Cords have been a necessity in the transmission of electricity and information for about as long as consistent electricity has been available. But for the last several years, techno-optimists have insisted that cords are on their way out.
Taking a look around, you can see where they’re coming from. Many of our modern appliances are completely wireless; we have cordless charging stations, wireless internet, and even cordless cleaning products like the BISSELL®️ CrossWave®️ multi-surface cleaner.
So how long will it be before cords are completely obsolete? Or will we never get to such a position?
The Wireless Wave
Let’s start by looking at the wave of wireless and cordless options available to consumers. Major brands, especially tech companies, love to develop new products with wireless features and market them to customers – in part because these products are differentiated by their corded counterparts.
But to be fair, there are a number of benefits to having wireless products:
- Less clutter. Cords tend to be long, bulky, and hard to manage. If you want to have corded connections between a TV, a speaker system, and a couple of consoles or peripheral add-ons, you’ll end up with a tangled mess of cords in the back of your entertainment setup. Having cordless versions of these items could make for a much more streamlined, less bulky set of connections.
- Less vulnerability to physical damage. Cords are also somewhat vulnerable to physical damage. A pet could chew through the cable or a vacuum cleaner could cause the wires to fray. If and when this happens, it could render the appliance unusable – or even present danger of electric shock. Cordless devices and appliances, by contrast, aren’t nearly as vulnerable to physical damage.
- More flexibility. One of the biggest benefits of wireless devices is that they’re more flexible and versatile. If you have to plug something into an outlet, you become bound to that outlet. If you want to travel from room to room, or if you want to take the device with you on the go, your options are limited. Cordless items give you a full, free range of motion.
- Size and packaging. Cords add to the physical size of a given object, requiring more packaging and more storage space. Getting rid of the cords can save money – and be more convenient for consumers at the same time.
- Aesthetics. Some companies favor the cordless look for aesthetic reasons. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons tech companies like Apple have been gradually eradicating ports and corded options. Eliminating cords can make a device look sleeker and more polished (at least according to some).
The Benefits of Cords
That said, there are still a lot of benefits to enjoy from corded connections:
- Lower costs. Depending on the device, it may be less expensive to manufacture a corded product than a cordless one – which means consumers can save money by preferring to purchase corded versions of products. The benefits of wireless/cordless products don’t always outweigh the additional costs they present.
- Faster and more powerful transmission. It’s possible to charge most small appliances with wireless charging mats, but the electricity transmission isn’t as fast or efficient this way. Corded connections tend to remain fast, stable, and powerful, making them a strict necessity for certain applications.
- More reliable transmission. If you’ve dealt with wireless technologies in the past, like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you know how easy it is for your wireless transmission to be disrupted. Outside interference can quickly jeopardize your streaming electricity or information; with corded appliances, interruptions are only a problem if the cord becomes unplugged.
- Higher security (in some situations). In some contexts, cords can lend themselves to higher security. For example, with an unsecured wireless network, it’s easy for cybercriminals to spy on your conversations. But with a corded ethernet connection, it’s harder to get access to your transmitted information.
The Enduring Utility of Cords
As it stands, there are benefits to both corded and cordless connections, and it’s not always clear which set outweighs the other. Cords have been a mainstay for a long time, and are still the default choice for millions of manufacturers worldwide. On top of that, some consumers are reluctant to adapt, still preferring corded options even if cordless ones are superior in some way. For these reasons, it’s likely that cords will continue to be common for at least a few decades to come.
It seems unlikely that we’ll achieve a truly “cordless” society in the near future. However, we’ll likely see the rise and increasing popularity of a wide range of cordless, wireless technologies available to consumers. Don’t throw out those old cords yet – and be ready to enjoy the convenience of new wireless appliances and devices as they become available.