To start off; please introduce yourself and give us a glimpse of your career?
My name is Daniel Schreiber. I am the President of Powermat. Most recently, before joining Powermat, I was Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and General Manager of one of SanDisk’s divisions. In that position, I oversaw the growth of SanDisk’s Sansa MP3 player to the number two position globally. Prior to that I was vice president of marketing and business development at M-Systems, the company that invented the USB flash drive.
Could you give us a piece of history of Powermat, about how and when it has been started?
Powermat was established in 2007 in Israel. We introduced our first line of wireless charging products at The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2009. Since that time, Powermat has become the dominant supplier of wireless charging products garnering over 80% of the overall market for wireless chargers. We have won numerous awards for product innovation including Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Award in 2011 and announced partnerships with General Motors and Teknion to supply wireless charging products for automotive and infrastructure respectively. We are also working with leading device OEM’s to embed wireless charging capability directly into smartphones as well as other electronic devices. Currently, we are proud to lead the category in technology, retail footprint, consumer experience, and brand.
Powermat will be integrated into GM cars beginning in mid-2012. How is the integration going?
It’s going great. As you may remember, our agreement with GM calls for integrating personal-device wireless charging into multiple automobile models. The integration of wireless technology into the automotive market is a powerful advance in convenience for consumers who will be able to utilize wireless charging capability in a variety of in-car applications. The first Powermat-enabled automobiles will be embedded in the 2013 GM models, available for purchase by consumers in late 2012.
We heard that there are issues with the interference of the wireless charging system with other wireless devices such as the electric door key, which makes it hard to obtain for example the Emark license, what is your experience on this?
Absolutely! Integrating all these technologies has required a great deal of innovation as well as old fashioned hard work. Happily, we haven’t yet encountered an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome, and so these challenges won’t slow the progress of wireless power.
In the beginning of this year Powermat and Arconas (leader in providing public seating in more than 130 airports) announced an agreement to bring wireless charging capabilities to airports worldwide. Could you tell us more about this project?
Yes, that’s right. Arconas is a global leader in the manufacturing of airport seating with a presence in over 130 airports around the world. Powermat is currently working in partnership with Arconas to incorporate wireless charging surfaces into airport lounges and seating areas. Currently, Powermat charging stations are available in several airports around the world including Toronto’s Pearson International and Chicago’s O’Hare among others, with many more on the way.
Recently Powermat joined the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), what made you decide to join this consortium rather than move on with your own technology? And when can we expect the first Qi compatible wireless chargers from Powermat?
Yes, we have joined the WPC. However, we have not now nor will we ever abandon our own technology. Powermat technology is proud to be best-in-class. Our technology has literally created the wireless charging industry.
As the leader in the wireless charging industry, we understand and support the need for a “common denominator” to which everyone in the industry can relate. As to why we joined the WPC: to the extent that the industry is growing and The WPC is gaining wider participation, we are glad to support them. Powermat has always maintained that we would support any standard that, through consensus, reaches a significantly broad audience.
However, we will continue to drive our technology. So, when a Powermat device meets a Qi-compliant device, it will interoperate with that device in accordance with the Qi specifications. But the best user experience in terms of efficiency, reliability and ease-of-use will continue to be enjoyed when Powermat receivers are paired with Powermat mats. And, by the way, we support not only the Qi standard, but several other standards as well including UL (product safety) and CE (Conformance European), as a way to help to increase the wireless charging audience and ultimately bring about a world without wires; the long-term goal and mission identified by Powermat upon its inception.
Before Powermat joined the Wireless Power Consortium, you partnered with Qualcomm. What is left of this partnership with Qualcomm?
Our joining the PWC has no bearing on how we operate as a company. The WPC is essentially an amalgamation of companies that have come together to further the adoption of wireless power and to move the industry forward in general. As previously announced, Powermat and Qualcomm have plan to collaborate. That remains intact.
What do you expect from the near field magnetic resonance charging (NFMR) of Witricity and Powerbeam are you thinking of going to use this technology as well?
Powermat technology is scalable and embeddable, and can be built directly into electronics of all kinds and almost any surface within homes, automobiles, airports, offices and other venues. Magnetic resonance is not there yet. In truth, though, resonance is not really an alternative underlying technology to inductive charging, it is better thought of as another way of implementing inductive charging, and it brings with it various tradeoffs. Our engineers have been working with resonance for years, and we are always committed to using the most compelling technology for the job. Maybe that will include resonance one day – but not in the immediate future.
What new devices can we expect from Powermat the coming year?
We have not yet made our product-related plans public for the coming year but as always you can expect innovation, cutting edge design and wireless charging support for more of today’s most popular Smartphones. In addition, we will continue to focus on developing our wireless charging technology into new growth areas and venues designed to expand consumer options and convenience.
What is the company target for Powermat and where will it be in five years from now?
The ultimate vision of Powermat is to create a wireless world free of the tangle of cords and wires. We will continue to advance our vision with even more widespread adaptation in key business-to-business areas including automotive, hospitality and airport venues. At the same time we expect to further push the envelope, and integrate wireless energy delivery into new verticals that will allow surfaces to act as “energy hubs” where the consumers can power up their favorite Powermat-enabled devices by simply dropping them on a Powermat enabled surface. And, of course, we expect to continue to provide best-in-class wireless charging solutions for consumers’ favorite smartphones and devices.