After several weeks of Covid-19 shutdown, many businesses are coming out of quarantine and negotiating a plan for getting back to work quickly and safely – without skipping a beat on productivity.


It’s what we’re calling the rush to critically re-evaluate office terrain. Assessing how environments are currently being used and how might those spaces be re-imagined in this “new normal.”

Just like the original Space Race – it’s a competition to see who can win by being the fastest to firsts in a whole new age. Only this time, it’s about being the first to figure out how to reconfigure the workspace to incorporate physical distancing.

Whenever we are racing to make huge leaps and giant changes to our everyday lives, technology is at the forefront. Good old Technology – the true VIP of social distancing. Video calls, ordering groceries online, ordering everything online, working from home; It’s all made possible by technology. And this huge increase in working-from-home isn’t going away once stay-at-home orders are lifted. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by end of 2021.

Even with a larger number of employees handling business from home, about 75% of employees will be returning to work in a shared workplace. And, finding a way to bring them back in safely is a huge undertaking. This one can’t be solved with Zoom Meetings and online shopping. For these changes, we must get back to physical space.

Currently, the CDC recommends we give each employee 6 ft. of space and we know that’s the number one factor when it comes to re-configuring the workplace. It’s a game changer. The open office floor plan was designed around the idea of fitting as many people as possible in a collaborative work environment. Now we have to completely flip the switch – without sacrificing the connectedness of the open floor plan we’ve grown to love. And we have to do it fast. Byrne’s own Facility Manager, Dane, is dealing with this challenge right now.

“Real Estate is a hard thing to come by, so maximizing spaces to their full dimensions is critical. Getting more out of our physical space while creating an inviting and safe place to work is the ultimate goal.”

Needless to say, he’s been busy. Hard at work; researching and implementing creative solutions for maximizing space and encouraging safe, social distancing.

We’ve compiled a list of some quick-fix office reconfig ideas that can help you make the most of your space as employees start to return to the work place.


From “we” to “me.” 








Modifying Collaborative Space to work as Dedicated Space
Reclaim work cafés and walk-up meeting areas to create more permanent work spaces. Office design over the last decade has shifted to more common areas – more choice in where you can work. Because of that, these collaborative spaces often have more square footage in the floor plan than designated desking. Think of it as “we” space to compensate for less “me” space. For social  distancing, reclaiming some of this shared space is key.

Divide to unite. 

Adding Space Dividers to Create Physical Barriers
In the short term, we will see space being broken up with temporary dividers and partitions giving workers a sense of privacy and security. They’ll break up ancillary spaces to encourage smaller “huddles.” They’ll be used to promote privacy in an open floor plan. They come in a ton of different shapes, sizes and materials so they’re an excellent way to retrofit an environment.

Online is on target. 

Encourage video conferencing and other collaborative meeting platforms
Keep workers connected and productive – across the building or across the globe. More online meetings & working-from-home. What does that have to do with the physical office space? A lot actually. Remember the whole “dedensifying conference rooms thing” from number three? It means less of us can gather in a room and jump on a call with our work-from-home collaborators. It means we may have to join the virtual meeting from wherever we are. It means offices will need to provide more locations for video calls for smaller groups of people. Less in closed conference rooms and more out in the open.

Don’t be so dense. 








Rethinking Conference Rooms for a Less Dense “Shared Power” Experience
Currently, the CDC recommends we no longer gather in groups of ten or more. And there’s also the six feet rule that needs to be considered. A conference table that normally sat 8 people comfortable may only really work for 4 now. All of this means those large conference rooms that used to host big cross functional meetings may end up being used as storage for all of the chairs that have been removed from everywhere else.


Capitalize on Outdoor Spaces for Added Real Estate and Healthy Distancing
The trend in working outside is not a new one. Millennials and GenZers have been demanding more outdoor spaces at the office for a while. Coming back to work after social distancing at home for months will surely heighten that demand. Being outdoors encourages physical well-being and mental well-being. And for many people, it’s been a huge factor in “keeping their sanity” during this challenging time.  Obviously working outside all day has its challenges – the weather, ergonomics, and the access to power too. But creating hardworking outdoor spaces for employees coming back to work will be a much needed breath of fresh air.


As employers quickly improvise facilities and furnishings for returning employees, power may be easy to overlook, but it’s one of the most critical aspects of any successfully re-imagined workplace. We asked Dane (our Facility Manager again), what kind of role power distribution plays in getting spaces ready for back-to-work.

“Having multiple solutions for power has allowed us to reconfigure based on social distancing guidelines, knowing we had products that could support the new floor plan. When you only have to focus on the physical dimensions, knowing power solutions are in your back pocket to solve most issues, it allows you to be creative in problem solving.”

There’s no easier way to turn one wall outlet into a bunch of places to plug in. And, our mounting options make it easy to add power to any table style. Mount it under the table, on the table’s edge, or as a freestanding unit. But just because they were designed for the desk doesn’t mean they’re not powerful in other places too. Remember those divider screens we talked about? You can easily add power to those too.


Interlink IQ allows you to connect power to up to 8 tables with just one power cord. That’s one outlet – providing power to up to 8 tables. And it can be rearranged whenever and put back together however you want. It’s also great for providing power for a long table so coworkers can spread out at a shared table, without sharing power too.

Coming up with room for everyone, re-purposing furniture, following new rules and guidelines – it’s a lot. But arranging workstations around access to power outlets doesn’t have to be complicated too. There are plenty of ways to bring power to where you need it – no the other way around.

If moving desks or seating up against the wall is the best way to give coworkers the distance they need, you may find having a few more outlets   a huge help. With 4-Trac, add up to 13 duplex receptacles without making any cuts in the wall. And there’s no need to involve an electrician either.

Distributing power along the perimeter of a conference tables gives users their own access to charging so they aren’t reaching across the table or huddling close to shared outlets. Under-surface mounted power accessories are a great way to save valuable real estate on top of the table too. 2-Trac is a super low-profile DC power solution that easily offers multiple user’s their own place to charge up. Twine is a highly configurable branching cord solution that can definitely provide some distance.

Outdoor Vesta is a completely battery powered charging unit that includes enough USB ports to share with the team. And, with waterproof USB ports, it’s safe to leave outside all day. Rain, snow, or shine – just bring it in to recharge now and then.

Creating physical barriers is an excellent way to break up a space and give coworkers some personal space, but they can also break up access to power. So, depending on what the space is being used for, it may be important to take that into consideration. Combining divider screen solutions and power distribution makes  it easy to retrofit privacy anywhere, without skipping a beat when it comes to productivity. Twine + Solo and Fence (coming soon) are great power partners for the privacy panels you’re sure to be using a lot of in the future.



At Byrne, we’re electrical experts so you don’t have to be. If you have any questions about power as you work through your new office layouts, just give us a call, or send us your new layout. We’re happy to help.

A whole lot, actually. That little USB-C connector means using just one cord across a range of different devices. And who wouldn’t love that?

What else is there to love about USB-C?

We’ve put together a list of a few things that are sure to make you a fan. 

1. Cross Platform Charging

Not that long ago (perhaps earlier this morning), you needed a lightning connector for your iPhone, a micro USB for your Bluetooth speaker and an AC adapter for your computer. And with all that incompatibility often comes the hassle of carrying a bag full of adapters, cords and charging bricks. USB-C technology is different. It doesn’t just work across various brand platforms—like phones from Apple or Samsung—it works across whole technology platforms. Phones. Laptops. Tablets. With USB-C, one universal, shareable cord charges them all.

2. A New (and Better) Connector

If you’ve used a USB-C connector, you may have noticed that you can plug it in seamlessly. No flipping it around to find the top or bottom. The connector’s small size also means better mobility, lighter laptops, smaller tools and more space for other cool tech features.

3. Audio, Video & Super-fast Data Transfer

USB-C supports audio and video transfers up to 10GB per second. How fast is that? Well, you can download a high-definition, full-length movie in about 30 seconds.  With older USB technology, you could only transfer images and file data. If you wanted audio or video, you’d need a meatier HDMI or VGA cable. 

4. Rapid Charging & Power Delivery

Because we use all of this technology—phones, laptops, speakers, tablets, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more – so often, the need to plug in and charge quickly is a very big deal. That’s what makes the Power Delivery protocol used in the USB-C platform really exciting.

So, how fast is USB Type C Really Catching On?

Adopting new tech is a bit like adjusting the direction of a very big ship. Although USB-C is enjoying widespread support throughout the industry, it takes a while for any ship to turn—and for manufacturers and consumers to fully embrace any change. Until then, you’re sure to find both USB-A and USB-C co-existing in the market. But the change is happening.  

  • Devices that feature at least one USB-C port are forecasted to reach nearly five billion devices by 2021, up from about 300 million in 2016—that’s an annual compound-growth rate of more than 70% in just five years. (IHS Market, 2018)
  • USB-C technology launched in 2014, and since then has received ten times more interest and investment in patents than USB Type A.
  • All signs indicate that by 2021, 75% of smartphones and 100% of laptops worldwide will include USB-C Connectivity. (StarTech, 2018) 

What About The Older USB? 

At the rate new technologies, like USB-C and wireless Qi are growing, it looks like the older USB-A could be completely overtaken as early as 2021. While USB-A is still electrically compatible with the new USB technology, because of the updated port design, adapters are required if you want to connect a traditional USB flash drive or other device to a USB-C port.

POWERING FORWARD: How will USB-C  change the way we work? 

USB-C isn’t just about changing the way we plug in—it’s about changing the way we power whole spaces. Now, in areas where you previously needed AC power to charge laptops, you may only need USB-C charging ports. And that’s a game changer.

If you’re a designer working on collaborative spaces today, power should be at the center of your thinking. Asking some simple questions up front can help you understand if USB-C, USB-A, or traditional outlets are best for the space.

  1. What do users need to do in the space?
  2. Do they require more than that 100 Watts of power to charge their devices?
  3. Is there more value for your users in the convenience of USB-C access, or the familiarity of traditional AC outlets?

It could depend on personal preferences, as well as the flexibility needed within the space. So for a while, it may be a good idea to offer users multiple ways to plug in with blended power solutions that combine AC outlets, USB-A ports, USB-C ports and even wireless Qi charging.

USB-C offers a terrific opportunity for improved collaboration and easy connectivity through universal access. Its super-fast data delivery increases the speed of those connections for improved productivity too. And once the marketplace fully adopts USB-C, our bags won’t be overflowing with that old familiar mix of bulky adapters necessary to tackle whatever technology we might face. Instead, the USB-C interface will allow us to simply charge our devices, display shared content and transfer data, quickly and easily—all with a single cord.


Byrne is adding to our offering of USB-C charging solutions, and making it easier than ever to bring power right to where you need it, even in highly collaborative & ever-changing ancillary spaces, like these. For USB-C solutions to keep your space connected, click here. 

Gone are the days of plugging in your electronics and being tethered down in order to charge. As devices are evolving in technology, so is the way we power up, and the latest evolution is towards wireless charging.

Qi charging is a form of wireless charging, and these days you’ll find it in use on a variety of small personal electronics—such as smartphones—but interest is growing across other devices too. With most devices adopting Qi standards, wireless charging is likely to become a standard part of technology in the near future and the integration of new wireless charging regulated devices will change the way we charge at home, in the office and even on the go. Here, we’ll give you an overview of how it works, which companies are using it, safety-related issues and projected market growth.


Wireless charging can come in a variety of forms across many devices.

Radio Charging

Radio charging is a way to wirelessly charge commonly seen in devices such as wireless keyboards and mice, medical devices, watches and music players. These devices are powered on small batteries and use radio waves to send and receive wireless signals. When the device is configured to the same frequency, you are able to charge.

Magnetic Resonance Charging

For larger devices that use a significant amount of power, such as a large computer, electric car or vacuum cleaner, resonance charging is used. Resonance requires a copper coil to be attached to the device needing the charge with another copper coil attached to a source of power. The charging occurs when both copper coils are configured to a common electromagnetic frequency, thus charging from the power source over a short distance.

Inductive Charging

Qi is a form of inductive wireless charging. It occurs when energy is transferred from a charger to a receiver by way of electromagnetic induction. The charger uses an induction coil to create an electromagnetic field, which the receiver coil in the phone—or other device—simply converts back into electricity to feed the battery. The two coils typically need to be touching, with the receiver on top of the charger (or vice versa). Though this is considered by many to be cutting-edge technology, rechargeable toothbrushes and shavers have actually been using this kind of inductive charging since the 1990s. And Qi, a Chinese word that translates to “vital energy,” is today’s worldwide wireless charging standard. It’s able to provide from 5 to 15 watts of power—making it perfect for smaller electronics, like smartphones.

Check out below all of your inductive Qi options Byrne can provide:


The mobile phone market remains the dominant force in overall use, with Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone series leading the pack. Technically speaking, these phones, starting with the S7 model, come equipped with dual-mode Qi, meaning the device is compatible with the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) standards as well as the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standards, so they will be able to charge with any wireless receiver. Although Apple didn’t release wireless charging compatible devices until 2017, iPhones now come Qi equipped starting from iPhone 8 and versions beyond which are compatible with any Qi certified charging device.

Wearables are also a big category interested in wireless charging, driven by the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear S2 and other popular products. Even larger electronics have begun adopting wireless charging options. In 2017, Dell launched the world’s first wireless charging laptop with their release of the 2 in 1 Latitude 7285. But consumers are now seeking flexibility with their wireless charging. Energous, a wireless charging corporation, has created a wireless charging ecosystem solution that allows charging without contact up to 15 feet away.

Given access to all these Qi-supported products, it’s interesting that in a recent poll by IHS, only 20% of respondents report actually using wireless charging technology—and only 16% charge their devices with this technology on a daily basis. Most users consider wireless to be a good way to supplement wired charging, rather than a primary charging method. This could be due to the inefficiency of Qi charging compared to wired. Wired charging holds around 85% efficiency in the amount of energy sent out while QI charging has only risen to 75% efficiency from its initial launch percentage of 60%. Generally, wireless charging isn’t as fast as wired. In addition to that, the price difference between wired and wireless explains why adoption rates for wireless charging aren’t higher. Any wireless charger that would outperform a wired charger ranges $40-60, about double the price of any wired charger. This article from MacRumors tests wired versus wireless charger performance with an iPhone X.


The Qi Wireless Charging Standard—developed by the multinational Wireless Power Consortium—outlines a number of consumer safety precautions, including issues like heat shielding and foreign object detection, especially among non-certified equipment. Recent tests conducted by independent labs found that non-certified charging products can reach almost 200° Fahrenheit—enough to cause a third-degree burn.

Some smartphones claim they are water-resistant, or even waterproof, but most wireless chargers are not. As with all electrical devices that connect to a power outlet, liquid can be very dangerous. Users should never get a wireless charger wet—and need to be sure any phone is dry before setting it down to charge.

A poorly made charger may also not be able to detect if a foreign object—like your keys or a coin is sitting on the pad under your smartphone. As a result, the charging pad may continue to emit power, not only damaging your device, but potentially melting the other objects on the pad. So, it’s important to look for a charger with a foreign object detector—one which will shut down charging and alert you (usually with an LED light) that something other than a compatible device is in contact with your charger.

Finally, when it comes to health and safety, a common cause for concern is the effect of electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by wireless chargers. High levels of EMF have been found to pose health risks such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and even suicidal behavior. However, the EMF emission levels involved in wireless charging are negligibly low as there is no sustained human contact with the charging pad. In fact, a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that exposure to low EMF emissions does not lead to any known health problems.

Products holding Qi certification through the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) go through rigorous testing in order to become regulated. Products may be included in the Qi Certified Product Database under these conditions:

  1. The product has passed compliance testing by an authorized test lab (ATL)
  2. The product has passed interoperability testing by an Interoperability Testing Center (IOC)
  3. The product is compliant with the latest version of the Qi Specification
  4. The owner of the product is a Qi Logo Licensee.

By ensuring that all Qi-Certified devices work together, regardless of manufacturer, country of origin, version of the standard used, etc., the Qi standard ensures a consistent and simple user experience, where a Qi-Certified phone placed on a Qi-Certified charger will simply work. The process of becoming Qi certified is done in six steps:

  1. The manufacturer of the product starts the registration procedure by filling in an on-line form with information about the product, uploads picture and self-declaration forms,  selects the Authorized Test Lab (ATL) that will perform the compliance test, and the InterOperability Testint Center (IOC) that will perform the interoperability test.
  2. The Logo License Administrator (LLA) verifies if the form is filled in correctly.
  3. The Authorized Test Lab (ATL) performs the mandatory compliance tests described in the test specification and uploads a test report summary.
  4. The InterOperability testing Center (IOC) performs the interoperability test
  5. The manufacturer of the product finalizes the description of the product. Uploads a picture showing the product as it will be shipped to customers, and provides the type number that identifies this product. 
  6. The Logo License Administrator (LLA) verifies that the information is complete and consistent and makes the product visible in the product registration database.


Shipments of wireless power receivers/transmitters are forecasted to grow from some 450 million units back in 2017 to more than 2.2 billion units by 2023. And by 2027, wireless charging shipments are expected to reach 7.5 billion units. Smartphones, wearables and home appliances are predicted to be the top three market drivers for wireless charging over the coming years.

Smartphones should account for about 77% of the 6 billion wireless charging receiver devices sold by 2023. Annual shipment volume for these devices in particular is expected to top one billion units by 2020 and two billion by 2025—according to IHS Markit, the leading global source of critical analytics information and insight.

In addition to current technology, advancements in wireless Qi charging are expected. Ossia, a wireless technology company, is in the process of developing a solution that is capable of transmitting power to a phone case of a distance of a few feet to slowly charge the phone inside. Ossia has partnered with a case making company, Spigen, to bring this product to consumers. The transmitter and power receiving case is set to launch in 2020. The company Solace is creating technology that changes the game for wattage allowance. Their wireless powering solution, Equus, is capable of delivering up to 200 watts versus the typical 5 to 15 watts. This amount of wattage is used to power portable medical equipment like carts, hospital beds and vital signs monitors, and manufacturing test equipment such as sensors and robotics. Wireless charging technology is even crossing over to the automotive sector. BMW is the first car manufacturer to create a wireless charging system for their hybrid car. It is set to be available for the BMW 520e iPerformance plug-in hybrid in 2019. It is also expected to see more charge points in locations such as airport and restaurant tables.


Ultimately, the broad success of Qi-Certified devices in the marketplace depends on all the elements interfacing seamlessly—regardless of manufacturer, country of origin, version used, etc. The Qi Wireless Charging Standard, mentioned earlier, is intended to do just that: to ensure a consistent and user-friendly experience, one where a Qi-Certified phone placed on a Qi-Certified charger will work reliably, each and every time.

To find to out if your device is Qi compatible, check out the Wireless Power Consortium’s product database tool.