Dinesh Kithany – Wireless Market Forecast and Smart Home devices

26 November 2018

Dinesh Kithany is a principal analyst working within the IHS Markit Consumer Electronics team. He heads the Home Appliances Research. We discuss the wireless power market size as well as key trends.

This episode was recorded in November 2018

Yuval Boger (CMO, Wi-Charge, @TheChargeGuy): Hello Dinesh and welcome to the podcast.

Dinesh Kithany (Principal Analyst, IHS Markit): Hello Yuval and thank you very, very much for this opportunity.

Yuval: My Pleasure. SO who are you and what do you do?

Dinesh: Yes. My name is Dinesh Kithany and I’m the lead industry analyst at IHS market Technology and I look after the wireless charging and power supply market at IHS. I’ve been working with IHS for almost six years now, with a total of twenty years of experience within the research industry. And across the six years, I’ve worked on many technology sectors: consumer electronics, smartphones, small appliances, connectivity, wire interface market, robots and drones and now into wireless power and power supply. And I’m based out of the UK office.

Yuval: Excellent and I understand that you recently finished a quarterly wireless power report or wireless power forecast. Can you tell me a little bit about that, please?

Dinesh: Yes. Sure. And thanks for asking that. Yes, what we have at IHS is one of the key tools, one of the key research solutions on wireless power technology, which is a subscriber service, is called the Wireless Power Market Tracker. And this is the quarterly market tracker and what we do is every quarter we do the update of the overall wireless charging power and wireless charging market. And aside of doing the overall market update, we also do deep-dive analysis on key segments or key applications every quarter for example; the Q3 report, which was just published last week, Q3 ’18, has been focusing on mobile phones, which is one of the biggest segments, medical devices, and wearable devices. And the report comes in many formats, there’s a database file, and there’s also an insight and analysis presentation that all of our subscribers get along with the service.

Yuval: So how much does wireless power cover? I mean does it go into wireless toothbrushes? Does it go into electric vehicles? How wide do you span in the report?

Dinesh: It’s a good question and glad you asked it because the answer in this will tell us, how the market is moving. How adoption is moving across the sectors. Or how the interest level is going. When last year we were doing this research, around ten to fifteen applications, and when I say applications  I mean automobile, computer segments, mobile segments, laptop, some bit of variables and other stuff. So they were adding to, around fifteen applications. That was the end of last year and, while I’m doing the research now and talking to companies and they’re talking about their interest in adopting this into various devices, the list had nearly gone to around twenty-five, thirty applications.

Dinesh: This shows the scope in which, the pace at which wireless charging has been increasing and also with regards to company exploring their options with regards to providing that convenience factor, that technology feature, with the consumers while assessing whether if this is the right technology for users or if it’s wireless charging, which of the wireless charging technologies. So yes, what I’m planning next year to do around thirty applications but at the moment, the wireless power tracker will provide you with around twenty to twenty-two applications including sizing of the market opportunity.

Yuval: And how do you go about compiling this report? Is it interviews? Is it email questionnaires? Is it just Google searches? I mean, how do you go about it?

Dinesh: Yes. Again. Good question. And also this is where I explain working in IHS, the strength of IHS plays a big role here. IHS is a market intelligence company, IHS Markit does research across industry sectors. Not only technology, it does research in oil and gas, energy, power, telecom, automobile; every sector you name we have market intelligence products for that. And when you talk about technology, we do technology research market sizing for every device that you can even think of. Mobile phones, laptops, tablets to electric vehicles to— and not only that, we do research not only for the devices but also across the supply chain, the component. What component goes into even a microwave oven or a mobile phone? What type of semiconductor goes into that? What type of antennas what type of wireless module go into that? Each and every aspect. You pick a device, in totality or split it up into parts, we do the research on that type of market. Because of that, we have the very best important thing is that we need to know, how big is the market size. Let’s take the example of a mobile phone.

Dinesh: How big is the mobile phone market? How many mobile phones are sold globally by Region or by country? We have that information, brand level information. And for those levels of information, we also have, for some of the devices, not all, we have an exact specification. Example for mobile phones, we know how many mobile phones have a WIFI feature. How many mobile phones have wireless charging? Which of them are using 5W, which of them are using a 7.5W power rating? So that becomes a very big foundation for us to estimate the current market, what is there and the moment and in regards to any technology, any devices. But with me having access to speaking to the subject matter expert, like, I’m looking up the wireless charging, the analysts at IHS cover the mobile phone, television, robots, and drones, automotive.

Dinesh: My first point of contact is accessing my company’s own database to know the size of the market and taking that into the picture and getting leads from them, I speak to the key companies within each of those industries and sectors. And I do research with them, I do personal interviews, call on the phone. We also have discussions at various trade shows and all. And that is where we gather the information on the qualitative aspects. There is also some exchange of data that is being done across the company publicly. We sign an NDA with companies so that’s how what helps companies to give us data. Keeping in mind that data will be kept secretive and all this data is compiled into the size of the market. It becomes easier for companies to give us data so that we size it.

Dinesh: And also more important, once our database is ready, , after discussion with the client, we also have good forecasting tools. We have a good forecasting methodology which helps us to understand how the market will grow. From our recent research, we come to know how large is the current size of the market, but with discussion with the client, understanding the market and when they think about the market more from a technology perspective, it gives us a better understanding of the market. For example, I will talk to company people like, like you then you tell me how the market is going, but then, when I speak to suppliers, when I speak of, across the supply chain, I understand how many products have been growing up in the market. How many are expected to ship? How many models are you expecting to ship? That gives us a second layer of information which we try to calibrate all. Then come back with a good estimate and the forecast. And the forecast that we do for the wireless charging is a new forecast for the next five years. Plus long term forecast for the next ten years as well.

Dinesh: So that gives us, and all this data is validated before we publish out in the market. That’s very briefly our methodology.

Yuval: So the full survey is available for subscribers. I guess that one could go out and buy it but, is there anything that you can share with us publicly in terms of interesting trends or some hint on market size or interesting nuggets that you found while compiling this latest survey?

Dinesh: Yes, I could certainly share, but keeping in mind that subscriber service. I could actually give you some broad summary and considering our relationship with your company and all the industry associates, I’m sure we can share some broad top-lines in forums like these as well. So just to give you a broad view, since you asked about the size of the market, what I can say is that, currently, until 2017 around 415 million devices had adopted wireless charging. That was in 2017. And according to our forecast, considering all the applications, all the twenty applications that we researched, so far,  the market is expected to go to at least 2.2 billion units by 2023. And that huge–that fast pace in which the market is going. And if you look into the ten years forecast, the number is like 7.5 billion units. By 2027, the total number of devices which will adopt wireless charging either technology, either technology, either type of form factor, either type of power rating, is around 7.5 billion.

Dinesh: These are considering the twenty applications which are researched. They still have not added other devices that are showing more potential, which will be made possible within the next two or three-quarters time that we will add them into our surveys.

Yuval: Since we’ve spoken about phones, when we go to people and say, “we can charge your phone wirelessly,” they say, “oh no. We already have wireless charging.” And of course, there’s a difference between magnetic induction, qi pad charging, and charging a phone across the room, which is what white charge can do. Do you see the industry being confused by sort of the short-range and long-range wireless charging or maybe you have a better term to distinguish between the two?

Dinesh: Yes. First of all, it’s a good question but even though mobile phones considered as one of the key devices within the entire ecosystem, of devices which product consumers use, thanks to adoption, thanks to a good introduction of wireless charging in the form of induction technology, that many people know that,  there’s wireless charging in there. Or there could be something which could be charged wirelessly. So, the notion or the fiction people thought it to say, can it be done or not done that gets solved?. We did clear the earlier years of folks thinking that wireless charging can be adopted, can be used, or is it possible. But I would say there are still, the industry lacking lot of knowledge about whether it can be done, whether it’s really possible, or is induction the only way or how can it be done wirelessly? How can it be done from far or long distance? Are you saying you can charge your device that same way that you use a WIFI connection?

Dinesh: I don’t think so. So there a lot many gaps. First of all the awareness is still less. There are many examples, there are many mobile phones in the market which are wireless charging. First thing is, many consumers don’t even know whether that device has wireless charging. That’s one of the biggest barriers. The second thing is that when people know it, they still not using it for many reasons. One of the reasons is that the mobile phone when they buy the mobile phone, it doesn’t come along with wireless charging. It’s all bought aftermarket. So that box is bought off of the market, not along with the box in which the phone comes in. So that’s another part of it. Third thing is, this is just as the initial stages at the moment. Like we’re saying, not many devices have them, outside homes and all. So once that gets cleared, I would say the charging would get expanded. And more about it, not only the knowledge of the market but real understanding of the many benefits of wireless charging is not that clearly understood by many companies or many companies already in place want to adopt that.

Dinesh: So that’s another key area which I would say the industry is facing with regards to the growth of the –prospects of the market.

Yuval: I believe you also cover smart home devices. And one of the opportunities that we see with smart home devices is making them wire-free. So we’ve spent all this time getting rid of the data cable and it’s time we get rid, hypothetically, of the power cable. So when you think about the smart home, what type of devices would you like to see completely wire-free? What devices do you think are constrained by having power cord today and users would greatly benefit if that power cord were removed?

Dinesh: That’s a very, very interesting product segment that you talked about. Thanks to my previous knowledge of smart homes, smart home devices that include lighting, smart speakers, security systems, door alarms and all, I see a lot of potential in the market. At the moment, we don’t have a number to that, but based on my understanding of the technology scope, based on my discussion with companies so far, I see the immense potential of using wireless charging. In fact, there are still some constraints where smart home devices are still not entered into people’s homes. Either they are not reachable or it is difficult to power them or charge them or the reach has been restricted because they can just be at one corner of the house and cannot be moving around something like those.

Dinesh: So considering those constraints, I’m sure companies would re-address and want to investigate those challenges and I guess wireless charging can answer some of those questions which are- can clear some of the hurdles. So, like I said there are devices, like smart speaker, I don’t see any issues with smart speaker getting wirelessly charged currently they are plugged on into the cables and they are near, next to the television and some other corner of the house but not in the center of the coffee table which may increase user experience. So with wireless charging, I see a good potential there. I see the potential within smart lighting, LED’s, I can even see with doorbells as well. I don’t see any device that cannot be wirelessly charged. Even with the TV remote control can be wirelessly charged.

Dinesh: Even it may see a big pain point, but why not? ? We are advancing technology and sort of replacing batteries, say in six months’ time, I don’ even have to do it now. So that helps us do that. It’s only that we have to make it clearer to the consumers, and to the company that yes, it is possible and there are technologies available in the market which can make it possible. So yes, the smart home has a very good opportunity and I would say the many, many technologies have good potential there. It’s not only induction, and it’s not only magnetic resolution. I see the uncoupled technology which is called far-field technologies like radio frequency, infrared, which Wi-Charge is doing, or if you look into ultrasound, There are opportunities for these companies to adopt that, or to tap this market for the smart home. So yes. I see potential there. I hope I answered the question.

Yuval: Absolutely. So along those lines, if I gave you the chance of controlling the white charge development plan, the R&D facility for the next 18 months, what would you have us focus on? What do you think is the number one problem that we should be solving only?

Dinesh: I think the first thing the company needs to understand, that the market, first of all, has immense potential. Lots of opportunities there. The mobile phone is not the only device that will get wirelessly charged. The mobile phone is not the only sector, where you can generate business from. There are many devices and smartphone is one of them, one of the many other applications which has the potential to adopt wireless charging. Yes, obviously , you may or may not be able to use induction everywhere but there are many other ways you can do that. Most important for companies, to identify or to understand be very, very true to themselves to understand that, yes, there is technology available. It’s not that because you have a technology and you try to embed that technology in any devices. Be realistic. What we need to understand are the pros and cons of this advantage is offered by this technology and then propose potential or sector focus on a sector. This is where it will fit in more. It can go into every device but this is where it makes more sense. This is where it can be more applied. This is where it is more valued for. And that I think will become more valuable for, easier for companies to find out the niche that mentions the market. Niche segments. When I say niche, It doesn’t mean a small segment. Niche could be big segments as well in terms of unit. So that will be very, very important even and also at the same time, create awareness in the market. Create awareness within the OEM or the technology company or the wireless power technology providers. They need to go and speak to OEM, educate them, even when any of the OEM players still don’t even know about wireless charging. So talk to them, make them understand, discuss with them certifications, approval, standards whatever’s required. Speak to the consumers, independently, we are promoting this technology.

Dinesh: But as an industry also, I guess we need to come together and promote wireless charging, the same way we did for 3G. The same way we do it for 5G. The same way we did for WIFI. It’s something that has to be done with collective propaganda for wireless charging. That will help and more importantly, there are some concerns which consumers have with regards to safety health and all those standards. I’m sure these could be addressed when appropriate communication is done with all the stakeholders of the industry.

Yuval: Excellent. So, Dinesh, where do people find more about your work or otherwise connect with you?

Dinesh: Yes. They can either go to IHS technology website or they can write directly to me. My email address is Dinesh.kithany@IHSmarkit.com or you can also connect with me in LinkedIn. I can be found at Dinesh Kithany or you can send me a tweet, the handle @DineshKithany and I should be able to connect with you guys. I’d be happy to help you guys with any questions you have.

Yuval: Excellent. Well Dinesh, thank you very much for coming on the podcast today.

Dinesh: Most welcome.

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