For many years the USB cord has been the standard for charging wireless devices from phones to tablets. You’d be hard-pressed to find a laptop or TV that doesn’t have USB slots either for charging devices or hooking them up to the display. In the corporate space, the same can be said for most AV equipment that eventually leads into a display. In the world of tech, the USB has become king, or at least the prince to HDMI.
That may not be the case for long. As a part of the publication’s Trends 2016 coverage, Entrepreneur Magazine has been covering different trends that are becoming more prevalent in various markets moving into the new year. In the tech space, the trend that seems to be prevailing is the death of the USB cord for charging personal devices.
As of now over 200 brands including Microsoft, Samsung, LG and Verizon have agreed upon a standard for wireless charging called Qi. IKEA has introduced furniture with built-in wireless chargers and charging pads using the Qi standard. The automotive industry has been gearing up for widespread adoption, with Toyota and BMW already offering Qi charging in select models. McDonald’s, Marriott and Emirates airlines have all began to experiment with wireless charging stations.
It’s not just in the home and retail that the Qi standard is being adopted. Toronto-based ChargeSpot, explains the article, uses integrators to retrofit offices and commercial spaces with wireless power. The company provides hardware and back-end integration in order to monitor charging performance, update security and firmware, and give offices a web portal that acts as a management system. Soon offices will be utilizing Qi standards in order to power company- and employee-owned devices.
So how does it work? Entrepreneur explains:
There’s a base, connected by wire to an electrical outlet, with a magnetic field that varies constantly. That variance vibrates a receiver in the device, powering the battery. Plop your phone down on a desk with such a base, and it automatically charges.
In 2015, 44 million devices shipped that charge wirelessly. That number tripled by the next year. Research firm HIS predicts an $8.5 billion market by 2018, up from $1.7 billion this past year. So the trend is not going to slow down.
While widespread adoption is yet to be necessary, eventually (as with most new, more convenient technologies) wireless charging is going to push USB cords out of the charging realm altogether. What that will mean for USB slots in AV hardware is tough to predict – the Qi standard doesn’t magically make it so that devices can pair. But it’s not inconceivable to believe that USB will be a thing of the past down the line. Fair warning.