New capabilities keep systems connected
- By Michael Bone
- Jul 07, 2023
Power is a lifeline, a critical component for connected products and devices in the physical security, access control and loT industries. We know how important it is to have in our everyday lives – and for the critical infrastructure, 24/7 power is a mandate for life safety.
The product category has changed dramatically with ongoing innovation – early on, power was a static device with limited or no intelligence or integration with other systems. Now it can be managed over the network, as well as monitored and serviced remotely from an internet connection or software interface. System visibility is possible across the protected premises, with proactive notification of system health and continuity collecting real-time and historical information on the status of powered solutions.
Native, direct integrations to leading access control software platforms are another innovation – as well as the ability to leverage power across an existing ethernet infrastructure with trending PoE-designed devices.
For the end user, managed power heads off potential problems before they turn into an issue or cause the disruption or loss of business. For example, end users know ahead of time if there’s trouble with a powered device, such as a lock, or if maintenance is necessary - rather than being surprised with a costly service call in the evening or on the weekend.
Moving to Managed Power
Managed power solutions also deliver intelligence and networking functionality for more reliable, consistent operations. These modern solutions present a healthy return on investment (ROI) and maximize system uptime through proactive alerting and the ability to remotely diagnose issues. With managed power services and power monitoring, users have relevant and timely data at their fingertips, helping them better manage the facility for higher levels of security and safety and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
For the systems integrator, managed power provides the ability to gain recurring revenue from notifications, data and other reporting services. For example, managed power solutions can predict battery health and measure the exact standby time remaining and pre-empt possible downtime with analytics on device status.
Continuous power system monitoring creates customized action alerts and reports for system maintenance and management. Alert formats include email, XML, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) or direct integration to the access control panel’s interface. For example, a short circuit or integrated lock that is drawing more or less power than it should is an indication it is beginning to fail.
In this condition, an alert is automatically sent to the integrator or end user to advise of the situation.
Managed power services can be applied to the main power supply, power system outputs, locks, access control modules and standby batteries. Managed monitoring encompasses event reports, AC loss notification, service due reminders, impending lock failure, low-battery warning, insufficient battery standby and more. Remote servicing capabilities yield information on output supervision, remote scheduled battery load testing, remote power cycling and system health logs/trouble alerts.
The footprint of power solutions has also changed to meet smaller building spaces, IT rooms and data center environments. One enclosure now manages system power, lock power and access control modules – streamlining installations and minimizing hardware costs. Many solutions are available prewired and ready to install, with quick-connect terminal strips and ready to connect to access control, locks or other hardware. In addition, rack mount power can manage multiple doors of access control compactly – while fitting in a slide-in rack configuration.
PoE Steps Up
PoE is an advancement in power connectivity that serves both the end user and systems integrator with lower installed costs. PoE installations are predicted to reach into the billions in the coming years and there’s good reason for the technology’s popularity: it’s the perfect way to extend power to new devices and locations.
PoE eliminates the need for high-voltage wiring and potentially an electrician. Now an installer can power the access control system exclusively through PoE, removing the need for additional field wiring and AC drops, IEEE 802.3bt-compliant midspan injectors, switches and PoE-powered DC power supply/chargers meet the latest high-power standard, so systems integrators can power access control, cameras, locks, infrared illuminators or other edge devices over a single ethernet cable.
PoE midspans and network switches incorporate a Single-Point Fire Interface (SFI) feature that allows egress on fire alarms through a single centralized fire alarm connection. This UL-listed and patented feature unique to the LifeSafety Power BiTSTREAM™ product line drops lock power to unlock doors when a fire event is detected, and free egress is required for life safety. SFI requires no additional wiring for fire drop connections to each door, saving costs and simplifying installation.
These devices provide up to 90 watts per port (500 watts total) of power distribution. Installers can use a single midspan injector to remotely power locks and edge devices to control doors or other devices instead of cabling to each location. They may also be fully network managed, allowing monitoring of voltage, current and power per zone and other specifics.
Power has elevated its stature to an intelligent, network-capable solution that brings visibility to connected devices – and significant advantages to both integrators and end users.