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Getting the Most Out of Industry 4.0 Investments with Wireless Power

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Aya Kantor


With Industry 4.0 fully underway, many companies are scaling up deployments of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G connectivity, sensors, and robotics. It’s with good reason. According to a 2020 Deloitte study, organizations with comprehensive Industry 4.0 strategies significantly outperform their peers with no or disjointed strategies.

Approximately 90% of surveyed organizations with comprehensive Industry 4.0 strategies generated at least 5% annual revenue growth in the most recent year.

Analysts at Mckinsey & Company say it is not uncommon to see 30-50% reductions in machine downtime, 10-30% increases in throughput, 15-30% improvements in labor productivity, and 85% more accurate forecasting with digitally enabled factories.

The limitations of cords and batteries

Many of today’s Industry 4.0 technologies are characterized by complex, expensive, limiting, and sometimes hazardous cabling and connector solutions. For example, Cobots and autonomous mobile robots and vehicles (AMRs & AMVs) are typically powered by high-efficiency batteries or route wires and power cords.

More than 60 percent of industrial IoT (IIoT) setup costs are spent on cabling and installation. Recharge or replacing batteries consistently can quickly raise opportunity costs as well. A device that loses power can cause a chain reaction that impacts productivity for the entire plant. Not to mention, identifying and replacing dead batteries in a manufacturing facility is a logistical nightmare.

There’s also the matter of safety, as damaged lithium-ion batteries pose a considerable fire risk. Damage can occur immediately or over a period of time from physical impact, exposure to certain temperatures, and improper charging.

Unfortunately, the alternative is not much better: wires and exposed sockets are also especially hazardous in industrial environments. Moreover, Industry 4.0 technologies are, by definition, meant to be connected and share data. Therefore, they require adequate power and must be capable of quickly and seamlessly transferring data at all times.

Batteries simply do not provide this capability. It does not make sense to have a battery-operated device tethered to a cable to allow for around-the-clock data transfer.

Automation demands wireless freedom

With the influx of factory automation in recent decades, having a bunch of machines that require considerable amounts of power and data transfer poses a significant problem. Fortunately, wireless power has evolved with magnetic induction to be capable of both contactless power and data transfer, which is ideal for Industry 4.0 technologies that demand autonomy and reliability.

Industrial robots and drones should be able to complete their task autonomously and recharge quickly by themselves. Advanced wireless charging technology drastically simplifies the docking process by allowing for high misalignment so that robots can simply roll up to a wireless charging mat and juice up.

In addition, wireless chargers take up minimal space in a factory environment, enabling robots to even charge “on the go” during different stationary points in their operation, such as loading, queuing, etc. This innovation eliminates the need for human interference, which means staff can stay focused on higher priority tasks or highly complex and costly contact-based charging stations.

Battery Management & Device Safety

Wireless power can further drive efficiencies by enabling greater control over the battery. Battery charging processes can be optimized and monitored to ensure each device is charged at optimum conditions, including voltage, current, and duration.

This prolongs battery life and helps avoid costly replacements. In addition, with wireless charging, robotics users never have to worry about interruptions to their operations due to robots not properly charging or parts failing, so they can achieve better productivity gains without incurring unexpected costs.

Wireless power is also safer because it eliminates pogo pins and other components associated with conventional galvanized connections, which are prone to electrical sparks, corrosion, and other hazards that can cause fires. In addition, many industrial use cases involve dynamic or outdoor environments exposed to water, mud, dust, and chemicals.

Wireless charging technology is now incredibly powerful and capable of working even in the most adverse conditions.

Quickly, Cost-effectively enhancing 5G connectivity

Underpinning smart factories is 5G. This next-generation mobile communications standard offers higher reliability, greater security controls, and reduced latency. All these features are essential for IoT technologies to effectively communicate with each other and act on critical information being generated across the facility.

In addition, 5G services should provide reliable data and power transfer across all kinds of terrains and environments, yet interference due to windows, walls, and other surfaces often restricts or delays 5G deployment.

Instead of spending time and money drilling through building surfaces or running miles of electric cabling, organizations can self-install 5G repeaters with wireless power to increase the effectiveness and reliability of 5G network coverage across the facility.

Wireless power technology has advanced to achieve much higher power levels and can self-calibrate over distance to adapt to different thicknesses of walls, windows, and other surfaces, including non-metallic mediums and highly metallic environments. The same goes for installing smart security cameras, thermostats, or sensors.

These need to be installed on the exterior side of doors, windows, and walls while receiving power from the inside. Wireless power enables organizations to overcome construction limitations or volatile environmental factors to quickly and cost-effectively install connected devices.

Go forth and manufacture with maximum ROI

Adopting Industry 4.0 strategies and technologies is critical for manufacturers to remain competitive and resilient in today’s global economy. Batteries, power cables, and WiFi simply won’t be enough to support the explosion of data and connected devices ushered in by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Therefore, if organizations want to reap the full benefits of their Industry 4.0 investments, advanced wireless power technology is a must.

Fortunately, the wireless power industry has been maturing and increasing penetration with industrial applications, helping to grow the wireless power market to over $180 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 30%. Now more than ever, wireless power and charging solutions are the key enablers for the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 strategies and the factories of the future.

Image Credit: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi; Pexels; Thank you!

Aya Kantor

Aya has over 15 years of experience in the fields of multidisciplinary product development, image processing, and data analytics. She currently works at wireless power leader, Powermat as the VP of Product. Previously, she held multiple product management and product marketing roles in leading global companies such as Applied Materials and NICE. Aya holds a BSc in Bio-Medical Engineering and an MBA in Technology Management from Tel Aviv University.

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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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