Pay to charge coming up? I wouldn't doubt it

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by viguera, Feb 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    Still in its infancy, but Sony is currently working on FeliCa-based power outlets that would (theoretically) allow airports and cafes to require payments (via NFC) if you want to plug in your device.

    I wouldn't doubt that there's market for this, primarily because it wouldn't require a significant effort and it's like finding money on the street (for the merchants). Using the power line as a network is nothing new, and with the introduction of NFC on several handhelds already you could potentially be required to "authenticate" with the outlet and agree to some sort of micro-payment before your device would charge.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/14/2796971/sony-authenticating-power-outlets-charge-nfc

    I think of it as a parking meter... you could pay a certain amount (as long as it's somewhat reasonable) for the convenience of using the space (in this case the outlet). Good and bad, because the idea of paying to charge your device sounds alien to most people, but I'm certain that if this actually picks up you'd see an outlet every 3 feet at every airport.
     
    2soonold likes this.
  2. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I think I've seen a low tech version of the same idea in Japan. Some hotel lobbies and other public places have a set of lockers for cell phones with chargers that IIRC are coin operated.
     
  3. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    I remember seeing a similar "recharge station" I think at McCarran a year or so ago. A little locker where you plug in your phone and lock it, then come back later and pick it up.
     
  4. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    It's especially convenient in Japanese hotels because the entrances to hotel restaurants are frequently signposted as cell phones prohibited.
     
    viguera likes this.
  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,384
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Status Points:
    1,445
    Cash only? Or will you be able to charge your charge?
     
    MLW20 and viguera like this.
  6. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    The ones I saw in Japan were cash, but Japan uses cash more than the USA. In fact, typical Japanese people carry more cash around with them than most of us would feel comfortable with, but of course Japan has much lower crime rates.
     
  7. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    384
    Status Points:
    595
    I have seen stations at airports in the US that have about 20 different cell phone charger ends and you can put a few bucks in and get 30 mins of charge (they are marketed by the same people who do the luggage carts).

    I just don't see this catching on. Sure the power adds up for the host but we are talking pennies of actual cost on the individual transaction level (it's not like we are charging cars inside the airport terminal now). This is just simply the cost of doing business in the 21st century.
     
    traveltoomuch likes this.
  8. Captain Oveur
    Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,243
    Likes Received:
    14,058
    Status Points:
    12,520

    Doesn't read to me it's a power-cost issue. It's a revenue-generator. Never underestimate the power of people trying to make an extra buck.
     
    2soonold and viguera like this.
  9. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
  10. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    That's the way I see it... if you have people charging up for free at an airport or coffee shop or whatever, even if it only costs a few pennies per outlet per day, over time that adds up significantly, I'm sure.

    I'm not saying I'd like to see free outlets turn into pay-to-use outlets, but I can understand why they would.
     
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    And the chargers (equipment) needs to be maintained. If it leads to more wide-spread availability of charging stations and maybe workstations in airports, I'd certainly be willing to pay for the cost of electricity if it's done seamlessly/efficiently.
     
  12. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    What annoys me about these schemes is that the transaction cost is so much larger than the cost of the product. For only penny or two worth of power, the payment industry will collect several tens of cents (at least) to process the transaction. What a useless drain on us all.

    Let's do some math: assume an outlet is in use 12 hours a day, with two laptops (not just phones!) plugged in. Assume a power draw of 65W (very high, but it's what my laptop's power brick is rated). Over a month, that's about 47 kWh. New England and California electric rates, among the highest in the country, are around $.15/kWh. So that outlet costs $7/month to keep turned on. More realistically, some of that time there will only be one device plugged in, and often it will only be a phone.

    Putting it another way, plugging in a 65W laptop (again, a very high estimate) with an electric rate of $.15/kWh (likewise, high) costs a grand total of one cent ($.01) per hour.

    Is power valuable enough to pay for? Probably. Could the vendor collect enough to justify the cost of installing a new "smart" outlet ($100-300, given union electricians working in airports, I'm guessing)? Probably. But what a waste of the world's resources.
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel likes this.
  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,504
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    It needs a micropayment system. Traditional credit cards have indeed way too overhead.
     

Share This Page