Look around you, maybe it’s on your desk, in your pocket, you’re holding it, or it fell between the couch cushions and you’re scrambling to find it because you haven’t checked Facebook in the last 20 minutes.
We’re talking about your Smartphone.
Did you know that in 2013, 91% of adults had their Smartphone within an arm’s reach 24 hours a day according to a study by Morgan Stanley. Did you know that the number one complaint users have about their Smartphone is the battery life? Recent advancements in automation technology are coming to your rescue!
The battery that powers your cell phone has come a long way from its initial form and have been around longer than you might think; dating back to the 1700’s. They consisted of layers of copper and zinc which were separated either cloth or cardboard and were immersed in brine to produce the charge. This was called the Voltaic Pile. The battery that you’ll find in your phone is more than likely a lithium-ion polymer version, which also for flexibility in shape and size. As you probably realized, batteries today are a bit different as they are more complex and hold a great charge. Still we have a common problem in that the latest and greatest battery never seems to last as long as we’d like it to.
This is where automation shines.
Automation has long been used for electronics that have a continuous channel of energy such as event lighting and sound, stoplights, streetlights, even your coffee maker in the morning. This method boils down to selecting how much energy and when to use it. It has already made its way to your Smartphone. The screen dims when the lighting conditions warrant or when the battery reaches a certain percentage of life remaining. Applications are often running in the background of your phone even if you’re not using them directly. Automation software detects these processes and shut them down, thus resulting in your phone consuming less of its lifeblood.
Your Smartphone is not the only place that you will find automation software. Electronic vehicles experience the same consumer complaint of a not enough battery life to make them as practical for the everyday consumer. Automation is the turn-to-solution for the auto industry. Researchers are experimenting with “connecting” electronic vehicles to information sources that when supplied with the drivers vehicle settings preferences as well as their route, can then manage the power output in the vehicle to optimize the battery’s life. For example, if the driver puts in the route that they are going to take, the GPS will have the topology information and the vehicle can then plan ahead as to when it is going to have to use more or less energy for a better and further driving experience. Some in the industry say it can lead to a 15% battery life increase!
While batteries might make an improvement to energy capacity in the near future, you can expect automation software to improve even further and faster making the biggest difference in how long you can drive your Electric Vehicle and browse your Facebook between charges.