Energous powers Sato IoT in smart stores

  • January 17, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

California-based wireless power technology company Energous is working with Japanese auto-ID and labelling firm Sato on smart-store applications

These will combine Energous’ 1W WattUp PowerBridge transmitters with Sato IoT technology.

Through joint development, the two aim to realise wireless powering of Wiliot IoT Pixel sensor tags from a distance of 5m to 10m for asset management and inventory management in stores and warehouses that Sato is building.

IoT Pixels are small Bluetooth Low Energy tags with sensors for humidity, proximity, temperature and so on. Multiple tags that receive data from an Energous transmitter initiate data communication, with the transmitter also acting as a bridge, intelligently filtering data from the tags and relaying it to the cloud. By attaching IoT Pixels to individual products and special fixtures placed on product shelves, retailers can monitor the quantity and condition of products in real time without any manual checks.

Retail applications using Energous transmitters and IoT Pixel tags were demonstrated this week at NRF Big Show in New York.

“Retail adoption of internet-connected devices such as Bluetooth tags and asset trackers continues to rise, bringing challenges around how to power them reliably and consistently, especially in large-scale deployments that feature thousands of devices,” said Cesar Johnston, CEO of Energous. “This partnership combines our RF-based wireless power transmitter technology with Sato’s tagging to deliver power over the air at-a-distance to Wiliot IoT Pixel tags in retail settings.”

Kazuya Hirata from Sato added: “We are pleased to announce our partnership with Energous, a trailblazer in the development of wireless powering of IoT devices across multiple applications. The combination of Sato’s retail tagging hardware and software expertise, Energous’ WattUp wireless charging technology and Wiliot’s battery-free IoT Pixel tags can help usher in the next-generation retail store and smarter shopping experiences by taking a totally different approach to visualising inventory.”

WattUp supports both contact and distance charging through a compatible ecosystem. Built atop fast, efficient and scalable RF-based charging technology, WattUp is positioned to offer improvements over older coil-based charging in power, efficiency, foreign device detection, freedom of movement and overall cost for industrial and retail IoT, smart homes, smart cities, and medical devices.

Energous develops silicon-based wireless power transfer technologies and customisable reference designs, and provides worldwide regulatory assistance, a supply chain, quality assurance, and sales and technical support to global customers.

Sato provides auto-ID for companies in manufacturing, logistics, retail, food and beverage, and health care. The company has 82 years of expertise and a presence in 26 countries with a 5600 workforce. For the fiscal year ended March 2022, it reported revenues of ¥124,783m.