Wireless Charging – Will it ever get here?

Published on July 14, 2014

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There has been a lot of talk about wireless charging, but maybe not so many real implementation stories. We predict that’s all going to change in the near future. Demand for wireless charging is going to increase exponentially in the next four years. Once standards are in place, you’ll start seeing products commonplace in homes and offices. Does your product roadmap address this emerging technology?

What is Wireless Charging?

Wireless charging is an inductive power transfer that works by creating an alternating magnetic field (flux) in a transmitter coil and converting that flux into an electrical current in the receiver coil. The two standards have been Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and Power Matters Alliance. These two standards rely on a tightly coupled relationship between the transmitter and receiver coils. A new standard that is shaking things up is by Rezence-Alliance for Wireless Power. It is what is known as a loosely coupled system because it has a larger range and can smartly deal with multiple devices and the presence of foreign metal objects. Because the coils in the loosely coupled systems do not need to be closely aligned, the wireless benefits of the system are intriguing.

Obvious Benefits

The benefits of wireless power are easy to understand. Not many of us can remember when we last used a corded phone. Wireless data communication set us free. The same thing will happen with charging. We no longer will need cables. Cars, tables, and parking spaces will charge our products without us even thinking about it. Products will become simpler, more reliable and more waterproof. Small wearable technology will benefit from smaller and smaller coils and the elimination of bulky connection points. 50mm2 is the smallest that will meet the WPC 1.0 standard. With custom coils and chargers the size can go smaller. Because products will be charging more often, battery power requirements may start to go down. For some stationary products batteries can even be eliminated with direct wireless power from companies such as WiTricity®.

Growth Prediction

According to HIS Technology, the demand for wireless charging will be 2 billion in 2015 and up to 8 billion in 2018. PMA says that that even with the lack of standardization adoption the market or wireless charging is expected to be 300 million units by the end of 2016. Patents are popping up from companies such as Google and IKEA. Once the phone companies and automotive companies settle on a standard it won’t be long before wireless charging will spread into our homes and workplaces. In the end positive user experiences and expectations will drive the demand for wireless charging.