I got ninety-nine problems, but a dead battery ain’t one.
… Or something like that. We don’t know what the next commercial from Powermat Technologies, the de-facto industry leader in wireless battery-charging technologies, will look like, but our suggestion (above) isn’t out of the question.
That’s because earlier this week, at the mega-huge Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Powermat announced that rapper Jay-Z has signed an investment agreement with the company. But the news is more than just a splashy high-profile celebrity endorsement — it’s a signal that this budding industry (and one that could affect nearly anyone with a smart phone) is about to get a ton of face-time.
With the growing ubiquity of the battery-draining smartphones constantly searching the Web and glowing in full, glorious color, typical talk time has gone from the one-charge-a-week days of a few years ago to the recharge-every-day present.
And as field techs know, it’s important that your tablet, cellphone, or rugged laptop work. Hence the huge potential for a wireless battery-charging tool that works on several devices.
Service vans are stocked front to back with gear, often in the form of long cables and wires. Where wireless advancements in Internet, TV, and phones have helped make a tech’s vehicle lighter, wireless charging aims to simplify things even further.
Powermat isn’t alone in this field — companies like Fulton Innovation is in on the game, too. The concept is pretty simple: a electrical, rubberized pad sits on an armrest or dashboard, and is connected to a power source and charges any mobile device that touches it. Consumer adoption, however, has been slow so far, partly due to high costs, a lack of public visibility, and some inconsistencies between device compatibilities.
But with a high-profile investment in wireless charging from a big celebrity name and a solid showing by Fulton at CES, experts agree the technology is quickly gaining traction. Perhaps the biggest news for field service techs is Powermat’s announcement last week that General Motors will install wireless charging mats in its 2013 line of Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. This news effectively brings the technology beyond the realm of the general public and makes a clear use case for service techs, cab drivers, or anyone else juggling several electric gizmos.