Updating Legacy Power Systems
Why you need to deploy the newest solutions for greater reliability in security and access control specifications
- By Joseph M. Holland
- Mar 01, 2018
It is exciting times for physical security today. Technology has
advanced at breakneck speeds, quite significant for an industry
that seemed to stand still for decades. Now, with networked and
Internet Protocol (IP) products in video surveillance and access
control, edge intelligence and connected data coming from a
host of integrated devices and sensors, there’s a whole new proving
ground emerging for power in these types of security solutions.
Consumers and end-users expect to connect to their systems at
any time, from anywhere. End users need their solutions up and running
24/7, especially in critical infrastructure or government security
applications. Everything is interconnected and talking to each other—
and power is the heartbeat of the integrated solution.
Power systems have undergone a substantial transformation in
performance and design, resulting in better efficiency, reliability
and stability. Now, it too has joined the growing fray of networkconnected
products—with new remote monitoring and management
capabilities yielding a more robust power and security system
History of Power
The basic design of power systems has changed dramatically during
the last several decades. In the 70s, power systems used linear regulation,
an older technology that was inherently inefficient. With linear
systems, a large, step-down transformer was required and the regulator
operates by “burning off” extra voltage as heat. Heat generation,
an enemy of electronics which degrades performance over time,
is much greater in linear power supplies. Efficiency levels for linear
power supplies were typically in the 65 percent range and generally
limited to a single, preconfigured output voltage dependent on the
input transformer. Linear power supplies are generally being phased
out, driven also by state and federal regulations, in favor of offline
switching supplies (OLS).
OLS is a widely used technology capable of operating with a cleaner
power output than linear. It offers less noise and ripple as opposed
to linear, especially during high-power operation. An OLS power system
operates on the same principles as a low-voltage switching mode
power supply, but eliminates the need for a step-down transformer,
improving efficiency while reducing weight and heat output. OLS is
able to achieve nearly 90 percent efficiency and far lower operating
temperatures than either linear or switching mode, with the result being
greater long-term product reliability.
When power supplies began to move to OLS the higher efficiency
presented a greater feature set and ultimately it began its transition from
dumb hardware to an integral part of a network-connected system.
The efficiency, feature sets and available diagnostics of power
solutions will only improve with the future generation of products.
Devices will continue to integrate—with the ability of hardware and
software to communicate more wholly through protocols such as
Physical Logical Access Interoperability (PLAI) profile and Simple
Network Management Protocol (SNMP)—as well as foster easier use
and user transparency.
The power supply is now a complete solution, offering single and
dual voltage, power distribution, lock and output control, remote test
capability, remote diagnostics and remote reporting capabilities.
Access Control, PoE and Wireless
Power also plays a significant role in many emerging trends in access
control. There’s quite a large infrastructure of legacy access control
solutions still operating in the industry today, but they are being migrated
to integrated open solutions. In addition, the rise of wireless
locking products, power over Ethernet connectivity and edge intelligence
in access control is also dictating the need for more robust
power solutions to keep systems up and running competently.
With an IP edge-based solution, each door operates independently
of other openings in the system. Edge access control systems
require networked power solutions that can provide predictive capabilities,
remote monitoring and maintenance, so integrators and users
can maintain them proactively.
Networked access control systems are an integral part of security
at the protected premises. And wouldn’t it be great if an end-user
knew, ahead of time, of impending lock failure or battery fatigue—
offering the ability to replace components in a timely manner and
maintain system uptime? That’s what’s possible today with proactive
power system management from networked components. In addition, reliable and predictable power systems provide
greater efficiencies and yield substantial
cost savings for customers and integrators.
Modern power systems provide these capabilities:
- The ability to access real-time data and
detect historical trends, with 100 percent
visibility into the system, globally or locally,
or to each connected device.
- The ability to identify and prevent potential
power problems to critical security
systems before they fail.
- Powerful analytics that deliver information
in a highly intuitive form that helps
security integrators manage systems to a
healthy, optimal performance.
- An integrated solution that combines
access control hardware with intelligent
power networking capabilities in a single
enclosure to reduce installation time and
yield easy standardization across enterprise
specifications and from installation
- Proactive real-time reporting and the continual
delivery of mission critical information
on the overall system health and viability,
leading to less downtime or failure.
Networked enterprise or multi-tenant
sites can effectively use power solutions to
pinpoint potential connectivity and device
issues with proactive, intelligent analytics.
At the ready for integrators and end users
are many predictive tools to automatically
manage power solutions and receive alerts
in advance of issues so preventative actions
and response can be administered through
managed services. These managed services
could include: remote battery management
and testing; remote device monitoring and
restart/power cycle functionality; proactive
detection and assessment of problems; and
system solution health and connectivity
reports generated on demand or at any designed
schedule or interval.
What once was considered a dumb device
now has attained mission critical stature
for integrated solutions at the protected
premises. Power is knowledgeable, connected
and intelligent, culling constant realtime
information on the
status and operational
history of systems installations.
This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Security Today.