Thursday, June 20, 2013

Power to the people..... at least to their smart phones

The car charing station Media implemented awhile back technically wasn't a bad idea, but it didn't amount to much, as there wasn't any electric car market to really support it.  No one is apparently looking to wait hours to charge their car behind the Media Firehouse, while shopping and dining in Media.  What validates this is, no one has.  Perhaps that'll change in due time, but even if a full charge can be reduced to take 15 minutes, that's still too long in today's fast paced world.

What may have a viable chance of succeeding are phone charging kiosks.  AT&T is interested in this concept and recently launched a service in the greater New York area as reported this week.  It definitely has a market, in case you haven't been paying attention to virtually everyone walking around with a smartphone.  Either for actual work, or to avoid public interaction, the smartphone does well at fulfilling both tasks.  However, unlike electric cars, people are addicted to their phones and will exhibit noticeable symptoms of anxiety if separated.  Therein lies the market: The power to power your desire, which "desire" being a poetic term for your phone.

Media won't get the AT&T solar powered charging kiosks, but a free service popping up in the city is the ChargeItSpot service that does the same thing.  This service has as many a 6 small
lockers that have keys attached to the doors.  Inside,  you have an option of many charging adapters that will accommodate most of the phones out there and some tablets and IPADs too.  You plug in, close the door, lock it and off you go.  It's all free, but the theory behind that generosity is that people will gravitate to areas for free charging and hopefully hang around the store or eatery long enough to make if cost effective for the businesses who provide it.  What' s cool is that the app associated with this service will notify you of a charging station within your immediate vicinity once your battery is below a certain threshold.  

This may be useful for Media bars, but for general retail businesses and stores, I don't know.  I kind of view it like the spare tire in your car:  You hardly ever use it, but it's nice to know it's there when you eventually do need it…and you will.  I don't plan my day around my phone's battery charge, but this would be a hit at England's Heathrow Airport.  I'd gladly pay.

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