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Is wireless charging finally set for wholesale consumer adoption?

Is wireless charging finally set for wholesale consumer adoption?

A recently published report from Juniper Research predicts that 20% of households in Europe, and close to 40% in North America will have access to wireless charging functionality by the end of the decade. Demand will be driven by greater use of wearable electronics and internet of things (IoT) devices. While the wireless charging of these devices makes sense, the far bigger opportunity for wireless charging lies in replenishing the batteries of portable electronics goods (such as smartphones and tablets). With an ever-expanding breadth of power-draining functionality incorporated into these devices, battery lives are coming under increased scrutiny. This means the ability to top up charge levels at different stages during the day will become almost unavoidable. Widespread implementation of wireless charging points in airport terminals, restaurants, department stores, hotel lobbies and suchlike will therefore become crucial.

In November last year, coffee shop chain Starbucks took the initiative. It started to install wireless charging pads in its outlets, with 200 sites in the San Francisco Bay Area being the first to receive this capability, ahead of further rollout across North America. This was followed up by pilot projects in Europe and Asia (for example, 10 stores in London were kitted out earlier this year). McDonalds has followed suit, with wireless charging stations now being featured in its outlets in Europe (50 in the UK have already been refitted).

The Qi standard, which is promoted by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), has gained most traction in the wireless charging arena. To date it has the greatest number of charging points installed (with infrastructure based upon it being implemented in all manner of different locations) and this looks likely to continue. Future updates to the Qi standard will enable elevated levels of power to be transferred and the charging process to be accelerated. This will make wireless charging even more appealing.

Advances in semiconductor technology will be needed to support such dynamics. Its increasing prevalence will be dependent on the development of streamlined, highly integrated semiconductor solutions that permit component counts to be kept to a minimum, board real estate to be saved, system complexity to be reduced and high degrees of cost-effectiveness to be maintained.

You can download Toshiba’s detailed white paper on the subject of wireless charging at:

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