The days when end users spent some portion of their day trying to find an outlet to power a mobile device are coming to an end. Wireless charging that enables the newest generation of mobile devices to be charged inductively via an electromagnetic field is about to go mainstream. A Qi standard for wireless charging is now supported by Apple, Samsung, Intel, and others. The goal is to make it possible for end users to leave a device on a table in, for example, a restaurant where it would be continuously charged by a transformer embedded in the table.
Obviously, technologies such as Powermats have been around for a while. But Powermats generally take longer to charge a device than plugging a device into an outlet. The next generation of wireless charging will be much faster and won’t depend on a mat. But first somebody needs to construct the tabletops capable of producing an electromagnetic field. The good news is companies ranging from hotels to restaurants are already placing orders. The next big issue will be the need for someone to remotely manage what will eventually become millions of charging tables.
Emerging MSP opportunity
To address that issue, Chargifi has created a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that enables MSPs to manage all those wireless charging tables. Chargifi CEO Dan Bladen says the company has drawn investments from Intel Capital to create what amounts to a turnkey platform for MSPs to manage charging tables. Bladen notes that on average in the U.S. it costs $1,000 to roll a truck every time there’s an incident that needs to be managed. Once wireless charging becomes widespread, it’s won’t be practical to manage and service each charging table on site. A control plane delivered via the cloud will be a prerequisite for charging tables installed anywhere humans tend to linger, says Bladen.
Once #wireless charging becomes widespread, it’s won’t be practical for #MSPs to manage and service charging tables on site. @smartermsp
Of course, there will come a day when over-the-air charging of mobile devices will finally be perfected. But, that development is at least three to five years away. In the meantime, organizations that are focused on enhancing the customer experience will be installing wireless charging stations anywhere they think there’s an opportunity to generate revenue. To help organizations offset the cost of charging tables, Chargifi also makes available a software development kit that enables organizations to create digital advertising that will be displayed on the charging table.
Bladen notes that organizations that put charging tables in place will naturally also be able to collect data about the habits of their customers. This creates yet another Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity to send, for example, targeted advertising to a mobile computing device.
Eventually, everything that can be connected to the Internet will need to be remotely managed to one degree or another. But, instead of those things being, for example, a connected car, it may very well be that the most prevalent thing that gets connected to the Internet is a table.