Wireless Charging for the Gadget Guy with Evan Kirstel

24 July 2019

Evan Kirstel is a B2B thought leader and top technology ”influencer” with a direct social media following of more than 400,000. He is active in areas like mobile, blockchain, cloud, 5G, HealthTech, IoT, AI, Digital Health, crypto, AR, VR, Big Data, Analytics, and CyberSecurity.

Evan, a self-professed “gadget fanatic” and I discuss how wireless charging can impact gadgets.

This podcast was recorded on July 1st, 2019

Yuval Boger (CMO, Wi-Charge, @TheChargeGuy): Hello Evan, and thanks for joining me today.

Evan Kirstel (@EvanKirstel): Good morning. How are you?

Yuval: I am very good. How are you today?

Evan: Beautiful. It’s sunny here in Boston. Summer is upon us and it’s our favorite time of year here in Boston, so thanks very much.

Yuval: Yeah, I lived in Boston when I was a child and I think you lived in Baltimore where I usually am, as a child, right?

Evan: I did, yeah. So I’m surprised we haven’t crossed paths, real-time, but I grew up in the Baltimore City area, and fond memories, although it’s come a long way since when I was a kid and has changed a lot, for the better mostly, small world indeed.

Yuval: Absolutely. So what do you do? Who are you, if I may ask, and what do you do these days?

Evan: Well, I’ve invented a job for myself. Basically the last few years I’ve created essentially an agency, but it’s a B2B social media marketing and social media agency, focused on thought leadership and engagement in enterprise technology.

Evan: So I’ve managed to escape the rat race, as it were, and I’m living the dream. Thanks very much.

Yuval: That’s good. So I saw that you write a lot about 5G, IoT, and blockchain and digital health and many other topics.

Evan: Yeah, whatever buzzword is out there. I love to grasp it and ride that wave. So yeah, as you know, there are a lot of buzzwords, some more real than others, but plenty of emerging technology to grasp onto these days.

Yuval: So we think that long-range wireless power is a really interesting buzzword and sort of fundamental technology like Wifi. It’s something that every device needs.

Yuval: And I’m wondering, as you look across the industries or the topics that you write about, which one do you feel could be impacted or would be most impacted by long-range wireless power?

Evan: Well, you know, I’m a gadget fanatic. I attend CES most years and I’m always fascinated by the latest gadget. And increasingly, you know, whether it’s wearables or smartphones or tablets, VR, AR, I mean all of these things are becoming a sort of omnipresent in our lives.

Evan: So I’m an equal opportunity buyer of gadgets. And, you know, it’s interesting, connectivity and power and act network access is like top of mind on all these gadgets. So I’m intrigued to learn more about what you guys do and how you can enable this next wave of innovation with devices.

Yuval: So when you think about the gadgets that you have, you know, some of them are probably wired, they have to be tethered to the wall and some are wireless.

Yuval: Which of the wired gadgets would you say, “Oh, if I wish I could disconnect the wire, the power cord, and just move it around or take it with me or install it wherever I want.” Which one would be your favorite gadget to sort of speak unwire?

Evan: Yeah, I guess it comes down to the most intimate ones, the ones that are your most personal with. I mean obviously it starts with smartphones, you know, it extends for me even to watches, I’m a big watch fanatic including smartwatches. So they’re always running out of charge in a day or two. So that would be an obvious starting point.

Evan: But then there’s some interesting, you know, scenarios like in-car technology and how to charge stuff in your car or you know, traveling with all these gadgets becomes a real nightmare. So I love this idea of, you know, gadgets charging other gadgets.

Evan: You know, like, I saw with some of the Samsung products. And I love the idea of places that can charge your gadgets. Like, I’m seeing Starbucks now where you go and has building wireless charging into its products or some stores or some hotels now have wireless charging.

Evan: So we’re getting to my Nirvana, which is having a fully charged device at all times. So as a total geek.

Yuval: And by the way, if you didn’t need to charge it, then the battery could be actually smaller, right? Because it wouldn’t need to hold a charge for so long between charges and maybe the device could get lighter and smaller.

Evan: So now you’re just teasing me, aren’t you? You’re really teasing where the industry needs to go. But I’m fascinated by your value proposition, which seems to be kind of magical.

Evan: Is this Harry Potter stuff we’re talking about? Or is this really practical technology we’re going to see when it comes to wireless power over the next couple of years?

Yuval: Well, it provides a magical experience, but it’s not magic. It’s real. I mean, it is magical in the sense that the devices appear to charge themselves that you don’t see or feel the energy bean. We deliver energy using infrared light. Infrared light is great for many reasons.

Yuval: One reason is that it’s natural. I mean, when you walk out in the parking lot, you’re exposed to infrared light. And the two of us and our ancestors and many, many, many generations have grown accustomed to living with infrared light, as opposed to no RF or other man-made technologies. And the other thing is that infrared, like light, can travel in a thin, straight line, almost like a laser pointer, and therefore you could deliver energy with pinpoint precision to a small device, even if it’s several feet or many feet away.

Yuval: So that’s why we’re so excited about this. And you can deliver meaningful energy at a distance. What I-

Evan: That’s really compelling. I had no idea and I thought I was pretty much up to speed on these things.

Yuval: So back in the day’s people were selling Wifi services, Wifi Subscriptions, right? You could go to an airport and I guess you could still buy them, could go to an airport, and have a monthly subscription and have high-speed Wifi, this in public places.

Yuval: What do you think about charging as a service? Would you pay something, anything, if your phone were just magically charged and you didn’t have to think about it?

Evan: I have so many subscriptions, I’ve lost track. So yes is the answer. I guess it very much depends on the price point, but I think even more interesting than that scenario is the industrial and enterprise applications.

Evan: Imagine you know a factory with essentially wireless charging throughout or a hospital or, like I said, hotel rooms where it’s just like air conditioning or heat, you know, charging and wireless charging becomes part of the infrastructure. Now that gets kind of interesting pretty quickly.

Yuval: It does. And I think it also gets interesting for some specialized markets. I know you write about digital health and you mentioned the smartwatch before. I think that for you, charging a smartwatch every day or two is maybe inconvenient but you’re certainly capable of doing it.

Yuval: But if you were 94 years old with you know, dexterity issues, are you going to remember to take your smartwatch off? Are you going to be able to insert the little USB plug? And if you could just keep it on and it would be charge forever. I think that’s a very interesting market.

Evan: Great Point. So the world’s really your oyster. How are you guys rolling this technology out of the next, you know, months and years?

Yuval: Well, what we do is we work with manufacturers that want to do one of three things, either get rid of a power cord. The second thing is they have a battery issue. I mean, their users hate replacing batteries. I mean, there was a big security camera manufacturer that had to recall an entire big batch of a new product just because the battery life was unacceptable.

Yuval: And for those vendors, we can say, “Look, never replace the battery again.” Get endless energy or nearly endless energy. And not only does it allow you to forget about battery replacements, but it touches on the third point, which adds functionality to the device that you could not add today because of energy limits. If you use a certain number of batteries, you only have so much energy that you can deploy for the device.

Yuval: That’s why, I don’t know, smart locks don’t have too much of cloud connectivity or voice recognition or two-way audio or camera because people are worried that they’re going to have to change the batteries every day. So we go to manufacturers and say, “Look, we’ve got this amazing new technology. It works. It’s UL certified, so it’s completely safe for consumer use, which not a lot of people can say, and now let’s see, if you guys are visionaries, what could you do with this amazing new technology for a problem that in most cases, you know you already have?”

Evan: Great, well it’s super exciting. Countdown to CES in January. Can we expect to see any devices that may be, there? You know, being announced or being launched.

Yuval: So we’ll be at CES, no doubt. And then previously, yes, we’ve done, we’ve shown a smart clock with wireless charging. We’ve shown phone charging at cafe shops, completely wireless, no need to connect the phone, but also no need to connect the table so you can have a table on wheels or a glass table or something that you move around and charge your phone there.

Yuval: So we certainly hope to have some really nice devices, some nice surprises that showcase this power of wireless charging. Anything that you’d particularly like to see?

Evan: Yeah, I think, you know, anything to do with productivity, you know, would be helpful. Whether it’s, you know, smartphones or applications that are enabled through wireless charging, like patient monitoring or you know, telemedicine, you know, things that really have a meaningful impact I think are gonna be pretty revolutionary.

Evan: So can’t wait to see what you guys come up with.

Yuval: Sounds good. So Evan, where could people get in touch with you to learn more about your work?

Evan: Well, I’m a Twitter fanatic as you are aware. So at @EvanKirstel, and I’ll be there. Feel free to tag me, DM me, message me or otherwise.

Yuval: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining me today.

Evan: Thanks so much.

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