The number of devices we own is multiplying at an incredible rate. According to a recent study by Strategy Analytics, there will be a staggering 33 billion connected devices by 2030, and the number of connected devices per person will double to roughly 4.3. Perhaps more significantly, round-the-clock connectivity is now so deeply stitched into the fabric of our everyday lives that a new ‘phobia’ has been created: Nomophobia – the fear of being without a mobile device.

A recent study into mobile device habits by MK Electric, a wiring accessories manufacturer, firmly demonstrates just how shackled we have become to our smartphones and tablets. These figures are even more pronounced amongst Millennials – the workforce and homeowners of tomorrow. 84 per cent of Millenials carry chargeable devices with them while travelling, and over a quarter have ‘lost contact’ with people while on the road due to a loss of battery power. The survey also reveals that losing battery power can make Millennials feel ‘very frustrated’ (39 per cent) and ‘anxious’ (26 per cent).

But device proliferation and ‘Nomophobia’ aren’t just consumer problems - they also represent a big challenge for commercial and residential builds. Whether it’s hoteliers trying to attract and retain guests, universities trying to deliver a first-class service in their halls, or new residential builds trying to attract young buyers and renters, if you can’t offer a mobile charging service, then how are you going to keep the demanding Millennial generation coming back to you and your services? The worrying answer is; you probably won’t.

The answer is USB charging. The vast majority of mobile devices we’re all surgically attached to are USB-powered, and can be charged up using a USB cable. If schools, hotels, shops, new builds take the easy, cost-effective step of installing USB charging solutions on-site, they will instantly make their premises, and by extension their services, more attractive to their target audience. It’s a simple choice between a coffee shop or new house with handy, USB charging sockets or one without. There’s really no contest, is there?

Over the past eighteen months there has been significant innovation in the USB charging sector. Traditionally, the most popular form of USB charging has been the standalone module, but manufacturers have recently added a second option to the mix: USB modules integrated into a standard twin socket. This new option allows commercial and residential builds to integrate USB charging functionality into their existing power points, taking advantage of existing wiring and circuitry. In addition, solutions like the MK USB Integrated Socket allow four devices to be charged at once – two plugs, two USBs – for the days that Nomophobic customers and family members are fighting over power outlets.

Another important innovation is the arrival of dynamic device recognition (DDR): a ‘smart’ approach to charging devices via USB. If multiple devices – say two smartphones – are charging through one integrated socket, DDR has the intelligence to decipher, based on the make and manufacturer of a device, the specific charging requirements of each device. This allows the socket to power each device accordingly.

To the naked eye, there may not appear to be much difference in how your mobile or tablet charges. However, device manufacturers have adopted their own, often unique, configurations for charging. This means a device running on an iOS platform may have different charging requirements than one that’s run on an Android or Windows, for example.

So what does this mean for the average nomophobe? When plugging in an iPhone® that’s only at 20 percent charge and a Windows phone at 80 percent charge, the iPhone® may be “hungrier” and require more power from the socket to charge efficiently. The DDR enabled socket is smart enough to recognise this and ensure more charging power is therefore allocated to the iPhone®. In a world where every bar of battery counts, the ability to squeeze every inch of ‘juice’ from a charging outlet between lectures, meetings or flights is critical.

The number of devices we own is only going in one direction, and our attachment to those devices will continue to be borderline-excessive. It’s therefore vital that commercial and residential builds invest in the potential for USB charging solutions on their premises. Smart companies – property managers, hoteliers, educators - understand that along with Wi-Fi – a utility that is increasingly as important as electricity or running water – the ability to charge a device must be ubiquitous.

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