How Will Today’s Global IC Chip Shortage Affect the Progress of Real Wireless Power?

The development of Ossia’s Real Wireless Power™ technology, Cota®, involves many moving parts: from expanding the ecosystem of manufacturing and industry partnerships, to ongoing technology enhancements, to dreaming up new use cases and proving them in the real world with major brands.

Part of that development progress relies on timely supply chain availability of key electronics parts, and that can be interrupted by all sorts of causes, from a fire, flood, or storm to a month-long cultural holiday to a worldwide health crisis like this pandemic. In bringing new technologies to market, we have to be ready for anything. 

With the current global shortage of integrated circuit (IC) chips and other electronics parts hitting many industries hard, particularly within the automotive segment, you might wonder about what’s happening with upcoming technology innovations that have more recently entered the market, like Cota. 

You are right to wonder, since this global parts shortage has impacted many companies product builds. Cota’s wireless power system includes two primary components: a receiver and a transmitter, both of which depend on tiny microchips that enable the two to discover each other and deliver power over-the-air. 

Are we and our partners panicking about the current chip shortage? No. For one, the chip shortage may work itself out sooner than we think; see this article from Barron’s. It’s classical economics of supply and demand, so when demand is high and supplies low, industries react. What’s more, we all know that innovative companies find innovative solutions. The CEO of Ford “claims that the company was able to offset most of the chip shortage impact in Q1 of this year.[1] 

Future-thinking companies are always looking for “what’s next.” Take a look at this inspiring video interview of Renee James, CEO of semiconductor startup company, Ampere, where she talks about how the global microchip shortage may actually be a sign of growth in the chip industry. In our view, it’s extremely likely that the chip fabrication industry will emerge from this period far stronger and more diverse than it was before. 

Canada, too, is taking steps to protect its companies by bolstering supply chain resilience. Canada aims to establish itself as a “developer and manufacturer of semiconductor products — both for domestic use and global export.[2]” With more diverse supply comes fewer interruptions in production. 

Supply chains are only one part of any high-tech product business. Research, development, relationships, testing, and iteration are also important. So as chip production slows, we at Ossia have plenty to work on with our technology roadmap. In fact, we’re finding ways to work in parallel with our partners to recover time that would otherwise be lost doing things sequentially. We’re making adaptive decisions about chip materials, process nodes and substrates to navigate the global supply changes. That’s what agile innovation is all about. 

Ossia has many Cota-enabled wireless power devices that are currently live in the field, so we can continue to gather data and discover new benefits, values, and opportunities for wireless power. And because Ossia is a privately held company, the chip shortage is not affecting our stock prices (or team morale). We are free to continue to develop strategic relationships, develop launch plans, and iterate on the technology and all the different ways it can be used. 

Chip supplies and fabrication capacity might slow down in the short term, but we stay optimistic about and committed to bringing wireless power to market for more applications for the long term. In fact, we love to hear the New York Times report that “despite the chip shortage, chip innovation is booming.[3]” That’s only good news to companies like Ossia. 

The chip shortage is nothing compared to the health of all the workers who are making those chips and associated technologies happen. The world’s immediate priority is to enable people to work in safe conditions. Our hearts go out to the families and countries who are suffering right now. 

Are you dreaming up ways wireless power will propel your company or industry into the future? We’d love to hear from you.