

The electronics giant proposed smart sockets that only feed electricity to previously-approved devices. A separate digital hub unit will track all of the energy consumed.

The smart sockets use Sony's contact-less near-field communications (NFC) chips to authenticate use, but it's not clear whether you'd swipe your smartcard over your device or the socket itself.

Sony Smart Sockets

Either way, if the device - or you, the user - have been approved by the socket's owner, your gadget will get juice.

Sony envisages using powerline networking tech to allow socket and connected gadget to negotiate the supply of power.

"These outlets will perform authentication whenever a device is plugged in," said Sony general manager Taro Tadano, who sees intelligent power networks a necessity for a world that wants to adopt renewable sources and try to cut down on waste.

The new sockets could also pave the way for companies to charge users for plugging in their devices in public places, such as airports and railway stations. Want to keep your laptop topped up while waiting for your flight? That'll by five pounds please.

This might see consumers log in by tapping a pre-pay card on a power socket, then using it like a petrol station to fill up a mobile device.

And the belt tightens further... ®

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