Blog first published and contributed to Planet Analog
You may have heard that today PowerbyProxi announced it has become a member of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and joined its management team. As you may know, with the exception of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Working Group 4 – focused on an highly resonant wireless power, ), PowerbyProxi has chosen not to join a standards organization until now. So what’s changed?
Simply put we are joining the WPC to deliver what customers have been telling us they want: better user experience with spatial freedom and multi-device charging and wireless solutions to more consumer devices.
We believe that consumers “vote with their wallets” and buy products that meet their needs.
Established in 2008, the WPC is a pioneer and leader that developed an interoperable specification and created an unparalleled ecosystem of suppliers to deliver the best products to market. These products carry the Qi logo and today, Qi is by far the most established wireless power solution with more products in more countries—yet another reason why we joined the WPC. In fact, the WPC represents 130 companies supplying 200 products into an installed base of tens of millions of consumer devices. Qi products and charging locations are available in US, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, at such places as airports and cafes. The momentum continues with new products announced from leading companies such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia models, LG Optimus G Pro and many more. We’ve also seen car companies begin to adopt Qi – cars such as the Toyota Avalon and Prius and the 2014 Jeep Cherokee have all been announced with Qi compatibility.
Leveraging its ecosystem and installed base, the WPC is expanding rapidly and will be the first to market with a wide range of new product categories and features, including highly resonant solutions and backward compatibility, with the help of PowerbyProxi:
Here at PowerbyProxi we have deep expertise in highly resonant systems with field-proven solutions in industrial and consumer electronics ranging from less than one watt to kilowatts.
We have seen other wireless power ecosystems formed. They are late to market with limited members and geography. What new features and consumer convenience are they planning to provide? Highly resonant with spatial freedom and multi-device?
We don’t want fragmentation in the industry, it doesn’t serve consumers. Instead, we want to continue to focus on giving consumers the solutions they want in products they can buy today or in the very near future.
The Wireless Power World Shanghai 2012 was held last month on Sept 12 -13 where many of the leading companies presented and attended.
It was evident at the show that all companies and industry groups are now driving to a common set of objectives addressing the fundamental needs of consumers. These consist of spatial freedom, simultaneously charging multiple devices, and addressing a wide power range for devices from smartphones to tablets and PCs. Spatial freedom is the new term for “loosely coupled” and more intuitive than the prior technical term.
Although the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) was first in creating an interoperable specification to start the market, the adoption has been slow. Some of the basic limitations for consumers have been the “tightly coupled” or non-spatial freedom requiring consumers to precisely align their device on a charging pad, charging only one device at a time, and power to charge only a smartphone. While on my travels throughout Asia last month, I discovered that a number of tier 1 OEMs decided not to supply WPC based products not only due of those limitations but also because of unacceptable performance for low efficiency and generating too much heat.
There are now 3 industry groups driving these common objectives: WPC, A4WP, and the Consumer Electronics Association Working Group 4 (CEA WG4). The CEA WG4, where PowerbyProxi is one of the leading contributors, was formed over one year ago and took the lead in defining an interoperable specification for what the rest of the industry is now recognizing as the fundamental needs.
PowerbyProxi demonstrated working products and technologies at the Wireless Power World Shanghai 2012 which deliver the ultimate in spatial freedom and the ability to charge multiple devices simultaneously with its Proxi-3D and Proxi-2D charging platforms as well as the most miniaturized receivers that can fit into AA batteries.
Let me now your thoughts.
Continuing on from my previous blogs regarding wireless power & charging standards and comparing various stances on the wireless charging of electronic devices – today I want to discuss the respective positions on frequency.
I have written in the past about convenience for Consumers in wirelessly charging mobile devices. Some of the key factors are:
While the Consumer Electronics Association WG4 will deliver on the above, there is an on-going debate to select the right frequency.
Of course the Wireless Power Consortium has defined a specification for frequencies below 500 KHz. Such products have been shipping and proven to be safe and reliable.
At the same time, another working group called the A4WP is driving a specification for a frequency of 6.78 MHz – making it incompatible with products now shipping. In addition, the 6.78 MHz frequency has not yet been proven to meet safety and emission requirements, while is also expected to cost more.
Does it not seem obvious that Consumer Electronics Association WG4 select a frequency less than 500 KHz, which has been proven to meet the safety and emission standards, is the lowest cost for consumers, and is interoperable?
Let me now your thoughts.
A wireless power standard is essential to achieving true ubiquity of wireless charging of electronic devices. This is something wired charging has struggled to achieve just ask anyone who has owned a couple or more laptops. Lets not even get started about the iPhone 5 wired charger!
One of the key questions is what is the magic power level or range that will create the most user friendly ecosystems. Ecosystem being defined as compatible transmitters and recievers. Is there an ecosystem for cellphones / smartphones, another for laptops and so on? Or is the real need to have compatibility across the board for all “general” household consumer devices.
The downside of having a one size fits all type of solution is that you will need to trade-off performance and cost against ecosystem expansion from 0-3.5W to 0-100W. A transmitter that can charge 2 smartphones @ 3.5W each only, will look very different to one that can charge 2 smartphones @ 3.5W each as well as a laptop at 90W.
Most of the smaller consumer electronics devices would only require an ecosystem operating in the sub 10W range – this includes smartphones, cellphones, tablets and the like. On the face of it then, a logical demarcation point for ecosystems might be <10W for smaller devices, and 11W to 100W per receiver for larger capacity devices like laptops?
What do you think?
Read more about wireless power technology.
The CEA has formed 2 working groups to drive specifications, with the goal of establishing a large market for Consumer Electronics:
WG4 System Requirements for Highly Resonant Wireless Power Systems
Summary: “WG4 is developing ANSI/CEA-2042.4. This standard will define system requirements for highly resonant wireless power systems. Highly resonant wireless power systems are systems that transfer power wirelessly using magnetic induction, and that require magnetic resonance.” This is also referred to in the industry as loosely coupled.
WG5 System Requirements for Tightly-Coupled Wireless Power Transfer
Summary: “WG5 is developing ANSI/CEA-2042.5. This standard will define system requirements for a tightly coupled wireless power system. A tightly coupled wireless power system is an inductive wireless power transfer system with a strong magnetic linkage between the primary and secondary coil.”
Why would any consumer care for another tightly coupled solution? Isn’t this just another manifestation of the specification released by the Wireless Power Consortium with all its limitations?
I believe WG4 is solving real customer needs to enable practical solutions for Consumer Electronics. Don’t you?
PowerbyProxi is a member of WG4 and one of the main contributors to this specification. We are leveraging our world class team in wireless power and many years of delivering practical solutions that customers want.
Let me now your thoughts.