Wireless power slinger Ossia has finally secured FCC certification for its Cota protocol, which can provide trickle-charge power and even data communication to IoT devices. The lack of certification was often, if not always, brought up in conversations with other wireless power companies, and this looks like a significant initial win for the startup, which should be able to secure longer-range certification.
Ossia has always stood out from the pack thanks to its much longer ranges, and while it can’t deliver the sorts of power levels to charge smartphones or laptops, it can provide plenty to power all sorts of IoT devices – ranging from sensors, digital labeling products, or even batteries themselves.
It was a deal with a “global tier one battery manufacturer” that prompted us to ask whether this was the peak for Ossia, whether it had reached its zenith. We noted that this would be a very cool advance for batteries, and that the Cota Forever Battery could be used in all manner of low-power IoT devices, but that it wasn’t a particularly sexy victory.
A few weeks later, we covered Wi-Charge’s tower approach, which uses a device that scans for compatible receivers before beaming power via infrared to devices – a very different approach to Ossia’s RF-based implementation. It was our pondering of a wireless charging zenith that led to the discussion with Wi-Charge, in which CMO Yuval Boger said that the company’s UL safety certification was a major advantage in this market – as anyone using Wi-Charge’s designs doesn’t have to go out and get recertified by the UL labs.
Since then, Ossia announced a pilot project with T-Mobile inside Walmart distribution centers, using Cota to charge asset tracking tags. Ossia and Walmart have history, using Cota on a digital labeling project in 2018. Ossia then announced a deal with Goodman Networks, which will see Goodman be a channel partner for Cota, using its team of 2,200 installers to push Cota in smart home, retail, and other professional service providers.
Those deals hint that the potential zenith is being stoutly ignored by Ossia, with the FCC certification adding fuel to that fire. The FCC has granted Ossia an equipment authorization for its Cota transmitters and receivers, approving Cota under Parts 18 and 15 of its wireless regulations, meaning that Ossia can now freely market and sell Cota in the USA.
Ossia says it has spent months working with the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET), to prove that Cota complies with the FCC’s Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) requirements. Ossia says that Cota is the first such system to meet the specs in a dynamic environment, that is one with moving objects – not requiring a motion detector or exclusion zone.
However, Ossia admits that the initial certification only covers it running in the 2.4GHz band and at a range of up to one meter. This is not by any stretch of the imagination ‘long range,’ and we think Ossia should be hurrying up with the additional devices, as this admission is going to be an easy stick with which to beat the company. Ossia says that the first available devices based on this authorization will be available in 2020, through Ossia’s commercial partners.
“This certification is a concrete step towards achieving our vision of powering the future through Cota Real Wireless Power. Ossia’s founder, Hatem Zeine and the company’s technology team have created the design and development breakthroughs that have led to this announcement. Not only does it validate the safety and effectiveness of delivering wireless power at a distance, it paves the way for the enablement of billions of devices and sensors that otherwise are limited by the use of wires or batteries. Importantly, this certification is the first for real-world environments where people can be present in the charging area of a power at a distance system,” says Mario Obeidat, CEO, Ossia.