Wireless Power: Licensing versus Off-the-Shelf Technology

Licensing-vs-off-the-shelfThe wireless power technologies that are emerging today are as diverse in technology type, from radio waves to laser beams, as they are in features, from distance delivered to whether the system requires line of sight.

As a manufacturer, you not only need to sort out which features to look for while you’re analyzing your wireless power options, but also how the technology company is prepared to deliver the whole wireless power system to you.

Currently, you have two options: 1) licensing the technology and 2) purchasing ready-made transmitters and receivers. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both, starting with ready-made wireless power.


Off-the-Shelf Wireless Power Technology

Off-the-shelf or ready-made wireless power technology refers to transmitters and receivers that have been developed, shaped, and manufactured by the technology company and are ready to “plug and play.”

For example, a company might offer a receiver in the shape of bracelet-sized ring or the shape of half of a candy bar that must be plugged into a device’s power port to receive power. Or the receiver might be built into a smartphone case.

The transmitter might be the size of a dinner plate or hefty dictionary, and need to be plugged into an outlet.  


The Pros of Off-the-Shelf Wireless Power

The obvious benefits of buying wireless power that is already built into a product is that it’s ready to go, no manufacturing required. You simply need to find a wireless power provider that fits with the devices you need to deliver power to and has all the features you need, including distance, non-line-of-sight, the ability to charge multiple devices simultaneously and while in motion, and of course, safety.

If you are not a manufacturer or don’t have manufacturing partners, and your charging needs are fairly narrow, this might be a good short-term wireless power solution.


The Cons of Off-the-Shelf Wireless Power

Unfortunately, the limitations of ready-made wireless power products outweigh the benefits in most cases. The cons include:

  • Bulky User Experience. No one wants yet another dongle or bulky case for their smartphone, or learn how to connect another device.
  • Short Shelf Life. The longevity of these ready-made wireless power receivers is short-lived, because the device it connects to is often getting an update each year. You too, may need to buy new wireless power receivers for the new products.
  • Narrow Device Usage. With so many different kinds of small devices out there, and not just types of smartphones, you potentially need many types of receivers to fit those devices.
  • Excludes Sensors, IoT, and Other Commercial Applications. Low-power devices such as automotive sensors and IoT don’t benefit from pre-made wireless power product solutions.
  • One-to-one Connection. Frequently, a ready-made transmitter and receiver has a one-to-one relationship, rather than a one-to-many.
  • App Requirement. Some off-the-shelf wireless power solutions require an app to be running while charging is taking place, which can add complexity for the user.
  • Distance Limitations. The transmitters often cannot be linked to extend wireless power range.

Licensing Wireless Power Technology

A handful of wireless power companies, like Ossia, offer their wireless power solution through a technology license. A license grants you access to the information and standards that you and your manufacturing partners need to integrate the technology seamlessly right into your products.

A good licensing partner will also connect you with other organizations that are using the same high-quality wireless power standards, to expand on your ecosystem (ask Ossia about that!).

Licensing also enables service providers to deliver the wireless power to customers and employees throughout their buildings, whether they are hospitals, airports, factories, or coffee shops.

Benefits of Licensing Wireless Power Technology

The biggest benefit of licensing wireless power technology like CotaⓇ Real Wireless Power, from Ossia, is control. You have control of the size, color, shape, and placement of your end product, and the end user is often unaware that the wireless power receiver is even there or where the transmitters are located; it’s all built right in, just as you specified. Additional wireless power licensing benefits of Cota are:

  • Seamless End-User Experience. Licensing wireless power enables you to integrate the technology into your products for the best user experience for your specific audience’s needs.
  • Longevity. With the Cota receiver, which is tiny like a microchip, built right into your products, there’s no need for an externally fitting case or dongle.
  • Flexibility. A single receiver fits into many types of devices, so you don’t need to worry about things like device dimensions or power port type. In fact, Ossia has a “retrofit” technology solution called the Cota Forever Battery that fits within a devices current battery space. This bridges the gap between current designs and future designs, and allows you to leverage wireless power now. The Cota transmitter can be any shape, even a ceiling tile.
  • Includes Commercial Applications. A tiny microchip-sized receiver can fit into most any low-power device needs, even inaccessible ones such as automotive, medical device, and IoT.
  • One-to-Many. A single Cota transmitter can power dozens of devices up to 30 feet away.
  • Cloud Control and Security. Manage your entire Cota system from the cloud, provide permissions, and gain access to usage information and other data.
  • Distance Expansion Potential. Link only two Cota transmitters and you expand your wireless power distance to 50 feet. Link several transmitters down a long hall or large room.

Cons of Licensing Wireless Power

If your organization is not set up to manufacture or partner with manufacturers to optimize your products, licensing wireless power may seem like a risky move -- but it may be simpler than you think with the right partners -- and set you up for success in the long run.

Contact Ossia to talk about your business capabilities and wireless power needs to explore your options. We are firm believers in connecting smart businesses and growing the overall wireless power ecosystem. Together, we can accelerate the wireless power movement.