Can a Power over Ethernet (PoE) Logo Guarantee Consumer Protection?derekpsneed
The Internet of Things is expected to take over everything from small home appliances to vehicular transportation over the next couple of years. The Ethernet Alliance (EA) anticipates that the future demand of Ethernet devices requires further consumer protection from faulty products. As a response, EA held a one-hour conference-call last week that discussed the possibility of adopting a PoE logo similar to the UL certification that would give customers peace of mind over the reliability of their purchased PoE products.
The Ethernet Alliance aims to standardize interoperability regulations so as to assist developers in innovating PoE products and protect consumers. The Ethernet Alliance reminded participants in the conference call that “PoE is a name, not a standard” and aggregated a slew of negative customer reviews on faulty PoE products purchased from Amazon. Disgruntled customers either received non-working devices or were mis-informed about a product’s utility. But does the ‘evidence’ of a few faulty devices found in the Amazon marketplace enough to warrant a PoE logo that would set back a company in royalty-based fees?
The Ethernet Alliance has become a respected non-profit dedicated to marketing IEEE standards. IEEE’s 802.3af/at standards for example, have become recognizable requirements in the industry that protect devices from short-circuiting. However, many small businesses manufacture non-compliant devices that are affordable and reliable. But dependable Power over Ethernet solutions that do not comply with IEEE standards simply cannot compete for a customer’s trust. Though this may hurt some small businesses, in order for developers to continue innovating at a rapid pace, the EA has identified the necessity of developing a Dot3PoE logo that would function as a recognizable insignia that would protect consumers.
David Tremblay, EA’s technical chair of the PoE Subcommittee believes that “…an industry-driven logo certification program will help promote greater interoperability between IEEE 802.3-standardized PoE solutions. Additionally, a logo certification program will help end users more easily identify PoE products that have undergone Ethernet Alliance PoE logo certification and better ensure their performance, helping to further PoE’s rapid adoption across a broad array of markets and applications, like the coming Internet of Things.”
The conversation has gained more relevancy as IT experts are no longer the only professionals familiar with the benefits of using Power over Ethernet devices. Manufacturers have equipped their devices with simple ‘plug and play’ installation interfaces that have made Ethernet devices more accessible to home users. The nature of their ability to simultaneously deliver both data and power makes Ethernet devices an especially appealing power alternative because it reduces cable clutter. As David Tremblay previously mentions, adopting a PoE logo would accelerate the adoption of PoE devices.