Wireless charging and wireless energy delivery is becoming a must-have feature on all new electronics, while driving a need for retrofitting the old. But is wireless truly better than wired?
Should we be transforming our old dependable wired world into a wirelessly powered one? Is wireless energy better than wireless power transmission? As a society, wires, cables, and outlets have reigned supreme for more than 100 years. What are the pros and cons of switching to wireless?
Real Wireless Power as we know it today, that is, wireless power over air, at a distance, and without the need for line of sight, is a truly life-changing replacement for wired devices and those devices that need to be plugged in or placed on a charging pad to receive power. But it doesn’t currently replace ALL wires.
Real Wireless Power is efficient and reliable for just about all small electronic devices in a home, office, or workplace, including computers, wearables, lamps, security systems, thermostats, scanners, digital displays, IoT, and asset trackers.
But wired power is still needed to reach the building to power the equipment that requires large bursts of power (such as power drills, microwaves, and power drills) and the transmitters that deliver the energy to devices that are equipped with wireless power receivers.
In other words, it’s not an all or nothing proposition. Wireless power makes sense for hundreds and even thousands of applications. But wires are still required.
It’s Not Wired Charging Vs. Wireless: It’s Wired and Wireless Power
Over the last decade or so, wireless power over air has been shown to be a safe, efficient, and continuous way to provide power to hundreds of thousands of devices simultaneously, without
the need for battery management or plugging in. The benefits are obvious, and businesses are proving out use case after use case that wireless power wins when considering things like:
- The cost savings of eliminating batteries
- The logistics and efficiency savings of not requiring the labor involved in plugging in, finding an adequately charged device, or replacing batteries
- Error-proofing work processes
- The safety and security of being “always on”
- The cost savings of building and remodeling with fewer outlets and wires
But still, questions remain about whether wireless power transmission is truly better than using a charger, such as a charging pad or surface.
Wired Vs. Wireless Energy Questions Answered
Here are are four common questions business people are asking when considering making the investment in wireless energy:
1. Compared to wired power, is wireless power safe?
Businesses need to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. Cota, which is RF-based (radio-frequency-based) wireless power, meets the same rigorous safety standards that the FCC and its Office of Engineering and Technology have set for handheld devices and cell phones.1 Cota has been through multiple rounds of rigorous SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) testing and the results of these tests have always been within established human safety limits. In other words, it is safe to use around people, pets, and even plants.
What’s more, wireless power eliminates the risks that are inherently associated with wired and plugged in devices. Wires, outlets, and extension cords pose tripping hazards, fire risk, and shock risk when damaged or used inappropriately. A home or building that has fewer wires is a safer place to be.
2. How efficient is wireless energy, compared to energy delivered by wire?
This question is tricky, because what most people are asking is “how fast will my device be powered up.” If you have two energy-depleted devices, and you plug one in to power and the other automatically receives power over air, the wire will win on speed (but not
necessarily efficiency … read on). The thing is, a wirelessly powered device is never depleted. It is always receiving power, so “speed” is a non-issue.
Efficiency is another thing. The Department of Energy defines energy efficiency as “the use of less energy to perform the same task or produce the same result.”2
The efficiency of wireless energy transfer depends on a number of factors, such as the distance between the transmitter and receiver, the power output of the transmitter, and the materials used in the receiver. RF-based wireless power that uses retrodirectivity is the most efficient wireless power transmission available today.
What’s more, Ossia is improving the efficiency of Cota all the time.
3. How much does wireless power cost, compared to wired?
The good news about wireless power transmission is that the technology is getting better all the time, more people are using it, and the costs overall are coming down.
When calculating the true cost of wireless energy, many factors must be considered, including the long term cost savings of batteries, wiring, and labor involved in keeping current devices charged up, and the personal and business value of reliably powered “always on” devices.
This article on The True Cost of Wireless Power provides more detail.
4. What are the regulatory hurdles for wireless energy?
Wireless power regulatory hurdles for businesses vary from country to country. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the use of radio waves, which are used in wireless energy transfer. You want to find a technology that already has approvals, which will save you a lot of time and headache, and will smooth your go-to-market strategy.
Cota Real Wireless Power has gained FCC, CE, UK and Global Regulatory Approvals, and is the only wireless power company globally approved to send power without a distance limitation.3
Have questions about transitioning from wired or wireless charging pad devices to Real Wireless Power? We’re here to help.
Related sources that help answer the question: “Should we switch from wired and wireless charging pads to wireless power over air?”
- The True Efficiency of Wireless Power over Air
- The True Cost of Wireless Power
- Wireless Buildings: How Wireless Power Will Transform the Way We Build, Work, and Innovate
- Real Wireless Power Adds Value and Subtracts Costs
1 According to the FCC’s chairman, “the United States’ RF exposure limits for handheld devices are among the most stringent in the world.” The Office of Engineering and Technology chief concurs that the U.S.’s existing radiofrequency limits are “are among the most stringent in the world for cell phones.” https://www.fcc.gov/document/chairman-pai-proposes-maintain-current-rf-exposure-safety-standard