Wireless Charging at CES 2016

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), many were focused on completely cutting the cord for a totally wireless charging experience people would actually want to use. With the amount of smart devices we use growing every year, it can be tedious to keep everything charged. Having to allocate space for all of your various chargers at home or in the office can leave you without enough outlets, or worse- tethered by your power cables.

Although innovations such as wireless charging mats have helped us cut our cords, there is no industry standard yet (meaning your phone may not work with the public charging mat at Starbucks), and you’re still grounded in one place because your phone has to be in contact with (or extremely close to) the charging base.

This year at CES 2016, Bellevue, Washington based company Ossia debuted their Cota wireless charging system which promises to be the future of wireless charging. Simply put, the Cota is an illuminated cylinder that charges devices totally wirelessly by sending power over radio frequencies through the use of a proprietary transceiver. When a device in range of the Cota needs to be recharged, the transceiver sends information to the Cota. The Cota then directs the needed power to the transceiver’s relative location, effectively charging the device without any wires or mats.

While this is certainly an innovation for mobile charging, there are limitations. For starters, the maximum range under ideal conditions is 30 feet, making it good for home use but not practical for use at businesses or events. If you wanted to use the Cota as a charging solution for an event, anyone wanting to charge their device would need to either purchase a Cota charging case for their phone or already have the Cota transponder installed. Additionally, due to safety regulations, the Cota can only send about 1 watt of stored power over the course of a day, meaning charging times are about 4 times slower than using a power cable.   Finally, at this time only a single device can be receiving power at one time. This means that although up to 32 devices can be charged off of a single Cota unit, the Cota will automatically juggle sending power between devices one at a time. To make a long story short, don’t expect a quick charging turnaround if you have numerous devices that need charging.

The implications of wireless power reach far beyond simply getting rid of wires. Oissa has also developed a AA battery that will stay charged as long as it is within range of the Cota unit. This means never needing to buy batteries again, which saves you money and reduces the amount of disposable battery waste.

With the overwhelming size scope of CES 2016, there were plenty of cutting-edge wireless charging solutions to go around. That being said, we are still far off from wireless charging solutions on a medium to large scale, meaning you and your event attendees are still tethered by cables for now. Even so, our powerful and stylish charging stations make charging any device an enjoyable experience and provide a means of marketing that wireless charging cannot. That being said, we here at InCharged are excited for the future of mobile charging and look forward to incorporating more cutting edge technology into our reliable charging stations.

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