A Tech Edge: Starbucks Improves Its Brand With Wireless Charging

starbucks chargingFollowing its debut in stores in Boston, Starbucks has recently introduced wireless charging tables in 10 of its locations in Silicon Valley. These tables allow you to charge certain electronic devices simply by setting them down while you take a coffee break. Starbucks first set the bar for publicly available, free Wi-Fi in restaurant and café settings. Now, they are again improving their brand as the hot-spot for working professionals through the installation of these wireless charging tables.

How Does Wireless Charging Work?

Wireless charging tables are available at select Starbucks locations in both Boston and Silicon Valley. However, wireless charging is not actually as simple as it may seem. There are at least three different standards for the technology, and because the company can only employ one standard, many devices are not compatible with wireless charging. For those devices, a special case can be purchased; Starbucks has also been offering this case for free to some top customers. In addition, AT&T is planning to release phones in 2014 with new technology that will eliminate the need for the case.

The technology that Starbucks uses is Duracell Powermat, which utilizes the Power Matters Alliance’s standards for wireless charging. This technology is backed by many major smartphone makers: Google, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC, LG, and ZTE. It is also the fastest-growing standard in North America for wireless charging technology. However, Starbucks has been criticized for not using the early leader in this software, Qi. Ultimately, it is consumers of smartphones and tablets who will determine whether Qi, Power Matters Alliance, or another competitor will win this technological race.

Brand Improvement Through New Technology

While wireless charging has not yet been perfected by Starbucks, this technology has the potential to vastly improve the Starbucks brand over that of their competitors. Installing wireless charging tables in all of their locations, along with working out a system to enable use for all types of devices, will push Starbucks above and beyond other coffee shops. It will enable Starbucks to become the premier hotspot not only for working professionals, but also for anyone out and about who just wants a quick charge and a coffee.

What other brands have you seen improved by innovations in technology?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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