by Paul Golden
Calling all kitchen appliance makers, innovators, interior designers, kitchen remodelers, tech junkies, and cooks (yes, cooks): we have big news for you. The Ki Cordless Kitchen has reached a critical milestone in its development. The first official Ki Plugfest was held in Hasselt, Belgium in mid-July and it was a HIT.
But wait, let’s back up a second... Before we get into Plugfests and why they matter, let’s give you a little refresher on what the Ki standard is.
Developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), Ki (pronounced “kee”) is a new standard for powering kitchen appliances. Poised to become the kitchen of the future due to its modern design, added convenience, and emphasis on innovative technology, the Ki Cordless Kitchen is a game changer for all kitchens, making virtually any type of kitchen appliance cordless and smart.
How Ki is changing kitchen design
When you think of the kitchen of the future, what words come to mind? At WPC, we think of intelligent, convenient, safe, and state of the art design.
The Ki Cordless Kitchen is unquestionably intelligent. How so? Well, Ki enables seamless communication between transmitter and appliance, creating smart appliances for improved cooking control and enhanced safety. A Ki transmitter will only send power to a Ki appliance, therefore eliminating any safety hazards that could arise from placing something else on the transmitter inadvertently. If this should happen, the Ki transmitter will cease to produce any power.
Ki’s intelligent and seamless design makes it effortless for the user. Using a Ki cordless appliance is as simple as placing it on any Ki power transmitter and turning it on. No cords to get in the way or fray, and no batteries to charge. And, finally, Ki is the definition of minimalist, state of the art design. Ki transmitters will initially be available built into induction cooktops and standalone transmitters but will later be available as hidden transmitters that can be mounted under countertops, kitchen islands, or tables. We already know that interior designers will be absolutely in love with Ki!
The Ki standard, as developed by WPC, ensures that all Ki certified products follow rigorous safety protocols and work harmoniously together, regardless of the brand, device type, or version of Ki they use. Thus, with Ki, you can enjoy the convenience of wireless power without worrying about any compatibility issues.
Now that we’ve refreshed your memory on Ki and why it is the kitchen of the future, it’s time to get back to our little Plugfest chat...
Ki Plugfest – the first of its kind
Before we plugged (pun intended) Ki’s benefits, we mentioned that the first Ki Plugfest was held earlier this summer. Plugfests are multi-day events that bring together industry members, engineers, and developers from all over the globe. The main purpose of a Plugfest is to test vendors’ products against each other, observe the behavior of every device under test, and to ensure well-established communication and compatibility among different devices – in this case, Ki-enabled appliances. Overall, Plugfests are a crucial step in the development of a new standard.
Participating in Plugfests is one of the most highly valued benefits of being a regular member of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). Participants are thrilled to attend because of the extensive learning achieved that will help them produce better products and get those products to market faster. For the Ki Plugfest, attendees brought their own prototype devices to test which included tea kettles, air fryers, blenders, juicers, and other common kitchen appliances. These devices were subjected to various testing scenarios which were carefully planned by engineers. The tests included NFC communication between power transmitters and appliances, device pairing (to ensure devices work when paired with others) and power phase testing (testing different power delivery levels).
Overall, a Plugfest is an iterative process, scheduled in a series with time left between Plugfests for participants to assess the data and lessons learned so that they can make adjustments before the next Plugfest.
Key (or in this case, Ki) benefits of Plugfests
There are three major benefits of Plugfests. First, these events act as controlled tests where participants can focus on specific features that they would like to implement and test against other participants. It’s a dream scenario for product engineers as it serves as a test ground for development. Once the tests are completed, the participants collect data for analysis, enabling them to develop insights and recommendations. The data gathered will help the participating WPC members determine what needs to be done to improve a product and have it ready for certification testing before market launch.
Another major benefit for participants is the interoperability testing component, ensuring that each Ki-enabled device works with others, regardless of the brand. At the Ki Plugfest, just like at all other Plugfests, the interoperability tests involved assessing how well different devices work together, ensuring that they can communicate effectively. If an error or compatility issue is detected, the product engineers will tweak the product in question to fix the problem.
In addition to benefiting participants, Plugfests also improve the standard. As participants conduct testing, they can intelligently identify areas in the specifications that need improvement (if necessary). They can also refine protocols as needed.
Accelerating the adoption of the Ki standard
Developing standards like the Ki standard takes years. The first Ki Plugfest is a tangible signal to the world that the Ki Cordless Kitchen is no longer a dream, but a reality that will soon be here. The knowledge gained and lessons learned during the first Ki Plugfest will effectively and efficiently accelerate the adoption of the technology across the appliances industry.
Get involved in the Ki standard development
Would you like to get involved in the development of the Ki standard or be able to use the standard to develop finished products or component parts for the kitchen of the future? If so, then it’s time you join the Wireless Power Consortium. There are many benefits of becoming a member, including the ability to actively engage and participate in Plugfests. Learn more here about the simple process of joining the WPC: https://www.wirelesspowerconsortium.com/members/join-the-wpc.
For more on the Ki Cordless Kitchen, head here: https://www.cookwithqi.com. While there you can also sign up for a newsletter to keep on top of Ki developments.
The next Ki Plugfest is scheduled for September in Suwon, South Korea (concurrent with WPC’s third quarterly meeting). We hope to see you there!
By joining the WPC you will become a key player in shaping and advancing wireless power standards. WPC members gain invaluable insights to compete more successfully and lead the charge in introducing cutting-edge wireless power transfer products to the market.
To be certain that a product has been tested to Qi certification standards, search for it in our database.