If you’ve ever attended a conference in a big hotel, you’re probably familiar with this situation. At some point in the afternoon or early evening, your smartphone battery starts to dwindle. Often, you run out of battery completely before you get a chance to go back to your hotel room to recharge.
There are several ways to combat this. You could carry a portable charger with you. You could carry a spare battery (unless you own an iPhone) and swap it in when your first battery gets low. Or, if you’re brave, you can duke it out with the other attendees at the conference to see who gets to use the few available electrical outlets along the wall.
But if you’re staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego like I am, there’s yet another option. One that I have never seen before. It’s a charging station, manufactured by Brightbox, right outside the conference room that can charge up to 6 smartphones at once.
How it works
To use the charging station you start by swiping your credit card. Yes, you have to pay for it. Call it the price of convenience and not getting a black eye fighting for a free wall outlet. Incidentally, that price is $1.99 for unlimited charging.
Once you swipe your card, one of the six bays on the charging station opens up. You connect your phone to one of the 3 industry-standard charging cable inside, close the bay door and walk away. No one can steal your phone because it is secure inside the locked bay while it’s charging.
When you think you’re phone has had enough charging time, you simply return to the station and swipe the same credit card. The charging station is smart enough to remember the credit card and open the appropriate bay door for you to retrieve your phone.
Other neat features
Because the pricing for the Brightbox charging station is unlimited (I assume only for the day), you don’t necessarily have to wait until your phone is fully charged. You can come back 10 minutes later, check a few emails or text messages and then return your phone right back to its bay. Or you could take your phone, come back in a few hours and resume charging again.
Brightbox aims to be the Redbox of charging station which means soon there may be Brightbox charging stations everywhere you look. That’s why they created an app (iOS / Android coming soon) that will help you find the nearest Brightbox charging station. Another nifty little feature.