Walmart has teamed with Ossia on a pilot project that will explore the potential use of wireless power in the retailer’s stores. The project, which Walmart has confirmed, may help the retailer reduce the power costs across its various locations. The pilot project will only test Ossia’s technology on a limited basis, the potential savings rolling over for consumers.
Walmart is the first retailer to test Ossia’s technology, according to VentureBeat, which first reported on the matter. Walmart confirmed the pilot project, stating that Ossia’s technology could offer the retailer a way to reduce its power costs, these savings translating to lower prices on consumer goods.
In a statement, Walmart’s director of public relations Ravi Jariwala said:
When we find ways to lower costs it means we can lower our prices even further for customers, and that’s something we’re always looking to do. As part of that, we been exploring new ways we might lower our power costs in our stores, clubs and facilities. One interesting technology we’re excited to test is wireless power transfer from a company named Ossia, Inc. which could one day reduce and even eliminate our daily dependence on batteries and wired connections for power..
At the heart of the test is Ossia’s Cota platform, which involves transmitters with antennas in a location working with transceivers to deliver wireless power to devices that are running low. The technology could be used, in part, to power battery-based devices like barcode scanners and security cameras.
Electronic shelf labels are another component that could benefit from wireless power; rather than wiring the ESLs or using batteries for power, Ossia’s system could wirelessly deliver the power needed to use these labels while reducing the burden of managing the setup. Distribution centers could similarly benefit from the technology, though whether Walmart will ultimately adopt it in a substantial way is yet to be seen.