Wi-Charge, a leader in long-range wireless power, has unveiled an ultra-compact long-range wireless charger for smart and IoT devices that powers compatible devices wirelessly from distances up to 30 feet. Built with Wi-Charge’s safe and efficient AirCord technology, the PowerPuck plugs into a wall outlet or screws into a lightbulb socket.
There is a rapid increase in the deployment of smart devices within the home. According to a 2019 Parks Associates report, households with smart devices own an average of six devices, almost double from 2016 levels. The increased number of smart devices means that the endless replacement and recharging of batteries is becoming impractical and is a major concern. According to a 2018 Parks Associates survey, longer battery life is the top desired characteristic for smart home devices. Routing power cables to smart devices, an alternative to using batteries, is often tedious, expensive or forbidden by rental landlords.
Commercial installations face similar issues. iPropertyManagement estimates that there are over 26 billion IoT devices currently deployed and expects a three-fold increase by 2025. Vendors seek to improve IoT device performance and functionality, but limited battery life slows down these efforts. Forward-looking facilities managers turn to long-range wireless power to reduce device downtime, eliminate the cost and effort of replacing batteries, and reduce the toxic environmental impact of battery disposal.
PowerPuck’s sleek form factor coupled with its fast and flexible installation eliminates the need for constant battery changes and take away the hassle of running cables to smart devices. Like other Wi-Charge products, the PowerPuck delivers constant power regardless of distance, and is completely safe for consumers.
The PowerPuck is slightly larger than a Nest Thermostat and is very easy to install in a variety of ways. For example, an Edison screw adapter makes it compatible with numerous light fixtures, and a socket adapter allows the PowerPuck to plug directly into a standard wall outlet. Once installed, the PowerPuck automatically locates compatible receivers and initiates power transfer. The receivers can be as small as 0.5 x 0.5 inches and are typically embedded in the charged devices themselves.
Powered by Wi-Charge’s AirCord infrared beam technology, the PowerPuck requires no configuration, calibration or tuning — making it the first plug-and-play wireless power solution for smart devices. PowerPuck can transform a standard home into a highly desirable, wirelessly powered smart home, or help convert a commercial building into a smart building.
“PowerPuck changes how manufacturers create smart and IoT devices and how consumers and businesses use them,” says Yuval Boger, chief marketing officer, Wi-Charge. “Not having to worry about device battery life or power cables means that manufacturers can implement unique features and magical experiences. Additionally, consumers and businesses alike can take advantage of next-generation smart devices to achieve convenience and efficiency.”
Wi-Charge’s patented light-based wireless charging technology gives end-users the freedom they crave and product designers the power they need. It is the only approach that fulfils the three promises of wireless charging:
- Power – Deliver plenty of power to multiple devices, suitable for many IoT and smart-home devices.
- Distance – Up to 30 feet away with no reduction in delivered power.
- Safety – Certified as a safe consumer device.
Visit the Wi-Charge booth #40337 at the Sands Expo to see the PowerPuck in action.
SA’s Internet goes down again
South Africa is about to experience a small repeat of the lower speeds and loss of Internet connectivity suffered in January, thanks to a new undersea cable break, writes BRYAN TURNER
Internet service provider Afrihost has notified customers that there are major outages across all South African Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as a result of a break in the WACS undersea cable between Portugal and England
The cause of the cable break along the cable is unclear. it marks the second major breakage event along the West African Internet sea cables this year, and comes at the worst possible time: as South Africans grow heavily dependent on their Internet connections during the COVID-19 lockdown.
As a result of the break, the use of international websites and services, which include VPNs (virtual private networks), may result in latency – decreased speeds and response times.
WACS runs from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, up the West Coast of Africa, and terminates in the United Kingdom. It makes a stop in Portugal before it reaches the UK, and the breakage is reportedly somewhere between these two countries.
The cable is owned in portions by several companies, and the portion where the breakage has occurred belongs to Tata Communications.
The alternate routes are:
- SAT3, which runs from Melkbosstrand also in the Western Cape, up the West Coast and terminates in Portugal and Spain. This cable runs nearly parallel to WACS and has less Internet capacity than WACS.
- ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), which also runs up the West Coast.
- The SEACOM cable runs from South Africa, up the East Coast of Africa, terminating in both London and Dubai.
- The EASSy cable also runs from South Africa, up the East Coast, terminating in Sudan, from where it connects to other cables.
The routes most ISPs in South Africa use are WACS and SAT3, due to cost reasons.
The impact will not be as severe as in January, though. All international traffic is being redirected via alternative cable routes. This may be a viable method for connecting users to the Internet but might not be suitable for latency-sensitive applications like International video conferencing.
SA cellphones to be tracked to fight coronavirus
Several countries are tracking cellphones to understand who may have been exposed to coronavirus-infected people. South Africa is about to follow suit, writes BRYAN TURNER
From Israel to South Korea, governments and cell networks have been implementing measures to trace the cellphones of coronavirus-infected citizens, and who they’ve been around. The mechanisms countries have used have varied.
In Iran, citizens were encouraged to download an app that claimed to diagnose COVID-19 with a series of yes or no questions. The app also tracked real-time location with a very high level of accuracy, provided by the GPS sensor.
In Germany, all cellphones on Deutsche Telekom are being tracked through cell tower connections, providing a much coarser location, but a less invasive method of tracking. The data is being handled by the Robert Koch Institute, the German version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Taiwan, those quarantined at home are tracked via an “electronic fence”, which determines if users leave their homes.
In South Africa, preparations have started to track cellphones based on cell tower connections. The choice of this method is understandable, as many South Africans may either feel an app is too intrusive to have installed, or may not have the data to install the app. This method also allows more cellphones, including basic feature phones, to be tracked.
This means that users can be tracked on a fairly anonymised basis, because these locations can be accurate to about 2 square kilometers. Clearly, this method of tracking is not meant to monitor individual movements, but rather gain a sense of who’s been around which general area.
This data could be used to find lockdown violators, if one considers that a phone connecting in Hillbrow for the first 11 days of lockdown, and then connecting in Morningside for the next 5, likely indicates a person has moved for an extended period of time.
Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that South African network providers have agreed to provide government with location data to help fight COVID-19.
Details on how the data will be used, and what it will used to determine, are still unclear.