The director of CHARGit, Hayley Freedman, believes wireless charging technology could provide kitchen studios with lucrative add-on sales to customers whose lives revolve increasingly around power-hungry mobile smart devices
Automation is the coming thing. In a fast-paced society, where we’re increasingly time-poor, we look to have everything at the touch of a button – as close to instantaneous as possible.
Manufacturers and retailers across a broad spectrum of industries are looking to take advantage of consumers’ ‘need it now’ attitude. But while it’s easy to say that taking advantage is possible, it’s quite another thing to implement it.
Innovation in automation requires considerable investment if it is to succeed. But, thanks to consumer demand, that investment is often well rewarded, which means we’re seeing more and more brands looking to explore it.
The Internet of Things as a concept isn’t actually a new one. It’s been around since as far back as the 1980s, but it’s been in the past few years that it’s really started to take hold as technologies have evolved.
In relation to the home, the list that makes up the Internet of Things is becoming increasingly diverse. From smart light bulbs, to smart thermostats, smart locks to smart cameras, smart fridges and smart kettles, there are plenty of products that can be connected and accessed remotely. Big brands, such as Google with Google Home and Amazon with Echo, are getting firmly on board with the concept and making considerable investment in the field.
A big draw of home automation for manufacturers and retailers is the ability to tap into a wide array of data to help them gain an understanding of consumer habits.
Much is made of people who worry that their movements are being tracked and the data mined by criminals or by Government spy agencies looking to monitor their every move. But, while I’m not privy to the machinations of GCHQ and its ilk, and while I recognise that cyber-crime is a genuine threat with potentially serious consequences, the simple matter is that most businesses look to use the data generated to improve the customer experience.
Monitoring someone’s activity helps to personalise their experience, with the aim, ultimately, to make life easier for them. If your connected home recognises what time you get in of an evening, then heating and lighting can be switched on, and even the kettle boiled, in preparation of your arrival. These are seemingly innocuous things, but it’s hard to disagree that returning to a well-lit home, with the kettle already boiled is a pleasure and it certainly saves time.
From a retailer’s or manufacturer’s perspective, knowledge of a person’s routine and habits, while monitored to improve the customer experience, can also be monetised.
At CHARGit, our wireless charging technology can be integrated into kitchen tables, worktops and other areas of the home – such as bedroom tables, cabinets and even chests of drawers. As this is currently a pioneering technology, it helps retailers to differentiate their offering, enabling them to offer a product that’s set apart from the competition.
A kitchen fitted with built-in wireless charging can be held up as an example of using progressive technology, positioning a retailer as a trendsetter, while also improving the homeowner’s experience.
Knowledge of routines, gleaned through the use of built-in smart technology, gives retailers an insight into common patterns and behaviour – thus enabling you to develop the next evolution of smart-home technology. By seeing how someone interacts with current technologies, you can spot areas where you can meet fresh demand, catering for individual requirements.
Our speciality is wireless charging, because we see it as the next standard. As people, we rely on portable electronic devices to stay connected to the wider world, and indeed many of us struggle to cope without them. Battery anxiety is a real thing and is only set to grow with the rise of the smart home.
It’s this anxiety, and indeed reliance on technology, that gives interior designers, house builders and planners the opportunity to integrate this technology into room design.
Some people may see smart-home technology as a gimmick rather than the future. But we firmly believe it’s the future. Electronic devices are here to stay and, with so much opportunity and capability at our fingertips, the industry simply can’t afford to fail to get behind it.
Smartphone and tablet apps provide practically limitless opportunity to offer a service tailored for specific needs. This means that manufacturers can offer an incredibly diverse array of things.
Developers should be looking to offer homes designed for the future, with manufacturers supplying smart, integrated products.
The world is constantly evolving and, consequently, so is consumer expectation. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to be ready to make the right investments and follow the trend.
- Image top: Kitchen worktop featuring CHARGit’s integrated wireless charging technology