Getting a Charge Out of Standards

Best Practices, CEO Corner : Article

I love new tech toys. Sometimes they’re just good for their own sake, and sometimes they teach a larger lesson.Getting-a-Charge-Out-of-Standards.jpeg

My latest toy is a Zolt charger. These are pretty cool—a shout out to It’s the world’s smallest and lightest laptop charger. And it works great. But there’s a catch.You have to have the right tip. Not to worry, the Zolt comes with a bunch. But therein is a great example of the need for standards. Lenovo alone has three different tips for charging a laptop.

There was a time not so long ago that this was the case for cell phones. Every new cell phone had a different charger. Today, the industry has standardized on either microUSB or, in the case of Apple, Lightning. We’re a ways from that with laptops—though wireless charging is getting there, albeit with competing standards.

In the end, though, this is a great illustration of one of the greatest benefits of technology standards groups—ease of use for consumers. If I forget an iPhone charger on a trip, there are countless places I can go to get one. Even gas stations at highway rest stops have them. A laptop is a more debilitating problem—you’re left hoping that someone else at the conference has the same model.

And in that moment when you’re hunting around the table searching for power, the last thing on your mind is “boy, I really hope technology standards groups become more pervasive and successful in the power space.” But that’s the answer. More and better standards.

Here at Virtual, we’re happy to be part of driving that future in so many technologies. So if you’re in the business of making laptop power adapters, give us a call: you could use the help. And I could use a new tip for my Zolt, because I lost “Z9,” the one that charges the X1 Carbon—and until we have better standards, none of the others will work.


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