Introduction – the stage is set
We live in a world that is rapidly progressing toward newer and greater levels of convenience, connectivity and freedom. This is the age of the wireless power and communications revolution, where everything from handheld consumer electronics to home appliances to transportation is incorporating wireless technologies to create new levels of convenience, interaction and monitoring. While tremendous progress has been made because of technologies including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, radio frequency (RF), Ultra Wide Band (UWB) and global positioning systems (GPS), one last tether has kept consumers from making the leap to a completely wireless lifestyle – the power cord. In research conducted by the Alliance for Universal Power Supplies, consumer demand for “simplicity, a better charging experience and convenience,” along with manufacturing, usability, waste and environmental concerns surrounding the billions of power adapters that are produced and shipped each year globally, have created a surge of interest in wireless power solutions.
In association with Chicago market researcher Synovate, Green Plug (www.greenplug.us), an organization committed to creating
a single plug solution for electronics, asked 1,000 online consumers about their attitude toward purchasing consumer electronics devices, which typically come with external power supplies that don’t work with any other product.
According to the survey, conducted in April, 2008, “31 percent of respondents said they regard incompatible power supplies as ‘wasteful’ and have many unused adaptors just lying around, while 30 percent described the situation as ‘frustrating’ – agreeing that forgetting to bring the right charger when leaving the house can prevent the use of an important device such as a laptop, cell phone, camera or music player. Another 18 percent said that they never thought about the situation before, 13 percent said it doesn’t really bother them and 8 percent said it is ‘costly’ – and that they have had to purchase replacements when forgetting to bring the required charger to the office, school or on a trip.”
Consumer demand, coupled with the formation of several companies in the last decade that are offering viable wireless power solutions, has generated an accelerated race to market for wireless power solutions ranging from proprietary pad and adaptive solutions to integrated near-field and broadcast technologies pursuing international standards – all of them promising the right answer.