Chargifi, the world’s first Smart IoT Platform for Wireless Power, launches management tools to help Managed Service Providers and Systems Integrators to deploy wireless charging at scale.
Dell have just launched their first laptop with wireless charging - the Dell Latitude 7285. We’re at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where Dell are showing off their great new product.
This is the industry's first 2-in-1 to enable a workspace free of all wires to the device, incorporating magnetic resonance-based wireless charging for PCs. The Latitude 7285, made in partnership with Witricity, is AirFuel-certified and will be interoperable with other Airfuel products.
Wireless charging for laptops has been rumoured for a while and its great to finally see one of the world’s largest PC manufacturers implement wireless power technology into their products.
Wireless power for laptops has been a request from our customers for a long time and today heralds the start of coffee shop goers to hotels guests being able to leave their laptop’s power brick at home.
At Chargifi, we’re proud to have great companies like Pret A Manger, Imperial College London and The ClubHouse as public infrastructure partners. Now their customers, can charge their new Dell laptop simply by placing it on a Chargifi Spot in their location - goodbye cables!
Our focus is on building the best software tools to empower service providers all over the world to deploy wireless power at scale. I’m particularly excited to say that Chargifi is also fully compatible with the Latitude 7285's charging transmitter. This means that large offices deploying wireless charging transmitters can use Chargifi to manage and monitor a fleet of smart and connected transmitters, particularly helpful in hotdesk environments.
Drop us a note if you're at CES and would like to see Chargifi in action with the Dell Latitude 7285.
Read more here.
Dan Bladen, Co-Founder & CEO
Dan Bladen, CEO of Wireless Charging Company Chargifi discusses the need for premises and facilities managers to ‘future-proof’ their work spaces.
Some might remember the workplace of twenty years ago: fax machines whirring, franking machines clinking and motorbike couriers talking on intercoms and sprinting away with parcels from reception desks.
Things have changed however, and Millennials are now very clear on what they like the places we work, meet and play to look like in the future.
I’m not talking about playgrounds with slides and table tennis tables, sterile offices or eco-havens, just a space where creative ideas flow, serendipity takes place and stuff gets done. Whether I’ve commuted in and need to jump straight onto a call or am meeting a colleague for a coffee and a chat to agree some slides for a presentation – I need my devices to perform when it matters. You don’t need a low battery warning. It doesn’t matter how powerful your device is, if it doesn’t have power it doesn’t matter
Today, Ofcom figures show 93% of people who own a mobile phone in Q1 2016 with 71% of us owning a smartphone. As a nation, we are obsessed by our (often multiple) devices.
Indeed, there has been explosive growth in the market for wireless power, estimated to be worth $25.6bn by 2020 (Global Market Insights 2016).
With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that 56% of the 2,000 adults recently surveyed by OnePoll for Chargifi said that wireless charging should be made a free amenity in public areas. Indeed 19% said the worst time to run out of battery was when travelling abroad, to work or to a meeting. The research highlighted the prevalence of ‘Battery Anxiety’-which, according to One Poll, is reaching epidemic levels, with over (52%) of people suffering from at least one attack in a typical week and almost a quarter (22%) admitting they have between three and ten episodes a week.
So how are facilities and premises managers rising to the challenge of future-proofing the spaces which they manage? How can they keep ahead of the curve and do their jobs better when it comes to engaging younger employees or customers who rely on their devices for everything?
Devices running out of ‘juice’ when a critical email or call is expected can cause a plethora of health and safety issues when employees hook their phones, laptops and tablets into random plugs – creating a host of trip hazards in the process?
With more office environments embracing hot-desks, wireless power truly enables employees to work in the most agile way possible.
Unsurprisingly, it is facilities managers who work with future leaders such as the Imperial College, London or who are creating futuristic and aspirational office spaces like the Clubhouse who’ve been early adopters of our wireless charging service.
‘Universities are at the forefront of technological advancement, and greater access to technology can result in a more valuable college experience. Whether a university is creating the next wave of technology in its laboratories and research centres, or using it every day in its classrooms, university campuses are proving themselves to be some of the most technologically advanced places in the world’. With competition for students intensified by Brexit, higher education institutions will need to make their environments as attractive as possible to the brightest brains.
When it comes to starting work, design gurus such as Hilary R Birkbeck from 61-54 Design also see the need to think ahead and power up their employees. She said: ‘Wireless charging is the new cornerstone in the developing office-scape. This is the final umbilical of current technology to be set free allowing the flexible work space practices to take place. The office or workspace can now move and reconfigure itself to suit individual and group work needs leading to a collective wellbeing’.
But as we will know, once new facilities have been introduced, return on investment must to be measured. Once installed, it is critical to review usage of wireless charging stations and see whether installation spots are being used. We provide employers such as npower with weekly reports on how their staff are using our wireless charging service so they can see how ‘hot desks’ for freelancers or breakout areas are being used which gives critical insight on how a space is being managed.
When I went travelling for six months (before I set up Chargifi) I made choices about the places I visited according to whether I could charge my devices easily or conveniently. In today’s work and leisure spaces – others will be doing the same.
London business venue and members’ club The Clubhouse has added wireless charging technology from local startup Chargifi to its list of client services as it seeks to make itself a more attractive destination for entrepreneurs, startups, mobile workers and other people who lack access to, or prefer not to use, a traditional office.
The Clubhouse was founded in 2012 by property entrepreneur Adam Blaskey, who had become frustrated at having to meet important clients in uninspiring locations. Since then, Blaskey has launched the Clubhouse at two central London locations, most recently on St James’ Square.
The venue concept is pitched at a perceived gap in the market between serviced offices and hotel lobbies and coffee shops, providing a combination business lounge, co-working and hot-desking, and meeting room space, with extras such as refreshments and Wi-Fi.
“We are always looking to improve our offering,” Blaskey told Computer Weekly. “Our members are best described as digital nomads, they are very mobile and they often run out of power on their devices.”
Meanwhile, three-and-a-half-year-old Chargifi was also born out of a sense of frustration. Having taken some time out to go travelling with his partner, co-founder Dan Bladen found he was increasingly making decisions on where to go, where to stay and where to eat based on the availability of power sockets to recharge his devices.
Bladen then hit on the idea of using in-situ wireless networks to deliver power to devices without the need for plugs and sockets.
By fixing a small and unobtrusive resonant transmitter unit to the underside of a desk or table and connecting it to the ambient Wi-Fi network to draw power, Chargifi is able to turn the table into a wireless charging zone.
For now, device owners who want to use the service must use a small dongle containing a resonant receiver that connects to a device’s micro USB or Lightning port – much in the same way as Wi-Fi itself was delivered to laptop PCs around the turn of the century.
With the advent of mobile chipsets that include baked in receiving technology this will eventually change, but for now, Bladen said, the priority was to get the technology out into the field, and when the new advanced chipsets become mainstream, he hopes to capitalise on them to drive customer upgrades.
The firm also supplies a software package that maintains and tracks the health of the transmitter hardware, and provides additional data on how the service is being used, such as for how long devices were charging, and in which locations. This also has benefits for Chargifi, noted Bladen.
“We can update firmware and issue upgrades over the Wi-Fi, and analyse the charging spots so if we find an error our system can try to programmatically fix it,” he said.
To begin with, the Clubhouse had Chargifi installed in its meeting and board rooms, and at a number of its hot desks. In the first few weeks of use, it has registered around 500 charging sessions.
The most immediately noticeable change for the Clubhouse has been an aesthetic one: the venue used to offer members the use of standard mobile phone chargers that could be plugged into a wall socket, but people had complained the sockets were often badly located, and let unsightly charging cables on the floor that could present a trip hazard.
“Chargifi is a more user-friendly and more adult way of charging up devices,” said Blaskey, for who having a smart, tidy and good-looking place to meet was an important part of why he set up the business to start with.
“We have shown off Chargifi to investors and clients, and all were impressed with how seamlessly it fit into the environment,” he added.
Future features of Chargifi
An added benefit from using the technology came in the form of deeper knowledge and understanding of how Clubhouse members were using the facilities, and not just the charging zones.
“We really compete on providing the best possible service,” he said, “so we wanted to look at how the space was being used and understand what people were actually doing, and other services they might need.”
The Clubhouse is also looking to take advantage of new features that Bladen’s team is working on embedding into the Chargifi product that will enhance the analytical aspect of the service.
This includes an application programming interface (API) to enable clients to integrate Chargifi into their own mobile apps.
This would enable them to present the service with their own brand wrapping, and the ability to use the service to message users and provide them with hyper-contextual information, such as the location of restroom or coffee-making facilities, based on their location.
“This resonates with what we want to do with the Clubhouse,” said Blaskey.