2020 is the year for wireless charging and here’s why

It’s a new decade, and 2020 is brimming with exciting consumer technology trends and innovations in smart tech continue to transform the way we engage with the space and environment around us. IoT and smart device developments are coming to market at an ever-increasing rate and are having a profound impact on the consumer expectation of experience. 

We want to keep you ahead of the curve, so we’ve unpacked our predictions of the trends we think will have most impact on the wireless charging, hospitality and workplace industries in 2020, and beyond.

Wireless charging industry

Cutting the final cord

Never has convenient access to power been in greater demand as a result of our ‘always on’ lifestyles; consumer expectations are shifting to prioritise power over anything else. In fact, according to a survey by the Wireless Power Consortium, ‘battery anxiety’ 73% of consumers experience battery anxiety – a figure that’s increased year-on-year. What is clear is that businesses must prioritise building a mobile-first experience if they are to stay competitive.

Manufacturers are widely influencing this trend: with Apple announced last year that all devices from the iPhone 8 upwards are shipped with wireless charging. Analysts are also predicting that Apple could abandon its charging ports altogether by releasing future new models that rely solely on wireless charging – all the signs are suggesting that this is set to increase with the number expected to rise even higher to around four billion by 2023. Apple’s intention to switch its users to a 100% wireless experience speaks volumes.

As we enter a new decade, wireless charging will be faster, we’ll start to see first wireless laptop chargers come on to the market, and more and more consumers will be carrying wirelessly charging enabled devices with the expectation of being able to power up without wires and cables. In fact, research has revealed that 50% of employees expect wireless charging in their office space. The demand gives businesses an opportunity to monetise on power – the critical foundation to the customer experience.

5G will drive the need for wireless power beyond smartphones

As more and more telcos roll out 5G nationwide and the network goes mainstream, we will see a huge increase in the energy requirements of IoT devices. This will inevitably generate a significant need for power that batteries cannot sufficiently provide – hence an opportunity for convenient wireless power. We can expect to see wireless charging coming to EVs and drones (some recent examples here and here) and 5G connectivity is going to be key to track usage and for machines to communicate with each other, is powering the plethora of smart IoT devices that are starting to fill public buildings.

Workplace
Agile, flexible workspaces are here to stay

We are seeing an increase in innovative organisations building their entire office design and organisational ethos around the experience of their employees. As we see more enterprises ditching assigned desks, moving to hot desks to maximise underutilised desks, we’ll be seeing more and more agile, flexible spaces. With the rise of flexible working, office spaces are transforming and employees are shunning the traditional confines of their desks – opting to move freely from desk to meeting room to break-out area. The rise of the third place – social spaces that bridge the gap between the traditional home and work environments – highlights that this preference for fluid, co-working space is here to stay. 

Because of this on-the-move, co-working culture, employees are snacking on power to stay connected, however, sustaining this access to power can be a pain point. To accommodate this demand there is an opportunity for employers to make power – the critical foundation to connectivity – as convenient and accessible as possible in as many spaces as possible.

Expect a stronger focus on user experience and human-centric design

Some will go one step further, moving towards immersive workspaces and exploring the potential of integrated systems to create better, more seamless experiences. Integration of devices and systems that talk to each other allows the overall connected workplace solution to become greater than the sum of its parts and provide a more seamless and collaborative experience. For instance, wireless charging is being deployed in meeting rooms to not only provide convenient power for power-hungry mobile generations, but to act as a trigger point to instantly launch video conferencing. For true engagement, these collaborative experiences need to be as real as possible, particularly as teams get more disparate and work from widespread geo-locations. Bringing the meeting to life through holograms seems to be the next logical step in that seamless collaborative experience.

Through embracing smart workplaces, businesses will see an improvement in productivity too. Integrated IoT management platforms give businesses full control of their network, allowing them to see real-time updates on connectivity. In the case of wireless charging, employers can manage individual smart charging spots remotely including connectivity and power delivered. Real-time alerts inform on diagnostics detected, with many issues resolved over-the-air using remote tools for debugging and diagnostics management. This type of cloud-based platform reduces operational and maintenance costs and prevents faults from hindering the productivity of employees.

The key for all organisations will be to experiment with different workspace offerings: test and learn and gather employee feedback through surveys and then make changes to the office layout if needed. Whilst experimenting, however, organisations should ensure they’re consistent with the services and technology they put in place.

Check out some workplace case studies here

Hospitality
The lines between leisure and working will continue to blur

In 2020, we will see a boom in the hospitality industry looking for new ways to diversify and attract new customers. As the lines between leisure and working blur, we will see hotels and food and beverage establishments transform into multi-use co-working spaces.

Hotels by their very nature sell space, and we are seeing an increasing number exploring how they use their various kinds of real estate – rooms, restaurants, bars and lobbies – to better serve customers, and ultimately increase sales and profits. With beautifully designed, thoughtful, appealing and highly desirable spaces already in place, and a location that is often perfect for those wanting and needing to work, more and more hotel bars and lobbies will become co-working spaces for both hotel guests and visitors.

However, our recent research found that 15% of people claim they have walked out of an F&B establishment because they could not charge their device. For millennials, power is even more of a priority – with one quarter admitting to doing the same – meaning a potential loss of revenue from the millennial wallet, as well as a potentially negative experience of the brand. The changing way that people are now working offers a new opportunity for hospitality businesses to monetise some of their other prime space by creating flexible working hubs.

Check out some hospitality case studies here

Smart tech will improve the employee experience in hospitality

Businesses in the hospitality industry are increasingly placing more value and importance on their frontline staff to enable a positive guest experience, to improve loyalty and retention, and they are looking to adopt technology they have implemented for guests for use by their staff. For instance, we are increasingly seeing wireless charging added into bedrooms, not just for guest charging but so that housekeeping and management staff can power their devices as they are working around properties. As more systems are developed for housekeeping and management staff to use to improve efficiency, convenient access power becomes all the more critical to ensure processes can update and run smoothly.

Smart, convenient power will be a differentiator

We live in an experience-led society – one which is largely enabled and driven by technology and connectivity. In order to meet the seamless and personalised experience consumers have come to expect, the priority for the hospitality sector in 2020 will be to enable interoperability – integration of existing systems – between devices made by different manufacturers. Wireless charging will not only deliver value to guests with convenient power, it will also act as this critical digital touchpoint to emerging experiences like voice control in hotel rooms and personalised food and beverage promotions which will enhance a guest’s stay. 

It’s never been more apparent that power underpins all experiences, and as more and more businesses respond to this fact, there is a real opportunity to capitalise on the demand.

7 reasons why wireless charging for workplace in the new normal

Download our guide to discover how wireless charging can enable a safe, touchless work environment, while enhancing employee productivity and engagement.

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