Walmart is experimenting with wireless power to cut battery costs

The retail giant is partnering with startup Ossia to test the tech.

Updated ·2 min read

Today, Ossia announced that it has struck a deal with Walmart to explore how its wireless power technology can be used by the retail giant. Walmart is hoping to save money on power costs across its many stores. Walmart confirmed the report to Engadget.

"When we find ways to lower costs it means we can lower our prices even further for customers, and that's something we're always looking to do," the company's director of public relations, Ravi Jariwalla, told Engadget. "As part of that, we been exploring new ways we might lower our power costs in our stores, clubs and facilities. One interesting technology we're excited to test is wireless power transfer from a company named Ossia, Inc. which could one day reduce and even eliminate our daily dependence on batteries and wired connections for power."

Ossia is a startup that developed a technology capable of delivering truly wire-free charging. The tech is able to "beam" electricity to devices in order to power or charge them; they don't have to be in contact with any sort of mat, they just have to be in range of the transmitters. The tech has been around for years, but no one has really taken advantage of it. Walmart is Ossia's first retail partner.

For now, according to VentureBeat, the tests will be limited, but if they are promising, Walmart's director of public relations, Ravi Jariwala, said that they have the option to expand in the future. Not only does this give Ossia a giant potential commercial customer, but it also allows the company to demonstrate its technology to the customers who walk through Walmart's doors on a daily basis. It's taken awhile for Ossia to gain some traction, but this might be just what it needs for its wireless charging and power tech to take off.

Update (9/10, 2:24 PM ET): This article was updated with statement from Walmart.