I’m not sure if the following will increase Internet or Wi-Fi traffic, but it will certainly increase competition for seating at your favorite coffee shop. In conjunction with Duracell, Starbucks will rollout special charging stations built into tables to wirelessly charge your cell phone. The clear pun here is that you can now get a cup of coffee and a table, and really charge your batteries.
Over the next three years, Starbucks intends to install more than 100,000 Powermat charge pads into tables in all of its Starbucks and Teavana locations. Duracell and Starbucks correctly found that having a dead battery in your cell phone is one of the most stress-inducing situations, particularly for iPhone users.
If you are unfamiliar with wireless charging, it's actually quite a simple process that uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy from one object to another. In this case, the user will need a compatible smartphone, or a special backing for their smartphone, in order to receive the energy. The case for an iPhone 5s can be purchased for $39.99, and for a Samsung 5 as low as $24.77. So, the price to enable your smartphone to take advantage of the wireless charging capability is quite reasonable. It does take a bit longer – perhaps an hour or more – and since inductive charging (the technical name) is less efficient, it also requires a bit more energy. But isn’t that the price of convenience?
With this announcement, has Starbucks become another entrant into consumer electronics, as they claim they may sell the required smartphone cases? Unclear, but it is an acknowledgement that by keeping their customers in the stores longer, or providing a service beyond beverages and food, they will increase their value proposition and improve the customer experience.
In other news, the awards for the worst named products of the year have to go to Lincoln for the MKZ, MKS, MKC, MKX and MKT. I doubt any of you can describe these vehicles based upon their names. Ridiculous!
And, finally, Unified Communications as a Service is experiencing rapid growth in hybrid implementations, or the use of both public and private access. Public access or over-the-top dominates, but as the number deployments increase and the need for QoS expands into mid-size and enterprise segments, private access is demanded.
With regard to hybrid UCaaS deployments, Synergy Research Group’s founder and chief analyst Jeremy Duke stated, “They combine the cost and flexibility benefits of public cloud with the control and security benefits of private cloud.” I can add nothing more.