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Wireless power for smart and secure homes

A recent survey found that 97 % of people are interested in installing a home security system, according to SDM Magazine. Today’s modern homes have never been safer and more secure; a trend that’s mostly due to the wide array of desirable smart security devices that are now available.

From smoke detectors to smart doorbells, devices can quickly and securely connect via Wi-Fi to make homes safer and better protected. As consumers soak in the benefits of these current security systems, device manufacturers are now seeking to incorporate even smarter and more powerful features such as face recognition, integration with voice assistants and systems that learn from experience to reduce false alarms.

However, these more robust device features need a greater amount of power, and thus power has now become a primary hurdle to make these next-generation ideas a reality for device makers. An innovative approach to power delivery in the form of long-range wireless charging may hold the key to solving this problem and unlocking limitless possibilities.

Smart devices in a home security network

The modern home contains dozens of wireless devices that, when connected, make it more secure. When working properly, these devices can warn of a fire, break-in or even a rise in carbon monoxide levels.

Some of the most common smart devices that contribute to safety in the modern home include:

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A staple of safe homes for decades now, smoke detectors have become an almost invisible part of a home’s safety net. Modern smart smoke detectors can send alerts to mobile devices or fire departments in case of an emergency.
  • Smart cameras. Exterior smart cameras can be easily and securely attached to the outside of a home. These cameras can monitor activity around the perimeter and send video directly to the homeowner’s mobile device. In addition, doorbell cameras allow homeowners to screen visitors without opening the door; even while the homeowner is away.
  • Smart locks. These give users the ability to lock and unlock their front doors with their mobile devices, providing convenience, access control and security from anywhere.
  • Smart sensors. From window break sensors to water leak detectors, users have access to a wide variety of early warning devices designed to give them early warnings about potential threats.
  • Voice assistants. While the primary function of smart speakers appears to be delivering music and information on demand, new features allow smart speakers to identify a fire alarm chirp, a barking dog or the sound of breaking glass. voice assistants are becoming integrated in the fabric of home security as well.

Users have been attracted to the convenience and security these devices offer, both individually and combined as part of a total home security system. The appeal of these devices is simple: they can be easily controlled and set up, provide a strong sense of security and can be easily expanded when necessary.

The challenges of smart devices

Although smart home devices and systems are now more robust than ever before, device makers are being capped at the point of continued innovation because of how the devices are currently designed to get power. This is because most smart home wireless devices run on batteries. And while modern devices are able to incorporate high powered energy sources such as lithium-ion batteries, drained batteries can still cause an inconvenience or interruption to users.

The problem is that traditional batteries always seem to run out at just the wrong moment. For example, a smart camera that runs out of power while a homeowner is on vacation introduces a long-term vulnerability. Likewise, a smart lock that runs out of power when a homeowner’s child needs to unlock their front door in a hurry can cause a major inconvenience.

The next-gen device features that users tend to be power hungry. They require stronger processors on the devices and more cloud connectivity, which can quickly drain batteries. With more power options, device makers could incorporate newer features to benefit users.

Some devices use Zigbee or Z-Wave connections, which are less demanding in terms of Wi-Fi power. The drawback is that it forces these devices to require a Zigbee gateway, creating the need for an additional piece of equipment. But if unlimited power was available, users could switch to Wi-Fi and eliminate the need for the extra Zigbee gateway.

Beyond next-generation features, wireless power allows manufacturers to imagine new types of devices. Similar to the way WiFi enabled smart TVs and smart speakers, wireless power can make the impossible, possible.

It should also be noted that some devices, such as cameras, can be wired. However, this too is problematic both for users and manufacturers. Wiring prevents users from moving their devices when they switch homes and limits the ability for devices to be mobile, a key feature that many users demand today.

The solution is to ensure smart home security devices are powered constantly without wires or batteries, and long-range wireless power is a great way to deliver this solution.

Powering security wirelessly

To most, wireless charging is perhaps best known by its previous generation: a simple, short-range charging plate upon which a user would place a phone, earpiece or another device. But the most cutting-edge wireless power systems can now be implemented within devices themselves and deployed over a much longer range.

These high-tech, long-range wireless charging systems use infrared light, radio frequency signals or other methods to deliver power at a distance. A central transmitter sends energy to a small receiver that is integrated with or plugged into the smart home device.

Advantages of long-range wireless charging

There are several significant advantages that can be offered by integrating long-range wireless charging into the devices themselves:

  • No need to replace batteries. As long as devices are connected to the wireless charging system, users will no longer need to worry about changing batteries. The batteries will charge almost constantly, providing a steady stream of power. That means no interruption of service at inopportune times, no ongoing cost of battery replacements and no need to dispose of toxic batteries.
  • Installation is much easier. Nearly 44% of homeowners who want a security system would hire a professional to install it, according to SDM Magazine. Whether it’s the homeowner performing a DIY installation or a specialist performing installation, wireless charging makes the process easier and more efficient, and opens the doors for manufacturers to offer users top-of-the-line features. Easier installation also means that users can invest in and install even more devices, increasing the overall range and efficiency of their security network.
  • Adoption of more advanced devices. With an essentially unlimited power supply available, consumers will be able to use a wide variety of devices, including ones that have more advanced features. Options such as facial recognition or Wi-Fi connectivity are left out of battery-operated devices because they require too much power. However, with long-range wireless charging, that’s no longer a problem.

Besides being advantageous to users and device manufacturers, long-range wireless charging is beneficial to security service providers as well and helps increase their profitability. This is because security service providers they will be able to make fewer service calls to replace batteries, the value of their security systems increases and they experience less customer churn. In turn, security providers can retain a larger percentage of customers and spend less time and money on customer visits, which has a positive impact on profitability.

Wireless power making homes safer

Long-range wireless charging can provide today’s users with access to smart tools, powerful technologies and easy customization. Together, that adds up to a safer, more secure home and greater peace of mind.

For smart home device makers, the possibilities are limitless with long-range wireless charging. Without having to worry about a device’s capacity for performance based on batteries or wires, vendors can finally unleash their full potential to bring to market tomorrow’s most advanced home security devices and systems.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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