Wireless charging technology has been in the buzz for about two years now. First showing up at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2007. The idea of simply putting a device on a “electric” mat and have it start charging seemed almost like magic.
Background – Wireless energy transfer was first demonstrated in 1893 by Nikola Tesla with the illumination of vacuum bulbs at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Before we proceed lets get the terminology right. Wireless charging is a marketers way of describing Inductive Charging.
Inductive charging is achieved by a coil creating an alternating electromagnetic field and another coil converting it back to electrical current, both these coils in proximity create a sort of wireless transformer. A form of efficient inductive charging was first announced by MIT researchers in 2006 with a project called WiTricity. Wireless charging can also be achieved through radio and resonance technology, but inductive charging remains the preferred technology for mid-sized electronics.
Advantages – The only advantage of wireless charging is that the user does not have to physically plug in a device to a power socket. This may seem like a unnecessary luxury but consider an artificial heart that cannot be unplugged every time it needs a charge. When it comes to consumer electronics wireless charging also helps the environment by advocating smarter use of energy and eliminating the need for hundreds of different chargers.
Options – There are many companies that offer wireless charging “stations” or “pads.” Each company obviously has its own spin on the technology. Currently one common ground among all is that the device that needs charging requires a secondary sleeve/pad/skin that is responsible for converting the energy for storage in the battery. 2009 has seen the introduction of mainstream technology that integrates wireless charging with the Palm Pre introduced at CES 2009.
Where do we go now – Wireless charging technology is well on its way into our homes and with it advertising promoting the technology. Currently the advertising has been mostly limited to the internet but it promises to soon be on our TV and radio waves.
My suggestion to everyone reading would be to resist the temptation to buy a wireless charger by the 4th quarter of 2009 with the holiday season we will see better versions of the devices and 1st quarter of 2010 will see the best discounts on the devices. Also in interest of our environment its always smarter to only buy what you need, read my marketing 488 posts to learn how to protect our planet better. Don’t let a luxury become a need.
Marketing lesson – The most important thing to learn here is that as marketers (especially for someone building clients) it is important to attend industry conferences like CES where cutting edge technologies are introduced. Even better get lists of booth purchasers before hand and be prepared to make a pitch when you see them. Obviously, starting earlier with smaller expo’s is always better. Another way to use expo’s is to conduct research in early adopter groups which can be a very good indicator on mainstream implementation of technology. As modern marketers we may tend to forget the tried and true tricks. Remember don’t reinvent the wheel just spin it faster.
Until next time
ps – this posts lacks pictures of wireless chargers; they can be easily found with a simple google search http://bit.ly/yHlv