At the Consumer Electronics Show last month, it was evident that the global consumer electronics industry has embraced the open Qi standard for smartphones in a very big way. Wireless chargers using the Qi standard were everywhere on the show floor as manufacturers showcased a diverse array of products for homes, offices, automobiles, hotels, restaurants and more.
The numbers tell a similar story. As of today, there are 443 members of the Wireless Power Consortium representing a vast cross section of industries and their respective supply chains. There are now 995 Qi certified products on the market, and that number is growing rapidly.
Perhaps more importantly, however, are the many conversations innovators from an array of industries are now having about how they might use wireless charging as part of their strategy. With Qi now the global wireless charging standard for smartphones and consumer electronics products, it becomes more important than ever to ensure each and every product in this innovative ecosystem meets our stringent criteria around safety, efficiency and interoperability to be considered Qi-Certified. On WPC’s website, there is a Qi-Certified product database that includes every product that has undergone and passed rigorous compliance and interoperability testing.
Even as we continue to focus on helping WPC members with our detailed certification process, we also are evolving the technology to include add more capabilities, functionality and flexibility. The future of Qi is something we’d rather not speculate about, but there are many positive indications for its use in a variety of venues – at home, in the office, while driving, and in hotels and restaurants.
Wherever Qi shows up, I credit much it its success to our open standards approach. This has created a rich, vibrant commercial ecosystem built on competitiveness and innovation. Every Qi charger works on the same technology principles, and it is exciting to see how this free market is developing new applications and highly differentiated solutions that take advantage of the opportunities.
Beyond Qi, WPC members are finalizing a standard for kitchen wireless power. This effort was on full display at CES with a compelling demonstration that wirelessly transferred power from beneath the countertop to several wireless cooking appliances. It was a draw for innovators and media.
Developments like this seem almost magical because they allow people to rethink how they live their lives. Without power outlets or a tangle of cords, the kitchen space can be completely reimagined. It may be too early to say when wireless kitchens will go mainstream, or what the eventual specification for wireless power in the kitchen will be. But when wirelessly powered kitchen appliances, cooktops and countertops eventually do hit the market, they will share one very important thing in common: the same open, robust and safe standard.