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February 20, 2017updated 21 Feb 2017 11:15am

WPC Conference: Beware fake Qi wireless chargers

Menno Treffers urged business and consumers to be careful with unlicensed wireless technology.

By Joe Clark

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) has warned that as demand for Qi wireless charging technology rises, consumers and businesses must be weary of fake and potentially dangerous products.

During the WPC London Conference and Exhibition, the industry group spoke about the multitudes of non certified Qi wireless charging products that have become available on marketplaces such as Amazon, and even in brick and mortar stores.

The fake products, are not tested and certified by the WPC and there’s a chance that they have possibly not been tested at all. One of the main problems with uncertified Qi tech is that the wireless chargers have a tendency to heat up and the higher the wattage the faster the temperature can rise. Naturally, this is a very serious danger and could even result in fire.

WPC

Menno Treffers, Chairman at the Wireless Power Consortium, said: “We’ve been lucky, there’s nothing yet that I’m aware of that’s caused a fire or sent people to hospital. The safety record is excellent but I’m worried about the potential or the consumer getting a bad experience, with 50 million chargers out there it’s certainly something.”

Currently the Wireless Power Consortium estimates that 90% of consumers are aware of wireless charging technology with as many as 80% planning to purchase it in the future. A further 76% want phone manufacturers to include Qi technology in their devices.

The market for Qi charging has grown by 20% since 2013 and is expected to have grown by up to 120% by 2020, according to a report by the WPC.

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In order to combat the spread of fake products in the market the Wireless Power Consortium has devised several possible courses of action. These include Qi certified products being fitted with a logo, though they remarked this may no be practical, as fake products are not above copyright infringement and have been known to copy the logo.

Other methods suggested by the WPC were the inclusion of a URL or QR code with the device that would provide consumers with the official safety certificate. Again, the industry group believes that whilst this is more reliable it’s fairly impractical for consumers.

The group said that the most effective way to ensure a device was legitimate is to enter the product number into the publicly available Wireless Power Consortium Database to ensure the device purchased matches the device listed, including brand name, product type, and number.

Counterfeiting in technology is becoming more prevalent and recently the Alibaba Group helped create a Big Data Anti Counterfeiting Alliance to stop the sale of counterfeit products.

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