By Ori Mor, Co-founder of Wi-Charge
As we move into the third decade of the new millennium, we are becoming ever more reliant on the devices that connect us to the rest of the world.
Be it our smart phones, PCs, tablets, watches headphones, smart speakers, TVs or fridges, we are continuously connected via the Internet of Things (IoT).
And this trend is only set to continue as the demand for connected devices continues to grow. The projected rate of growth for these devices differs between various research and auditing companies – KPMG forecasts that by the end of 2020 there will be upwards of 20 billion IoT connected devices, yet Intel raises that to 200 billion in the same time frame. Either way, this is s till a huge figure and each device needing to be powered on an ongoing or regular basis.
In addition, IoT and smart devices have promised to make our lives truly more mobile and with wireless connectivity virtually everywhere we go, we are now free to travel and work, live wherever we want and stay connected.
We all need access to power. We need to plug in and charge our devices. We need to work at a desk or table near a plug socket, we always need to have a cable with us to charge up our phones and access to the internet powered by a plugged-in router. Not having access to power is a true weakness of IoT.
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The demand for power is only going to grow
Let’s just take the power demands needed at this year’s CES in Las Vegas where there will be a huge focus on IoT and how it’s going to change our lives.
There will be over 4,500 exhibiting companies all with displays, computers, smartphones and the latest and greatest in consumer electronics to power up. This is just one moment in time and you are already starting to see how the demand. But what if you take your home or office as an example. You have all sorts of connected devices from PCs, printers, electronic door locks and coffee machines through to electronic faucets in the bathrooms, TVs and security cameras. All these need to have constant access to power.
Whilst there is the bigger ethical picture of power generation and the greater impact on the environment, the current way to keep your devices powered is still not the most efficient. There is a constant need to ensure you have batteries, charging cables and power points to access.
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Adding to that, there is also the mental impact our connected world has had with many people struggling to cope without access to their phones, otherwise known as Nomophobia.
This occurs in situations when an individual experiences anxiety due to the fear of not having access to a mobile phone, provoked by several factors, such as the loss of a mobile phone, loss of reception, and a dead mobile phone battery.
We need innovation in power supply
As mentioned above, traditionally power supply has been by batteries, charging cables or fixed power fittings. We have started to see some limited innovation through use of solar power in low energy devices such as calculators or garden lights.
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In addition, we are starting to see more use of power pads for mobile phones. But these still need a cable and must be plugged in.Other businesses have looked to more lateral solutions to meet the demand for powering devices.
For example, VTree Solar trees who have started working with local councils to put charging trees in urban areas for people to use to charge their device.
What is clear is that the demand from consumer for accessing power is becoming more intense. Airplanes, cars trains and some busses now have to provide power sources available to their passengers.
This is especially troublesome for the aviation industry who are constantly battling with the need to reduce the weight of their aircrafts and having the power plugs in each seat only goes against this.
There is light at the end of the tunnel
All IoT devices must have power to deliver their promise of a more connected world. But this vision is currently being held back by the lack of flexibility and innovation in power solutions.
We need a solution to meet demand that is both innovative, cost effective and enables us to live the wireless dream. Solar power is a starting point, but the power levels are not strong enough to meet demands of most devices. But the thinking is right. What if we could harness the power of light to effectivity charge and power or devices? Not only is this very safe but it’s also highly effective. If wi-fi eliminated the data cord, then light can eliminate the power cable and battery
Imagine not needing to constantly be changing the batteries in your electric door /office locks or security cameras and sensors.
This is not a vision of the future or a dream. Through some of the smartest, most innovative minds we have harnessed infra-red light to power our devices. Power can be truly wireless, delivered on demand and remove the need for any more cables.
Now, Infrared light wireless power can be simply plugged into a wall, placed on a shelf or embedded to a light fixture solution. Afterall, we all need lights in a room, right?