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Wireless power rings in changes for smartphones

Wireless power rings in changes for smartphones

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An innovation centre for businesses in Hampshire is believed to be the first in the Solent region to incorporate wireless charging technology into furniture for power-hungry smartphones.

Customers at Fareham Innovation Centre can charge their devices by placing them on transmitters which have been built flush into the large table at the flagship conference room.

The trailblazing service is provided by SupaPowa®, the brand developed in Portsmouth by QiConnect, a wireless charging technology business led by founder Peter Turner.

Stephen Brownlie, regional manager for the south for UKSPA member Oxford Innovation, which runs the centre at Daedalus, Lee-on-the-Solent, on behalf of owner Fareham Borough Council, described the service as a "eureka" moment for occupiers and visitors.

With all 24 offices and 15 workshops fully occupied, Fareham Innovation Centre has 110 people working for 27 businesses on site, plus a further 36 local businesses regularly using drop-in facilities.

Stephen said: "Thanks to Peter's clever technology, wireless charging mats for smartphones are set to become a eureka hit here at Fareham Innovation Centre. 

"Customers like the convenience - they no longer have to go through the rigmarole of locating an electrical wall socket as their smartphones drain of life, typically mid-afternoon. 

"We're looking to roll out installation across other centres as well because the SupaPowa® product is customer-centric, showcases what our customers can do with technology and reflects the spirit of innovation which drives many of our occupiers.

"From what we understand, this is the first time in the Solent region, where there are 50,000 businesses, that wireless charging stations for mobile phones have been embedded into conference room tables. Wireless connectivity is less an expectation these days and more of a necessity in our digital world."

The charging mats are embedded in the conference table at the centre's Spitfire meeting room, which also has a portable smart board which connects your phone, via an app, to people around the world; they watch the presentation on a live stream straight from the board to their device.

SupaPowa®'s Peter Turner has been working from Portsmouth Technopole, the landmark serviced offices centre run by Oxford Innovation on behalf of the University of Portsmouth, for the past 14 years.

He said: "Wireless charging is finally connecting with consumers because our technology is making it accessible for companies, such as Oxford Innovation, to integrate with office furniture and provide a much-needed solution for on-the-go businessmen and women.

"The technology is increasingly common in Japan but Europe is lagging behind even though tens of millions of us would like charging points where we eat, work, socialise and shop, as well as in the home."

Peter said he is to incorporate SupaPowa® charging stations at a City of London law firm with 500 staff, a pub chain in northern England and an international airport, having done so already with a hotel chain in Penang, Malaysia.

According to the latest industry research report, the global wireless power market could be worth $33.6 billion by 2019. 

Many of the occupiers at Fareham Innovation Centre are from the marine, aviation, aerospace and engineering sectors.

Oxford Innovation, which looks after 20 centres, specialises in running facilities which combine office space and mentoring support for start-up and early-stage firms.

The technology behind SupaPowa® 

Wireless charging, also known as inductive charging, is based on a few simple principles initially suggested by Nikola Tesla, who  demonstrated the principle of wireless charging at the turn of the 20th Century.

The technology requires two coils: a transmitter and a receiver. An alternating current is passed through the transmitter coil, generating a magnetic field. This in turn induces a voltage in the receiver coil; this can be used to power a mobile device or charge a battery.

Such technology is already a reality in electric toothbrushes and surgically implanted devices, like artificial hearts. In the future your kitchen appliances may well be wireless.

However, mobile device charging through the air, and not to be confused with WiFi and Bluetooth, is reportedly impossible. 

Charging ahead ImagePeter Turner - the techno crusader behind SupaPowa®.

Peter Turner, 63, is the MD of QiConnect, the technology developers behind SupaPowa®

Portsmouth born and bred, Peter's first profession out of school was as an automotive and marine fuel injection and electrical engineer, working for Lucas Industries. 

He also worked as a technician and engineer for IBM for 10 years. 

Peter said: "In October 2013 my son Ross and I visited an expo in Hong Kong to investigate the mobile charging business.  

"There we found a product featuring tight coupled inductive charging for small mobile devices.  

"It was blindingly obvious to me that that the world needed this and so we returned to the UK and formed a company to exploit possibilities and to rigorously test and market an effective consumer-facing product." 

Globally ambitious, that company is QiConnect, based at Portsmouth Technopole. 

Now its brand manifestation, SupaPowa® – and the SupaStart™  pack – are developed and available, allowing anyone to access wireless charging.  

They are set to become widely available in the High Street, offices and social environment locations - all the places we currently work, rest and play. 

Peter said: "The future of wireless power knows no bounds, from supporting the demands of mobile device users, to its introduction into larger electrical devices and appliances. 

"Indeed, the 'cordless' kitchen is being developed and in a few years we will no longer plug in our devices or appliances but simply place them on a surface to function." 

Peter is also managing director of TestTech Global Ltd, specialists in software and hardware testing, predominantly in the financial, secure and safety critical industry.    

Image Shows:

Peter Turner, left, and Stephen Brownlie at Fareham Innovation Centre, Daedalus, Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. In what is thought to be a first for the Solent region, where there are 50,000 businesses, wireless charging mats for mobile phones have been installed into table furniture at the centre. You place your phone on to the pink-coloured transmitter mat to charge. For non-compatible phones, puck-shaped special receivers, seen here in white, can be attached to your phone on the mat.


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