Information Age Interviews Chargifi CEO Dan Bladen

A wire-free world: wireless charging

Wireless charging, the ‘new’ technology, appeared to be a passing trend that failed to take off, but don’t write it off just yet.

A few years ago big things were predicted for the wireless power market.

In 2012 the wireless power for mobile devices market was predicted to reach $5 billion in value by 2020, according to a report by Pike Research.

Now, according to Dan Bladen, CEO of Chargifi (a wireless charger provider) the market for wireless power is growing at an explosive rate. It was worth $213m in 2013 and is predicted to be worth $20bn in 2020.

Despite this huge jump in predicted market growth there still appears to be a stigma surrounding wireless charging.

Acceptance and excitement around the technology has waned.

As an idea, however, it makes practical sense for businesses and the individual.

You would think it the natural progression for the mobile industry.

Information Age spoke to Dan Bladen about wireless power, and its future place in the global market.

What is the appeal of wireless charging: is it simply a result of progressive technologies?

People don’t want to carry around battery packs and power cords just to get through their day.

When you walk into a coffee shop, you take a seat, you put your phone down on the table in front of you – it’s natural.

How long will it take for wireless chargers to replace cable chargers?

Five years ago, people looked for wifi when they went into a coffee shop, today – they look for the nearest plug socket.

We are undoubtedly moving towards a ‘no-wires’ world.

Wireless charging is just so much more convenient than plugging in. It fits naturally with a venue and also fits naturally with existing user habits.

The power cable is the last cord to be cut, and it will be cut – in a big way.

This is already happening in a small way, and this industry will really accelerate on the back of a flagship device coming with wireless charging embedded.

This is a bit like WiFi in 1999, before Intel Centrino came along and baked WiFi straight into laptops.

With big chip makers like Intel and Qualcomm putting their weight behind wireless power, the ‘Centrino moment’ for wireless power is not going to be too far away.

What are the applications for businesses?

The presence of wireless power in businesses, such as coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and other public locations helps to drive foot traffic.

If the purpose of marketing is revenue then the provision of wireless power puts you on the map.

Businesses can also customise their wireless charging experience, and build tools directly into their own application, which allows them to control the charging experience and communicate with their customers in real-time

Can you give me an example?

Through Chargifi API, a business class airport lounge could know that Mr Smith is sat at table 22, which just happens to be a 25 minute walk to Mr Smith’s departure gate.

In this example, hyper-local location data can help businesses provide not just extra layers of marketing, but also value added services inside their venues.

It has been reported that wireless charging pads stop working when devices are fully charged. Are there any gaps in wireless technology that may need to be developed?

We can’t comment on other people’s products but Chargifi enabled transmitters throttle down as the phone nears 100% so not to waste electricity.

The big problem holding wireless charging back was this issue of charge speed, which appears to have been resolved.

As technology has progressed, so has the power transferral ability of wireless chargers.

“The speed of charge is near the same as most cable chargers,” according to Bladen.

With this problem resolved it is likely to be a matter of time before wireless power enters the mainstream, both commercially and personally.

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