Dan Bladen, CEO and co-founder of Chargifi – the foundation technology that transforms the way the world manages, monitors and monetises power – discusses what 2018 will mean for wireless charging
Considering that the last 90 years has seen zero innovation in power, 2017 has been a game-changer of a year for wireless charging. Apple’s integration of wireless charging into the latest iPhones has been a real catalyst for mass deployment. Since then we have seen a groundswell of momentum amongst many industries – hospitality, office environments, event spaces and stadiums – looking to provide convenient and effortless charging experiences and cutting the cord on power.
Let’s face it: mobile devices are the center of the universe and power is a basic human need. The recent Apple announcement was a catalyst for driving the mass deployment of wireless charging. What WiFi did for connectivity, wireless charging is about to do for power. Although there are already a number of devices integrating wireless charging in the market, when Apple does something the rest of the world sits up and takes notice, and their competitors generally follow.
In 2018 wireless charging will be more than just about power, evolving to create a service that adds value to businesses, enabling the connected customer and enhancing customer experience. In fact, Wireless charging provides an array of new data points that can be integrated with existing user information to develop deeper audience insights and new, highly personalised customer experiences. Chargifi is already well on its way to realising our vision to create a world in which the value of power is decentralised, democratised and delivered seamlessly. One example of this is businesses engaging with consumers whilst they charge – for example at a football game with at-seat ordering via wireless power stations. Wireless charging can pinpoint the exact seating location of any user in relation to the venue’s network, something that is not possible with a WiFi network alone.
Wireless charging won’t stop there. We are already seeing early signs of it in other industries, such as the automotive sector. Mercedes-Benz is set to start selling a version of its hybrid S-class that can be charged by parking it on top of a charging surface. Ford and BMW are doing the same. Wireless charging will also prove crucial for self-driving vehicles which won’t have a human driver to get out of the car and plug a charging wire in.
The commitment from the Chancellor in his budget to support and invest in the UK tech sector was a real sign of confidence that the Government believes technology will continue to drive economic growth in the UK. It follows on from the Government’s announcement earlier this month of £21m of funding to create Tech Nation, to build a national network of digital excellence, and allow more visas for people with exceptional tech skills. We know that technology, in its various applications, is solving problems for consumers and businesses more than ever before – and the UK needs to be at the center of that. As a fast-growing UK-based business operating on a global level, the Budget signaled a real confidence from the Government that it wants to make the UK a technology-driven nation that fosters innovation and R&D, and is building an infrastructure to support that.
Today’s consumers crave convenience as well as an effortless experience and wireless charging is now set to become the new standard for charging our devices. Power remains the basis for everything we do with our devices, but its cumbersome, highly inconvenient power cable does not. Carrying around a mobile charger will soon seem as outdated as having to connect an ethernet cable to get onto the internet.
The industry is set to be worth $12.6bn by 2020. We are already seeing early signs of this in other industries, such as the automotive sector – and yet 2018 is set to yield even more innovative integration of the technology. Enterprise grade reliability, military grade security and consumer grade user interface are all essential to this progression and we look forwards to building on our existing deployment into 2018 and beyond.
Dan Bladen, founder of Chargifi
Dan is the 28-year-old co-founder and CEO of Chargifi, the wireless charging solution and category defining brand for the global wireless power ecosystem. Dan came up with the idea of Chargifi whilst travelling for six months in 2012. He realised that he made strategic decisions about where to visit/stay based on the availability of power sockets, so he could recharge and reconnect with friends and family