Smart speakers are here to stay, but one conundrum that manufacturers like Amazon and Google haven’t been able to solve yet is wireless power. One Israel-based manufacturer is aiming to change that equation with a single device that promises to transform an existing wired Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini into a fully functional, wire-free product, cutting the cord on where smart homeowners can place their favorite smart speaker.
Tel Aviv-based Wi-Charge was recently named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree for its breakthrough device: A wireless power kit that uses beams of invisible infrared light to charge the smart speakers. The announcement was made at CES Unveiled New York, a sneak peek at the products and trends that Digital Trends will cover during January’s 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The innovation means that smart homeowners can, free from cords, position their smart speaker not just on a table or countertop, but hang it on a wall or put it practically anywhere in the room.
Interestingly, the device itself is not Wi-Charge’s endgame. What it seems to really be after are partners who are willing to integrate the receivers and transmitters that integrate its tech into third-party devices. The gamble is part of the company’s “Powered by Wi-Charge OEM Program,” which is aimed at helping select original equipment manufacturers bring wirelessly powered products to market.
Some of the devices the company is targeting include smart speakers, home security devices, phone charging solutions, and other smart home devices. The company has already demonstrated sample integrations into smart light fixtures but the module included in the program could also be embedded in wall-mounted devices, communications equipment, and other devices that need regular or constant power. The program aims to provide a turnkey solution for a remote power supply for the growing ranks of smart home and portable technology devices.
“Our award-winning Wireless Power Kit demonstrates the possibilities of converting popular smart home devices into completely wireless products,” Wi-Charge chief marketing officer Yuval Boger said in a release. “Our new ‘Powered by Wi-Charge’ OEM package includes, in our opinion, everything a partner needs to bring a wirelessly powered appliance to market.”