The intelligent building market, also known as the smart building market, is a field that is rapidly growing and developing as innovations in data and power transfer push the boundaries of what is possible.
Smart buildings are integrated with technology and energy systems, and their possibilities are endless. With the right equipment, security, lighting, energy consumption, and temperature can be monitored and improved, among other things.
The opportunities for improvement are not just limited to commercial enterprises, however. Already consumers are upgrading their houses with smart thermostats, home assistants, and voice-activated lights.
In the future, smart buildings will only become more and more commonplace as technology is integrated into everything we interact with.
That’s not to say that the smart building market comes without challenges. Although this market is poised to expand rapidly, there are obstacles to adoption.
Smart Building Trends
As buildings become more interconnected through the Internet of Things (IoT), certain trends have become apparent in smart buildings.
Studies have shown that high concentrations of CO2 in the air correlate to decreased cognitive performance. Businesses concerned with increasing worker safety and productivity will want to monitor air quality to make sure it is at optimal levels.
With IoT, the air quality of a building can be automatically monitored in real time for increased efficiency.
Another trend on the uptick is increasing energy efficiency. Most buildings today only have manual meters to gauge energy efficiency. This lack of information can cause various oversights and inefficiencies in energy usage.
Smart buildings can allow for the real-time monitoring of water, gas, and electric meters. Not only can the entire building be evaluated, but individual spaces and rooms can be assessed too.
This in-depth monitoring and data collection will allow buildings to effectively appraise their energy consumption, giving businesses the information they need to increase energy efficiency and lower costs.
Besides the addition of sensors, another major trend is the usage of Power over Ethernet (PoE). PoE uses a single cable to provide a device with both data and power. This functionality provides many advantages over traditional wiring options.
First and foremost, PoE is more efficient, as it allows networks to be wired with just half the cabling. This integrates very well with IoT devices, as they all require power and internet connections.
With PoE Type 4, each PoE port can provide up to 100W of power, and 70W per device. This increase in power has allowed a much wider variety of devices to be connected, increasing the utility and flexibility of PoE solutions.
PoE has commonly been used with lights, monitors, laptops, and a variety of other devices.
Growth in the Smart Building Market
As the applications for IoT and smart buildings grow, the market for smart buildings has been growing as well. In 2018, the global smart building market size was 58.1 billion dollars.
While this is already an impressive figure, the market is predicted to reach a size of 198 billion dollars by the end of 2025. This amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.1%.
Clearly, the smart building market is booming. But what is causing such massive growth? There are a variety of factors that affect this expansion.
One of the biggest reasons is the increased demand for energy efficiency. As energy conservation has become more important recently, demand for smart buildings has increased.
Eco-friendly and green buildings have become increasingly common, and these buildings contain a variety of smart features.
Another reason for the increased growth is industry standards and regulations becoming more supportive. As governments worldwide take steps towards bolstering sustainability and energy efficiency regulations, more opportunities are available to the smart building market.
Besides the growth in individual smart buildings, the demand for smart cities has also increased. Governments worldwide are realizing the benefits of incorporating IoT into their cities. As more smart infrastructure is added to cities, the smart building market will only continue to grow.
Already, cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam, Chicago, and New York are adding smart city programs.
Smart Building Challenges
Despite the fact the smart building trends and the market, in general, are growing, there are still difficulties involved with implementing smart technologies in buildings.
One problem that may not seem so obvious is the problem of choice. With so many different technologies available to utilize, it can be easy to fall victim to paralysis by analysis.
Obviously, it would be cost-prohibitive to attempt to install every single type of smart technology into a building. It is important for businesses to focus on selecting the services they are most in need of.
A more obvious problem is the issue of implementation. Building services are not designed to be automated.
Installing various sensors, networks, power cables, and other internet-connected devices will be a costly process, especially since most buildings were not designed with the idea of automation in mind.
While in the long run, IoT-enabled buildings will save money and increase productivity, short-run costs can dissuade businesses from making the switch.
To summarize, the intelligent building market is a field that is currently experiencing massive growth. IoT-connected devices are becoming more commonplace in businesses as well as homes.
Smart buildings can be equipped with a wide variety of technology to automate and increase efficiency, such as air quality monitors, temperature sensors, and energy efficiency monitors. Other technologies like PoE are helpful for providing power and data to IoT devices more effectively.
The rise of smart cities and updated standards and regulations have helped to drive the growth of the smart building market. Of course, as with any technology, there are obstacles to implementation, such as installation costs.
As technology for consumers and businesses alike advances, the concept of smart buildings is becoming less science fiction and more science fact.
Nowadays, consumers can already purchase products like smart thermostats, voice-activated lights, and home assistants such as Alexa and Google Home.
Businesses can also benefit from these new innovations. Smart lights and temperature sensors allow for more intelligent environmental control, increasing savings as well as worker comfort.
It is clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) is not going anywhere, and technological integration will only become a larger part of our lives at home and work.
With the rise of smaller electronic devices connecting to the internet, there has become a greater need for power and internet cable networking.
Power over Ethernet fills this role, bringing to the table many advantages over other networking solutions that require two separate cables.
Using just a single cable for power and networking, PoE is more flexible, efficient, and can be more easily installed. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at PoE functions in offices, and specifically the limitations of PoE in offices.
Applications of PoE in Offices
The applications of PoE in offices are only increasing, as technology advances and PoE standards improve. With the advent of PoE Type 4, each PoE port can provide up to 100W, and up to 70W per device. These higher wattages allow for a much wider variety of devices to be connected.
One of the most effective uses for PoE in offices is for lighting purposes. Large networking companies have seen a 50% reduction in installation cost when using PoE-connected lighting systems when compared to traditional AC power systems.
When used in conjunction with LEDs, PoE can be used to install smart lighting systems that can intelligently switch lights on and off when someone enters/exits a room. Additionally, lights can be dimmed and color-shifted to increase worker comfort.
Besides lights, PoE can be used to install sensors to monitor energy consumption, temperature, air quality, or even occupancy sensors. Taking these measures into consideration will improve worker comfort and productivity, as well as reduce energy consideration.
To improve safety, all building entry points could be equipped with RFID sensors for quick and secure entry. Video cameras can also be hooked up to PoE for fast and flexible installation.
Even monitors and laptops can hook up to PoE, thanks to the large wattage increase that PoE Type 4 brings. Video chats in conference rooms could be networked and powered as well. One of the biggest benefits of PoE is its versatility and flexibility.
However, there are still some important limitations regarding PoE utilization in office buildings that should be considered before moving forward.
While technology like voice control and internet connectivity already exists, it hasn’t yet been implemented everywhere. Not every single building you enter is smart, even though there are a number of benefits to integrating devices onto a single network.
The technology is there, but even though PoE installation is cheaper than traditional set-ups, it’s obviously not free.
Installing a new network from scratch comes with costs associated. While it may not seem too expensive to upgrade your house with a PoE network, it’s important to remember that office buildings are much larger and have many more devices needing connections.
Introducing a PoE network in a large office building is sure to require a multitude of PoE switches, hubs, injectors, splitters, and cables. These will be needed in order to connect to monitors, laptops, sensors, and other networked devices.
Of course, as time goes on, the demand for IoT connected devices will only increase, and offices will need to purchase more devices to stay up to date.
All the associated costs make it somewhat more cost-prohibitive for businesses to upgrade to PoE networks.
Power over Ethernet can be utilized through two different types of switches. The first type is unmanaged switches. These switches are meant to be totally plug-and-play, requiring no set-up to install and use.
Unmanaged switches are cheaper, but they aren’t complex enough to handle the networking needs of an office building. These switches are better suited to consumer purposes, such as smart homes.
The other type of switch is a managed switch. Managed switches are more costly, but provide the additional control that is necessary for a complex office network. IT professionals can expertly adjust managed switches to ensure that every device connected is functioning optimally.
However, this maintenance comes at an additional cost. Employing IT workers to manage PoE switches and hubs is another cost that businesses should be aware of when implementing PoE networks.
Distance and Data Limitations
Besides cost, there other factors to consider when installing a PoE network.
PoE cables have a maximum range of 100 meters, after which the signal drops off very quickly. For consumers, that range should be plenty, but large businesses and buildings may run into problems.
Businesses should take care to place powered devices within a reasonable distance from Power Sourcing Equipment. To combat this, a PoE extender can be used to increase range by an additional 100 meters, although a 200-meter signal might not be sufficient if Power Sourcing Equipment is placed too far away.
Although PoE provides power and data to devices, it is important to make sure quality is not sacrificed in the process. For those looking for heavy network usage, PoE tends to slow the data speed of the network.
This can be avoided by purchasing high-end switches, though.
Overall, PoE is being increasingly utilized to upgrade buildings, homes, and offices, bringing technological integration and the IoT into daily life. In offices alone, there are already a wide variety of uses for PoE, from smart lights to security cameras.
In spite of that, PoE is not without its challenges. Although cheaper than alternatives, it can be costly to implement and maintain. There are also range and data limits to take under consideration when designing a PoE network.
Power over Ethernet delivers both electrical power and communication signals via the same Ethernet cable. This advancement in technology opens the door to a whole host of new networking possibilities, particularly in commercial settings such as office buildings.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) is being adopted at an increasing rate, PoE is being utilized by the most advanced networking professionals around the world to power devices in a plethora of different scenarios, from hotels and retail stores to office buildings.
PoE is far superior to traditional networking solutions that require two separate cables – one for power, and one for data – as it is faster, more flexible, efficient, and lastly, easier to install.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the applications of PoE technology in modern office buildings – more specifically, how engineers are utilizing the technology to increase building efficiency while simultaneously making a safer, more comfortable, and more productive working environment.
PoE Adoptions in Office Buildings
PoE is being used to power and operate LED lighting systems, HVAC controls, cameras, and other network devices such as Wireless Access Points (WAPs), VoIP phones, door access systems, and more.
In fact, the latest and greatest smart building concepts designed to bolster energy efficiency and boost productivity are driven by PoE technology.
Looking to the future, operational technology (OT) is only going to continue making use of PoE in a plethora of different commercial settings, from offices and factories to warehouses and power plants.
Architects, engineers, and builders are working in conjunction with information technology (IT) personnel to bring PoE networks to the forefront of everyday life in commercial environments. The forward-thinkers in the networking space have recognized the benefits of adopting PoE infrastructure, as it is a key asset for the proper implementation of IoT in smart buildings.
These advanced technologies are responsible for network connected lighting solutions, in addition to the increased energy efficiency and the manageability of automated commercial networking systems.
100W PoE in Office Buildings
Thanks to the adoption of the new IEEE 100W PoE standard, a ton of new PoE applications have emerged, as more power-hungry devices are now compatible with PoE technology.
By utilizing all four twisted pairs in a PoE cable, the 100W PoE standard can deliver more power than traditional PoE and PoE+, with improved efficiency and reduced channel losses. Multiple devices can be optimized with the low-voltage PoE cable infrastructure by linking them together in a daisy-chain, further reducing power consumption and installation overhead.
Through the use of 100W PoE, devices like digital signage displays, point-of-sale systems, LCD televisions, and computer monitors can be powered with PoE cables.
Evidently, these devices are commonplace in modern offices.
PoE Applications in Office Buildings
PoE LED lighting fixtures are transforming the way engineers and electricians install lighting systems in offices and other commercial settings. Conveniently enough, even legacy lighting fixtures in old buildings can quickly and easily be retrofitted with LEDs and sensors that are compatible with PoE smart control features.
Moreover – since PoE networks don’t require the installation of power outlets near each device endpoint – installing a PoE system is much faster to install and deploy than legacy networks. This means commercial buildings are ideal candidates for PoE lighting and automation, as it can be quickly installed and easily retrofitted into existing network configurations.
For example, smart sensors connected to the building’s network can be used to turn lights on and off when someone enters or exits a room, when a door opens or closes, or even via pressure sensors in the floor. The possibilities are endless.
Furthermore, PoE technology also improves the quality of the light with smoother intensity dimming functions and dynamically adjustable lighting color options to provide a more comfortable and productive working environment.
Further still, building operators have full access to sensor-based occupancy reporting, air quality, temperature, real-time energy consumption metrics, and other environmental monitoring.
Additionally, PoE allows for easy convergence and integration with existing automation systems in older buildings. Engineers even have the ability to implement digital zoning of different sections of the building. This provides the flexibility necessary to optimize the building zones for different use cases and facilitates easy re-zoning for different use cases further down the line.
Thanks to PoE’s ability to distribute power and network signals to devices, lights, motorized blinds, sensors, and other devices are now becoming digital devices that can be configured, grouped together, and controlled in one central location on the network.
As far as manageability is concerned, network controlled lighting with PoE and IoT allows building operators to take full control of their lighting systems. The ability to seamlessly migrate lighting controls to an IP-based framework is a tremendous advantage. Lighting is being transformed into a service that IoT-enabled buildings can control along with other building functions.
PoE switches are being used to power and connect sensor nodes, wall dimmers, luminaires, and other local devices in an office building. Each switch is connected to these devices with a traditional Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable, which makes for easy power distribution to local devices.
Thanks to PoE lighting’s outstanding output per watt of power, using PoE LED lighting fixtures to replace traditional fluorescent lighting is incredibly cost effective when compared to other lighting technologies.
All in all, PoE technology in combination with IoT is revolutionizing the commercial industry, especially in office buildings. Installing PoE technology is cheaper, more efficient, and more effective than legacy networks.
PoE also is instrumental in creating safer, more comfortable, and more productive working environments in office buildings. Even better, engineers can use the data aggregated by sensors in different building zones to optimize the network, which can then be used to further improve the network and reduce power consumption.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a scalable, cost-effective, and efficient networking solution for the 21st century.
There are plenty of useful applications for PoE technology in the healthcare industry, especially when coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Rather than having to install both a power and data cable for every device on the network, Powered Devices (PDs) can be operated with just a single PoE cable.
PoE – despite its many benefits – still suffers from its own limitations as well. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the problems PoE aims to solve, and some of the PoE challenges in the healthcare industry along the way.
Networking Obstacles in the Healthcare Industry
The healthcare industry faces many obstacles, specifically with regards to IT and networking. Today, IT personnel in the healthcare industry are tasked with:
- Ensuring patient privacy
- Using energy efficient hardware
- Leverage technology for a competitive advantage
- Boost overall network performance
Our modern society is more connected than ever before – the world is going digital, and the healthcare industry is no exception.
Patients’ information and records are now largely stored digitally. Although new technology often helps us, it can also create new security risks.
Security breaches can result in the theft of sensitive personal information. The theft of medical records and, worse still, social security numbers or bank information can ruin lives.
Cybersecurity aside, healthcare company mergers can also prove problematic for hospitals and healthcare providers, especially when networks must be integrated together.
Network mergers take time – this is especially true in the healthcare industry, as the networks are dealing with sensitive information and they are relied upon by both doctors and patients alike. An unreliable network could, in some instances, cost lives.
Lastly, old networks in healthcare facilities probably aren’t operating at peak power efficiency, nor is it easy to work with old networks that rely on outdated switches or hubs.
Healthcare PoE Solutions
Luckily, PoE solves many of the problems listed above. Power over Ethernet is a powerful tool – it is scalable, flexible, efficient, secure, and best of all, it’s cheaper than traditional networking alternatives.
Moreover, PoE can solve many of the networking issues healthcare facilities are facing today, especially when coupled with the power of IoT.
A managed PoE switch can be used to set up IP security and surveillance cameras, Wireless Access Points (WAPs) and VoIP telephones. Additionally, many managed switches can be used to create secure VLANs, which are more secure than a traditional network.
Since VLANs segment a network, they create several different broadcast domains, each of which permits isolated traffic to each domain. Simultaneously, the network’s bandwidth, availability, and security are increased.
PoE switches and PoE hubs can be used to monitor, reduce and control power usage, offering network administrators a huge opportunity to easily reduce energy consumption and, as a consequence, cut costs as well.
Like many other settings, flexibility is crucial when it comes to networking.
Since PoE-enabled computers, WAPs, IP Cameras, and other PDs don’t need to be connected to a power outlet, they can be installed in any location where they are needed. Furthermore, moving a PoE computer proves equally painless.
IoT is also becoming ever more prevalent in the healthcare industry. For example, IoT based medical devices – such as an infusion pump, also known as a smart pump – are being used to administer medication without the presence of a doctor or a nurse. Electronic patient monitors are another prime example of IoT applications in healthcare.
All of these IoT devices can be easily powered and operated via PoE.
Evidently, PoE has a whole host of benefits – it is a scalable, reliable, and efficient way to establish a secure network in a healthcare setting.
Unfortunately, even PoE technology has its limitations. Here are some of PoE’s main drawbacks:
Even though PoE is cheaper than traditional networking methods in the long run, healthcare facilities will still have to bear the brunt of the initial installation cost.
An old network relying on non-PoE switches would have to either:
- Trash their existing infrastructure and reoutfit their network with PoE compatible switches
- Install PoE hubs to continue using their existing infrastructure
A network that’s already relying on non-PoE switches probably shouldn’t get rid of their existing infrastructure entirely, as it would prove to be too expensive.
Rather, it is cheaper to use PoE hubs, which can take the data from a regular switch, inject it with power, and send a PoE signal down the line to the network’s powered devices.
Keep in mind, however, that despite PoE’s upfront installation costs, it’s still far cheaper than installing a non-PoE network.
Rather than having to run both a power and data cable to every device on the network – not to mention installing power outlets in hard-to-reach places – a PoE network only requires technicians to run a single cable from the PoE switch (or hub) to the device.
PoE suffers from some distance limitations, which is probably one of its biggest downfalls.
Since PoE technology relies on traditional CAT Ethernet cables to deliver power and data, a PoE network is going to be limited by the effective range of traditional cables.
Range varies depending on the access point and its required voltage, in addition to the amount of voltage provided by the Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE). The quality of the cable is also going to have an effect on the maximum effective range.
The IEEE 802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards have a distance limit of 100 meters (328 ft), which is the limit of data transmission for Ethernet cables.
Luckily, is a solution to this problem:
You can buy PoE extenders and connect several PoE cables to them, significantly increasing their maximum range. Still, this won’t last forever. The farther away a device is from your PSE, the weaker the signal will become.
In large hospitals and other big healthcare facilities, PoE switches and/or hubs may have to be installed in several different locations throughout the building.
Some devices on the network may not be PoE compatible, meaning they require one connection for data and another for power.
In this instance, you won’t be able to run a PoE cable directly to the device. This may seem like it defeats the purpose of using PoE in the first place, and it does – kind of.
Fortunately, there are a few easy solutions.
You could get rid of the device and replace it with a PoE compatible device, but that would be pretty costly and a waste of a perfectly good device. This becomes even more problematic if a lot (or most) of your devices aren’t PoE compatible.
Instead, you can use a PoE splitter (which is the opposite of a PoE hub/PoE injector, by the way) to connect a non-PoE device to a PoE cable.
Basically, a PoE splitter takes the power/data signal from a PoE cable and splits it into two – one cable supplies power, and the other data. This way, you can still connect a non-PoE device to a PoE network without having to run separate power and data cables to the device.
The rate of progression in the medical field is increasing exponentially – new technology is emerging all of the time, and with IoT (Internet of Things) on the rise, automation is making its way to medicine as well.
In fact, IoT in healthcare is taking off, as hospitals and senior living centers around the globe are beginning to use smart healthcare with IoT to better operate their facilities. Using IoT – powered by PoE – keeps patients safer and more comfortable than ever before.
In addition, PoE surveillance systems help to keep healthcare facilities safer, both inside and out.
Benefits of IoT in the Healthcare Industry
Healthcare providers are always trying to monitor patients to the best of their ability. They want to make sure patients are as comfortable as possible while providing the best treatment at the same time.
Healthcare professionals can use IoT to automatically monitor things like their patients’ heart rates and blood pressures. The data is sent to a cloud, where it can be sorted and analyzed to give healthcare professionals a better idea of what’s going on.
Thanks to IoT, doctors can make faster, more accurate diagnoses – which, in some extreme cases, can mean the difference between life and death.
Data collected from IoT devices can be used to help doctors diagnose a problem more quickly – in the same way, the data can also be used to base treatments off of predictive-analytics.
Looking to the future, there will be more personalized treatments for patients thanks to IoT data.
Even little things in a hospital – including its lighting – can have a big impact on a patient’s experience. PoE lighting is now being used to illuminate technologically progressive hospitals, but only when necessary.
For instance, hospitals can be nerve-wracking by themselves; if the room lights up every time someone walks in or out, it can be hard to sleep and even more stressful than the experience should be.
IoT coupled with PoE lighting can be programmed to make the environment more comfortable for the patient when they’re sleeping, and less distracting as well. Rather than turning on at full blast automatically, patients will only be exposed to dim lighting (only what’s necessary) while they’re trying to rest.
Hospitals and nursing homes could even program the lighting to turn on when patients leave their bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and turn off again when they lay down again. The possibilities are endless.
A well-rested patient is happier, healthier, and less stressed out as well.
PoE surveillance systems are used to monitor the healthcare facility’s activity 24/7, helping to maintain a hospital or senior living center’s security protocol.
Healthcare providers can assign zones to each part of the hospital, and even track individual personnel in the building. This is only the beginning of IoT security use cases.
PoE and Healthcare Use Case
All of the IoT devices that must be connected to the hospital’s network also need a power source. Rather than routing two cables – one for power and one for data – to every IoT device in the hospital, PoE is used to cut costs and increase efficiency.
The former option is far too expensive and quickly becoming a way of the past.
In a hospital especially, it’s imperative that data is transmitted reliably. If doctors can’t access vital information due to system failure, people could die.
That’s why PoE is a great fit:
It’s cheap to install, but it’s also reliable, secure, and efficient.
Actually, PoE makes it easier than ever to reap the rewards of IoT in healthcare due to its simplicity; both installing and using PoE is relatively simple. The hardest part is running PoE cables from your PoE switch to a powered device.
In the near future, everything in a hospital will be connected. From the second you walk in the front door, everything will be smoothly communicating, operating at peak efficiency. Every patient’s monitor will be sending data to a cloud which can be examined by doctors in real time, and the data can be used to determine what’s wrong with them.
For example, crash carts can be tracked via PoE’s asset tracking functionality. Staff will be alerted immediately when something is moved out of its designated zone in the hospital, ensuring everything remains in the right place at the right time.
Aside from equipment tracking, PoE asset tracking can be used to monitor staff as well. Each staff member will automatically be granted certain permissions according to their position in the hospital. Only top-level doctors can enter certain rooms, janitors can have access to janitorial closets, etc.
In senior living homes, falls are a huge concern. IoT technology can alert facility staff when a patient leaves their bed, doesn’t return, and there isn’t any other motion detected for an extended period of time. This will make response times quicker and senior living homes safer.
As you can see, PoE opens up the door to a whole new world of possibilities, especially in the healthcare industry.
Why Use PoE?
PoE is a simple, cost-effective way to upgrade your healthcare facility’s technological infrastructure, getting it ready for the future.
Technology is advancing at an exponentially increasing rate. IoT and automation are the future of many industries, healthcare included.
Rather than having to route two cables to each IoT powered device on the network, PoE can be used to supply data and power to every device in a healthcare facility in a cost effective manner. Only a network using PoE will be ready for the coming technological revolution of the 21st century.
Will you be ready?
Voice-controlled devices – including Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri – have become commonplace in many homes around the world.
We’ve grown accustomed to controlling our environment with our voices. Temperature, lighting, and even the TV channel can all be adjusted with a simple voice command.
Nowadays, hotel guests are beginning to expect the same advanced technology in their hotel rooms. Guests have a more satisfactory stay when their rooms are outfitted with IoT technology.
Likewise, thanks to the emergence of e-commerce powerhouses such as Amazon dominating the market, retail stores are doing everything they can to retain their customers. Outfitting their stores with new technology is a fantastic way to keep shoppers coming back, despite the growing popularity of online shopping.
The Internet of Things market is already large and is only expected to grow. In addition, IoT devices are powered by PoE technology, whose market is also going to expand in the coming years.
Unfortunately, despite PoE’s many benefits, it has some downfalls as well. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of PoE’s real-world complications, specifically in the hospitality and retail industries.
PoE and the Internet of Things are the future of the hospitality and retail industries – in fact, some companies are beginning to install PoE in their hotels already.
PoE is being used by hotels for several purposes, including lighting fixtures and, more recently, Hilton’s new Connected Room.
In addition, many hotels – including the West Baden Springs Hotel – are beginning to use energy-efficient PoE lighting fixtures in their buildings.
Retail stores are also beginning to use PoE devices, such as PoE lighting and POS (Point of Sale) Systems.
These hotels and retailers, however, have to overcome a few obstacles associated with PoE. Cost, installation, and range are all issues that must be contended with.
Developing the technology needed for a Connected Room – one that you can control with your voice and/or your mobile phone – has already largely been developed.
Thanks to companies like Amazon and Apple working on the Amazon Alexa and Siri, voice recognition software has come a long way.
With that being said, developing the technology is not the biggest hurdle for hotels that are trying to implement IoT into their rooms – rather, the problem lies with the cost of replacing their networks with the necessary PoE technology.
Although Power over Ethernet is cost-effective in the long run, it can still be pricey to install an entirely new PoE network, especially when you have to replace an existing network.
Now, you have to factor in the sheer size of a hotel’s network, which probably has to handle more devices than any other application.
Think about it: aside from the guests’ devices, hotel’s have to operate security cameras, dozens of wireless access points, they often have an IP phone in every room, etc.
On top of that, growing demand for IoT and PoE enabled devices means, if hotel owners want to keep up with the times – which they’ll have to do unless they want to go out of business – they’re going to have to install even more Internet devices in their hotel.
For many hotel owners, they cannot afford to pay the cost of retrofitting a hotel with PoE switches, hubs, and cables.
PoE cables have a maximum effective range of around 100 meters – after that, the cable’s ability to transfer data begins to quickly diminish.
Hotels would have to install Power Sourcing Equipment on every floor of the building and purchase either a multitude of PoE switches or PoE hubs to accommodate their large network demand.
Large retail stores with several floors also have to contend with this limitation of PoE.
Some transmission inefficiencies have deterred would-be PoE lighting users from installing the technology in their building. If the Power Sourcing Equipment is placed too far away from the lighting fixtures, PoE will not be able to provide adequate power to the devices.
That’s why it’s important to place your Power Sourcing Equipment and Powered Devices in close proximity to one another. In some cases, PSE for lighting fixtures can be installed closer to the lights themselves, rather than by the rack of data switches that are often further away.
A PoE extender could be used to add an additional 100 meters of range to a PoE signal, though even with a PoE extender, a maximum effective range of 200 meters isn’t that far when we’re talking about a large hotel with devices on every floor.
Lack of IT Personnel
There are two kinds of PoE network switches: managed and unmanaged switches.
Unmanaged switches are supposed to work automatically, and they’re best suited for small home or office networks that don’t require any complex configurations.
An unmanaged switch’s settings cannot be tampered with, as it’s supposed to be self-adjusting.
Unmanaged switches are cheaper, but they aren’t advanced enough to operate a network as large as a hotel’s. If anything went wrong – which is more likely to happen with a network comprised of unmanaged switches – the entire network would crash and it would be hard for IT personnel to alleviate the problem.
Managed switches, on the other hand, are not as easy to use, yet they provide far more control for an additional cost. IT professionals can fine-tune a network with a managed PoE switch, especially if it’s a high-end PoE switch.
Many hotels and retailers, especially those owned by smaller companies, don’t have a large budget for IT. After installing the advanced system, those in the hospitality and retail industries would also have to hire trained IT professionals to manage the network.
Power over Ethernet is being used by both hotels and retailers across the globe to provide the best possible experience to their guests and customers.
Several studies have shown that outfitting a hotel with advanced technology – such as mobile apps to control temperature and lighting, for example – results in a better overall stay.
Likewise, PoE technology can be used to operate wireless access points, IP cameras, and RFID readers in retail stores and warehouses.
PoE is a great way to cut costs, boost efficiency, and maximize ROI.
Picture Power over Ethernet (PoE) as the technology used by telephone companies. Just like telephone lines carry voice and power through the same cable, PoE technology carries networking data and power over the same Ethernet cable.
“Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows for installation of remote or outside equipment without having to connect to AC power. This allows power to be delivered to more areas without the need to install additional electrical infrastructure or to have power outlets at every endpoint. Equipment can be installed without the need for an electrician and because ethernet cable costs less and is often already installed in buildings, PoE-based systems are far more cost-effective and efficient.”
Needless to say, PoE technology creates a whole host of new networking possibilities in a plethora of different industries, including both hospitality and retail.
PoE is based on a universal standard, the most recent of which is the 100W, IEEE 802.3bt standard. There have been several PoE standards created since PoE’s inception – each successive generation allowed for more power to be carried over a single PoE cable
Hotel Technology: PoE Applications in Hospitality
When guests check into a hotel, they expect a luxurious stay. Needless to say, having a technologically up-to-date building is a big part of their experience.
Nobody has to go down to the lobby to use a public computer just to check their email. In today’s day and age, we’ve grown accustomed to having – hopefully fast – WiFi access everywhere we go, and hotels are no exception.
Moreover, hotel staff is now more reliant than ever on their hotel’s network. It’s never been more important to have a fast, secure, and stable network in the hospitality industry.
Whether they’re checking someone in, checking someone out, or looking at their IP security cameras, just about every day-to-day task depends on their network. Nowadays, using one of the best cable modems isn’t going to cut it. A fast network improves service times, resulting in happier guests.
Here are a few ways PoE is revolutionizing the hospitality industry:
Smart hotels that utilize IoT (Internet of Things) technology can use sensors to alert hotel staff when guests have left their rooms. Once they have left, lights can be turned off and temperatures can be turned down automatically, thus reducing energy expenditure and cutting costs. The same can be said about other rooms in the hotel like the gym, work center, conference room, etc.
PoE and IoT technology have combined, giving guests the ability to control lighting, HVAC, locks, window shades, and entertainment, all from their smartphone. Furthermore, hotel staff can use the same technology to control lights, temperature, and locks remotely after a guest checks out of the hotel.
Technology plays a big part in all of our lives, every day. We’ve grown accustomed to it, and now we expect it when we travel. According to the J.D. Power 2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, guests are more satisfied when hotels use mobile apps and IoT technology.
PoE Hotel Technology in Action
Luxurious hotels across the globe are implementing IoT technology in their guest rooms, enhancing their guests’ experiences and improving their business’ efficiency.
When hotels add more IoT devices to their rooms, they must also enhance their network to allow all of the devices to communicate efficiently.
Hilton CEO Christopher Nasetta, for instance, described Hilton’s “Connected Room” at the Skift Global Forum in September.
The room knows you, and you know the room. Picture walking into your guest room, and being greeted by the television: “Hey John, how are you?”.
Everything you need to control the room will be in the palm of your hand. Through your mobile device, you can control the room’s lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and entertainment streaming content as well.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) makes its way into our everyday lives, people are starting to expect the same technological luxuries in their hotel rooms as well.
Voice controlled technologies like Amazon Alexa and Siri are already well-developed – that’s not the issue for hotels.
Rather, it’s expensive and difficult getting the Internet of Things properly connected to existing hotel’s networks. It’s expensive to retrofit everything in a hotel.
Other hotel groups aside from Hilton are experimenting with new networking technology as well.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, for example, is an award-winning company that owns and operates prestigious hotels all over the world.
In fact, they run 45 hotels with over 11,000 rooms in more than 25 different countries.
Mandarin Oriental, Boston recently decided to update their hotel’s infrastructure. They installed Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE) devices in their rooms to accommodate even the most tech-minded guests.
Network stability is critical in any setting, especially in the hospitality industry. If the network goes down, hotel staff won’t be able to serve their guests, resulting in a dissatisfactory stay.
Mandarin Oriental, Boston needed new to increase power across the property. They also needed color-displayed phones and an access point to remain operable in the event of a power outage.
This way, they could maintain phone operability and provide internet access, even without power. After all, a power outage is a fantastic way to lose loyal customers. Due to the hotel’s limited IT personnel, they needed a solution that was easy to install and configure.
They chose to install switches with UPOE capabilities. UPOE is the only PoE option on the market capable of in-room switching that can provide up to 60 watts of power to each port.
A few weeks after Mandarin Oriental, Boston upgraded its infrastructure with UPOE technology, the city suffered a power outage.
Luckily, the hotel was able to maintain phone and internet access for its guests despite the loss of power. If it weren’t for UPOE technology, they would’ve lost their ability to keep their network online and, as a consequence, they would’ve lost guests as well.
Using PoE Lighting in the Hospitality Industry
PoE technology can prove useful in more than just one scenario.
In another instance, West Baden Springs Hotel used PoE technology to create a magnificent lighting display in their hotel, staying true to the building’s original design:
What’s the bottom line here?
Hotels that use PoE technology have happier guests, end of story.
PoE Applications in Retail
In addition to the hospitality industry, PoE also proves to be quite useful in the retail industry as well.
Nowadays, many retailers need to install wireless access points, IP cameras and RFID readers in their stores and warehouses. The equipment is usually installed in hard-to-reach places – with that being said, it’s easy to see how PoE can come in handy.
By utilizing PoE technology, the installation of these technologies is not only easier but more cost effective as well.
You can even use PoE technology with POS (Point of Sale) systems such as electric cash registers and integrated computer systems that record business transaction data.
You can use PoE to manage all of the devices on your store or warehouse’s network, including IP security cameras, VOIP phones, POS systems, and wireless access points. PoE is cheaper in the long run than other networking solutions and it’s far more efficient as well.
If you want to invest in your business’ future, then you’ll have to first invest in PoE tech.
The maximum power output per port of PSE (Power Sourcing Equipment) – the components that supply power to PDs (Powered Devices) – has been improved over the years to keep up with the ever increasing demand of new technology.
Likewise, as the PoE market continues to grow and IoT (Internet of Things) is becoming more popular, the universal PoE standard has also been improved and increased to accommodate the expanding industry.
If a device is “PoE compatible,” it adheres to the universal standard for PoE, which up until recently was IEEE 802.3at. The PoE standard ensures all PoE devices are on the same page, so they can be safely connected to other PoE devices on the network.
Evidently, not all devices on a network are PoE compatible. According to the PoE standard, all powered devices must display a signature to the PSE to make sure it is indeed PoE compatible. Otherwise, the PSE will not supply power to the device.
It was a long time in the making, but the latest PoE standard – IEEE 802.3bt – was finally ratified and approved on September 27th, 2018. The new standard supports 100W of Power over Ethernet, enough to operate the newest and most power hungry devices on the network.
The ratification process took a bit longer than first expected because IEEE wanted to make the new standard backward compatible with all PoE devices.
All PoE devices must adhere to the universal PoE standard. This way, all PoE devices can properly communicate with one another on a network, even if some devices on the network aren’t PoE compatible.
For example, if you connected a PoE Ethernet cable for gaming to a console, it would supply only data, and not electricity. Since the console is not PoE compatible and cannot send a digital signature to the PSE for power, your switch will know not to send electricity down the line.
As of January 2019, there are four PoE types – in this section, we’ll be taking a closer look at each one of them.
The first PoE type is normally referred to as – yep, you guessed it – PoE. It conforms to the IEEE 802.3af standard and it can supply maximum power to port of 15.4 Watts. It was an early PoE standard created back in 2003, meant to supply electricity to low-powered devices on a network, including VoIP phones, sensors, wireless access points, and simple static surveillance cameras that can’t move from side to side or up and down.
The second PoE type is commonly referred to as PoE+ and PoE Plus. Type 2 PoE conforms to the IEEE 802.3at standard, and it can supply maximum power to port of 30 Watts. This newer standard is backward compatible, meaning it also supports Type 1 PoE devices. Type 2 PoE can power PDs such as wireless access points with six antennas, biometric sensors, LCD displays, and more advanced cameras that have pan, tilt, and zoom functionalities.
Type 3 is the third PoE type, and it is also known as 4-pair PoE, RP PoE, PoE++, and UPOE because it uses all four pairs in a copper cable. It conforms to the IEEE 802.3bt PoE standard, and it can supply maximum power to port of 60 Watts. PoE++ has enough power per port to operate management devices and video conferencing systems.
Commonly referred to as higher-power PoE, Type 4 also conforms to the newest IEEE 802.3bt standard, but it can supply maximum power to port of 100 Watts in order to accommodate the growing power requirements of network devices and IoT. It can even support power hungry laptops and TVs.
The 100 Watt PoE Standard (IEEE 802.3bt)
As mentioned above, the newest 802.3bt standard calls for both Type 3 (60W) and Type 4 (100W) power variants. Now, you can carry nearly 100 Watts of electricity over a single PoE cable.
If your network uses PSE compliant to the new 100W PoE standard, you’ll be able to power devices like thermal cameras with PTZ features, large display screens, and large LED lighting fixtures, just to name a few.
Although 100W of PoE power may seem excessive, it’s actually quite the contrary – with the growing IoT market and the emergence of smart homes and buildings in addition to rising power demands, 802.3bt has arrived in the nick of time.
100W PoE is a stepping stone along the path towards making complex networks in smart homes and buildings a reality. Smart buildings would be far more expensive to design – let alone build – without high power PoE capabilities.
IEEE 802.at and 802.3af standards used a four-pair cable, but the old standards only called for power delivery from two of the pairs. It used either pairs 2 and 3 or 1 and 4, but not both pairs at the same time.
Conversely, IEEE 802.3bt uses all of the pairs in a four-pair cable, which allows current to flow evenly among them. This innovation drastically improves the amount of power that can be transmitted over a single PoE cable, in addition to the higher data rate of up to 10GBASE-T.
If you’re using the new standard, you won’t be able to use CAT 5e cabling anymore. Instead, you’ll have to upgrade to category 6A 4-pair balanced twisted-pair cabling in order to achieve the best possible thermal and power efficiency. This upgrade is necessary because less power is dissipated in a CAT 6A cable, meaning your PDs (Powered Devices) will receive more power as opposed to it being wasted due to the inefficiency of an old CAT 5e cable.
If you’re using power hungry devices, you may even want to consider a special CAT 6a cable designed to withstand the extra heat generated when cables are bundled together.
Upgrading your network to 100W PoE Power Sourcing Equipment, devices, and CAT 6a cable is the only surefire way to future proof your network for the growing power demands that are already at your doorstep.