I hate cables. Anyone who has a thirst for technology can certainly share my views on it. We even discussed how many of us are even hoarding drawers with extra wires, cables, and chargers. It’s a crazy problem that becomes more common as the smart home continues to grow with more devices, especially as the cost of owning those devices becomes more affordable.
A look into my living room is proof of that, as the sockets are constantly occupied by surge protectors and socket strips. Worst of all, however, is that chargers and devices have a nearly 1: 1 ratio – which makes for a messy, unkempt look near electrical outlets. For this reason, wireless charging is of crucial importance for the further development of the smart home.
Have you ever looked closely at any part of the press or rendered pictures of smart home devices? Sure, the focus is on the devices, but in many cases you will find that they are wireless and working – which is weird because they need some kind of power. Almost every company is to some extent to blame for this and thus continues the unrealistic view of today’s smart home.
Wireless charging can help with this. Smartphones in particular have been using this technology for much longer than you think. When the Palm Pre was released in 2009, it was one of the first commercial smartphones to offer wireless charging – and today it’s the norm for all high-end smartphones. The smart home can also absolutely benefit from this implementation, but there are challenges before stationary devices such as surveillance cameras, smart displays and smart speakers can become truly wireless for a clean smart home.
Inductive charging vs. wireless charging over a distance
In recent years, advances have been made that can help drive this revolution in the smart home. Inductive charging is the most common. This is the technology that today’s smartphones use to wirelessly charge.
Alternatively, there is distance wireless charging, also known as radio charging. While there have been several announcements regarding this form of wireless charging, the biggest obstacle preventing its expansion is its efficiency. Regardless of whether it’s infrared bands or radio waves, the challenge of delivering enough power in a steady flow makes this form of charging difficult. Therefore, it is unlikely that we will find a practical solution anytime soon. So I’m getting back to inductive charging.
Seamless integration into furniture
Significant progress has been made in inductive charging, although you may think differently. There are many companies these days designing multi-device wireless charging systems to get rid of the messy trail of cables that are typically required. They are exactly what the industry needs to be more focused on the future, but the bigger chance will be how they can blend in seamlessly with the home decor.
I checked out the Nomad Base Station Pro, which was developed in conjunction with Aira’s FreePower wireless technology. Unlike other wireless charging pads that can only charge a single device, the Nomad Base Station Pro can charge up to three devices simultaneously with its omnidirectional wireless charging. The best part is that it’s super slim, has a contemporary design, and you don’t have to make a fuss to find that correct Orientation so your device can be charged.
I spoke to Jake Slatnick, the CEO and co-founder of Aira, who detailed the technology behind the Nomad Base Station Pro. The thin profile of the multi-device charging pad is achieved by embedding the usual charging coils in the actual circuit board. This keeps his profile extremely slim. Even with this approach, devices can be powered at the same time without heat building up.
If you’ve been to a Starbucks before, you’ve likely seen some wireless charging solutions built into some of their tables. The smart home needs something like that, but so far it has been a 1: 1 ratio. It would be interesting to see how Aira technology is integrated into furniture so that multiple devices can be charged at the same time. Imagine your coffee table or end table has a built-in charger that offers space for a smart speaker and possibly a couple of smartphones.
Small steps have been taken to make this a reality. So I hope that the future of the smart home will be filled with fewer wires and cables.
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