On 5th January 2015, the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) announced that both organizations have signed a letter of intent to merge, with the aim to create one organization that would accelerate the availability of wireless charging technology on a global scale. The merger is expected to close by mid-2015.
A severe obstacle to mass adoption of wireless power technology has always been the fragmented technological landscape, where wireless power systems are incompatible with one another. Requiring a specific type of transmitter to be paired with a specific receiver type negates most of the convenience consumers have been led to believe they can expect from wireless power. Moreover, companies all along the value chain have understandably been reluctant to invest in wireless power until they have more clarity on which technology specification will emerge as the global standard.
In a bid to address these concerns, several bodies are active in efforts to standardize wireless power. For a long time, the major competing bodies have been the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), the A4WP and the PMA, with the WPC leading the market in terms of commercially available solutions.
In February 2014, the A4WP and PMA announced they had signed an agreement to partner, meaning that a member of both the A4WP and the PMA would be able to build a solution compatible with both standards. This month’s announcement goes one step further as the A4WP and PMA now plan to form a single entity.
With a combination of the PMA’s recent attempts to build a substantial infrastructure for wireless charging in the hospitality sector (See June 2014 announcement of the installation of PMA wireless charging stations in all Starbucks stores in the US) and A4WP’s growing “Rezence” brand, this merger could help the newly combined entity gain traction on WPC .
Ultimately, a reduction in the number of competing standards for wireless power technology is a major step toward enabling wide-spread adoption. IHS predicts that more certified products will become commercially available in 2015 and has forecast that the number of wireless charging receivers which use loosely coupled technology (e.g. magnetic resonance) will overtake those which use closely coupled technology (e.g. inductive) in 2017 when the total market is expected to grow to be worth over $7.5 billion.
More analysis from IHS: Wireless Power Intelligence Service