Today, in 2021, there are 8-10 billion IoT devices in the world. Several sources predict that number will jump to more than 24 or 25 billion in just 9 years.  How soon thereafter will it hit a trillion IoT devices?
Imagine for a moment, a trillion things connecting to the Internet every second, each thing having multiple sensors and requiring reliable, consistent power to function.
The fact that batteries need replacement or charging limits their market penetration; there is no way a trillion batteries could be serviced to maintain functionality. Current efforts to reduce power consumption to prolong battery life are curtailed by efforts to increase edge computing capability, increasing the power consumption at the IoT itself. And it goes without saying that we will not be wiring a trillion devices.
IoT will need power delivered to it from a distance, just like Wi-Fi/cellular connects all the IoT we have today without wires, wireless power will not only power the IoT itself, but will boost the market penetration rate of IoT as since the wire and battery is almost literally the ball and chain holding back the IoT expansion. Wireless power is here not only to stay, but to roost and flourish.
Let’s take a look at two different industries and consider the impact of wirelessly powered IoT.
Wireless Power, IoT, and the Food and Beverage Industry
The food and beverage industry has and will continue to have a primary challenge: controlling quality across the entire supply chain. From the moment the product is created to the moment it is sold, each item requires a certain level of environmental control to keep it from becoming damaged.
- Milk, dairy, meats, and fish require temperature control as they move from warehouse to truck to store refrigerator.
- Frozen foods need to stay completely frozen, even during the hot summer months.
- Fragile goods such as chips and crackers need to not be shaken or compressed.
The list goes on. Now imagine if all products included a sensor that provided data about its environmental controls. A milk carton would be able to tell you if that milk has ever had prolonged exposure to temperatures outside the fridge. Food product boxes could tell you if they had been excessively rattled. Frozen food packaging could send an alert if the item had become partially defrosted and refrozen.
Not only would these sensors need to be small and inexpensive, they’d also need to be self-sufficient. Wireless power would easily enable this IoT use case.
Not only businesses need to think about their products, but also the buildings they work within. Let’s look at building and construction next.
Wireless Power, IoT, and New Construction
Smart, environmentally friendly, sustainable construction will soon become the norm. “Smart technology investments can help buildings perform better, increase profitability and save up to 15% in annual energy costs by addressing common sources of energy waste such as systems running in unoccupied,” says the NAIOP.
These smart technologies largely comprise of IoT. Consider:
- Smart thermostats that monitor and control temperatures in offices, server rooms, and refrigerated areas
- Smart light bulbs that dim or turn off when no one is present
- Smart window shades that close when in full sun
- Water sensors in floors and under sinks that help prevent flooding
All of these technologies already exist. Now imagine technologies that can continually test the air for viruses, bathroom surfaces that can tell you if they are clean, or floor tiles that can provide data on foot traffic. Wireless power makes these inventions not only possible but accessible. It is conceivable that wiring these devices is possible, but due to the scale of units that need to be installed, the wiring cost would add significant cost to a building, where wireless power would maybe such deployments quite feasible, not only for new construction but enable retrofitting old buildings with large sensor networks.
As consumers become accustomed to the advancements of IoT and the data and levels of control it can provide, demand will increase. The only way to satisfy this need is to build these features and products without the need for wiring or batteries. Again, wireless power over air is the only answer.
Economics Will Drive Wireless Power into IoT Mainstream
Researchers estimate that the revenue from the IoT industry will grow from $465 billion to more than $1.5 trillion between now and 2030.
With IoT growing at this breakneck speed, it only makes sense that the wireless power market will grow right alongside it.
But various sources predict that the entire wireless charging market will grow to somewhere between $13 billion and $25 billion by 2026. I believe this is a gross underestimate, and maybe too focused on current induction charging methods without weighing the implications of how soon wireless power over air, like Cota™, will gain mass adoption.
If a trillion IoT devices require wireless power receivers, and those receivers are $.30 per device, that is $300 billion. The economic impact of wireless power will not be in the tens of billions in the coming decade, but rather the hundreds of billions.
Cota is currently the only working wireless power technology that is ready to power this revolution. Is your business ready to embrace it?
 Whenever wireless power is mentioned in this article, it means wireless power at a distance, to separate it from “wireless charging pad” common definition.