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How to integrate power into public spaces to improve customer satisfaction

How many times have you been stuck waiting somewhere, whether it be an airport, train station, or a dentist’s office, and your phone battery is low? But you need your phone to call someone, or use your GPS to get yourself home, and now you’re worried about how much longer you have until your battery completely dies. If you do end up finding an elusive power outlet, it generally has you sitting uncomfortably on the floor.

We’ve all experienced the dread of a dying battery with no where to charge. That’s why the supply of power to the public space audience is one of the most cost effective and easiest ways to improve customer experiences. It is one of the biggest trends in the transportation industry, and it is increasing in every public space where people spend their time waiting.

Increasing customer satisfaction:

Providing WI-FI in restaurants, colleges, community centers, and public spaces in general has become commonplace, and where people use WI-FI they also want power. This is especially true in spaces where people have to wait. Customers appreciate access to charging and where facilities have aligned their amenities to accommodate people’s needs, overall customer service ratings improve. For example, according to a survey, after installing seat-side power outlets at Port Columbus International Airport, 25% of passengers reported being more satisfied with the airport.

Power module at Tulsa International Airport

Power module at Tulsa International Airport

Tips for integrating power:

For those considering installing power solutions in your space, below are some tips for strategic placement of power at the planning stage:

– Add power to the core building plan. Planning from the beginning stages will save time and money needed after to retrofit the space

– Consider modular power options that are “plug & play” systems rather than installing units that need to be hard wired and are permanent

– Consider installing power modules that can be daisy chained to minimize construction and installation costs

– Increase revenue with power by installing furniture with outlets in specific areas. For example, near concessions or duty free where people are more likely to spend money as opposed to a child’s play area. When people don’t feel tied down to a spot (because power options are a-plenty), they are more likely to walk around and spend.

But how many power outlets will you need?

– The power everywhere approach provides a convenience and stifles the fear of losing time, making it comfortable to wait in a waiting area

– A standard for large public spaces is to ensure that at least 1/3 of all furniture in waiting areas provides access to power for charging electronics

– If it’s not feasible, any amount of power will help people get by and keep them satisfied

Power bars are an excellent amenity for people to work and charge their electronic devices at the same time. Consider electrical components that are certified to UL standards and only require a single power source. This allows a facility to add this single source amenity to the layout without any costly hard wiring.

inPower bar at John Rennie Highschool

inPower bar at John Rennie Highschool

Wireless charging:

Surfaces will also see a rise in integrated wireless charging such as Qi technology. Qi is quickly becoming a popular industry standard used by major smartphone companies including Apple, Samsung, LG, Google, among others. The technology can be safely and seamlessly integrated into counters and tables so that users simply have to place their device on the surface to charge.

Seamlessly integrated wireless charging

Seamlessly integrated wireless charging

Integrating power into furniture is a direct access resource for the public. Users can access personal AC and USB ports to charge laptops, tablets, phones, MP3 players and gaming devices. People want comfort and easy access to electrical outlets; something that makes people feel like they’re at home.