In a strategic move to entice customers to visit its stores, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) has announced a nationwide rollout of wireless charging ports -- equipped with a technology developed by Duracell Powermat -- which will allow customers to charge their phones wirelessly at the international chain's coffee stores across the U.S.
According to the companies, the stores will have “Powermat Spots” installed in specific areas on tables and counters, where people can charge their devices wirelessly. The new service, which was tested in a trial run last year, will initially be launched at Starbucks and Teavana stores in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be expected to expand into major markets abroad in 2015.
"Rather than hunting around for an available power outlet, they can seamlessly charge their device while enjoying their favorite food or beverage offering right in our stores,” Adam Brotman, the Seattle-based company's chief digital officer, said in a statement on the company website, adding that positive results from test runs prompted the company to roll out the facility nationwide.
More than 100,000 wireless table chargers are expected to be installed in 7,500 Starbucks stores across the U.S. within the next three years, meaning each store will have about a dozen such charging units, USA Today reported.
For Starbucks, the new move is all about attracting more customers while it is a major victory for Duracell Powermat, which is competing with New Jersey-based Wireless Power Consortium, which has developed a charging standard called “Qi” that has been adopted by many flagship smartphones such as the new LG G3 and Nexus 5, The Verge reported.
In February 2013, Duracell Powermat announced a new feature called “Mesh Network” for its wireless-charging gear to allow “Wireless Charging Spots” to be monitored and managed across the globe, according to the company.
“This new network topography is ideal for use in public places such coffee shops, airports and arenas, enabling venues to monitor, upgrade and set policies for each Wireless Charging Spot from a centralized cloud-based system,” the company said, in a statement.
While the financial details of the deal are not known, Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat Technologies, said that the wireless-charging industry will soon become a multibillion-dollar industry.
“This move by Starbucks cuts the final cord of our lives — the power cord,” Schreiber told USA Today. “It's changing the way humanity interacts with power.”