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Woman looking at lamp in storeWith its new “Home Smart” line of furniture, IKEA is showing its own smarts. The range of desks, lamps, and tables offer the capability of charging devices wirelessly. Thus, consumers no longer have to stretch behind their home office desks to plug in their phones, nor do they need to worry about their tablet running out of charge right in the middle of a project.

Of course, the only people who can enjoy this peace of mind are those who own devices that already are enabled with technology that reflects the Qi standard for wireless charging. Approximately 80 products currently offer this capability, and IKEA joins several other big names in embracing the Qi standard (e.g., Microsoft, Nokia, HTC), organized in a Wireless Power Consortium (WPC).

A notable nonmember of the WPC is Apple, leading some commentators to predict that it will be introducing its own standard for wireless charging sometime soon. In the meantime, Starbucks has installed Powermat technology in some of its stores, in collaboration with Duracell. This standard is an open format, such that it already aligns with the approaches embraced by other companies, including AT&T, Qualcomm, and Samsung.

Discussion Question:

Why are retailers seeking to add wireless charging capabilities to their products and servicescapes?

 

Source: George Anderson, “Will IKEA’s New Furniture Be a Game Changer?” RetailWire, March 5, 2015, http://www.retailwire.com

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