Networking

Installers: 7 Ideas for Streamlining PoE Lighting Design and Installation

Installers: 7 Ideas for Streamlining PoE Lighting Design and Installation

Smart Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting control systems are value-adding parts of most intelligent building systems today. That said, setting them up to industry standards while satisfying unique customer requirements is no walk in the park. Installers are grappling with a shrunk labor force, tight schedules, and building codes that vary from place to place. Here are seven ways to streamline your PoE lighting project and deliver value against the backdrop of conflicting protocols and dynamic customer needs.

1. Incorporate Value Drivers into the Design1. Incorporate Value Drivers into the Design

PoE-enabled luminaries should deliver energy efficiency at the very minimum, but installers should aim higher. Think about ways to add value by enhancing the human experience in the spaces you create. One way to do this is by integrating lighting control solutions with other installations in the facility, such as HVAC and surveillance. Consider linking components like light sensors, motion sensors, and occupancy sensors with building management systems (BMS) and intuitive software. This way, building operations teams can leverage optimal data visibility to extract descriptive, prescriptive, or even predictive intelligence. Facility owners and users can harness in-depth building insights to inform actions that optimize the usage of the spaces in which they operate. You're adding value by incorporating intelligent PoE lighting control design into other critical BMS components.

2. Every Space has its Unique Requirements—Study and Address Them2. Every Space has its Unique Requirements—Study and Address Them

No matter your budget, don't sacrifice building performance by delivering a general or subpar solution. It helps to consult with stakeholders in the project (facility owners, managers, and operators) to build lighting control systems around specific requirements. Thus, ask critical questions to help with the custom design of the solution. Which spaces need smart lighting controls? What level of code compliance does each area require? You can optimize your budget without compromising performance when you find a perfect balance between control features and regulatory compliance. You may refer to online guides in your pre-project research on the most suitable smart lighting design for the client. These can provide good-better-best options for each space you're illuminating with PoE-powered solutions. Then, discuss all possibilities with the client and incorporate the research insights into your technical blueprint.

3. Understaffed at Work? Wireless Lighting Controls to the Rescue!3. Understaffed at Work? Wireless Lighting Controls to the Rescue!

If your project is understaffed, you're likely to have problems meeting deadlines, working within budget, or even keeping your clients happy. You may also lack the time or personnel for proper pre-project research and design. However, it may be possible to work with a lean team and tight timelines when you bring wireless lighting controls into the picture. Wireless control systems offer many installation advantages, including fast-tracking and simplifying design and deployment. They eliminate the cost of materials such as dedicated control wiring and traveler wires. Since these systems are scalable, they're a cost-effective option for projects whose requirements may change in future.

4. Take the Guesswork Out of Code Compliance With the Right Solution Providers4. Take the Guesswork Out of Code Compliance With the Right Solution Providers

Tracking the energy conservation and building code of your area of operation can be a pain, especially if you're an interstate or intercity installer. That's because such regulations differ from state to state and city to city, and they keep changing from time to time. It can be confusing, but it need not be the case for you when you're working with suppliers that can help with code compliance. A good case in point is the state of New York whose regulations draw from multiple industry standards. These include the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code and the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013. However, local jurisdictions don't have to enforce the State Energy Code in whole. As such, cities like Albany or towns like Brighton may have a stricter local code. Fortunately, lighting control vendors can help with comprehensive code guides specific to your state, city, or town. They can also provide system typicals for the space types you're working with.

5. Be Futuristic: Think Beyond What's Viable Today5. Be Futuristic: Think Beyond What’s Viable Today

Consider how fundamental changes in the industry can affect your business in the long term. Your operating conditions might not remain favorable when counterfeits or new equipment-makers enter the market. For example, would you be able to sustain operations if the owner of a proprietary protocol you're relying on left the market? Is your supplier offering lighting control products compatible with other building systems? To be on the safe side, engage a provider whose lighting control solutions can integrate with other components of standard building systems and software. Also, consider long-term costs, including when a cheaper product is available today. Prioritize longevity and scalability too.

6. Keep all the Good Customers to Yourself by Delivering on or Exceeding Their Expectations Every TimeLutron’s QuEst-D

The modern facility owner or space occupant is more informed than ever before, and they're asking much more from lighting control equipment installers. Add that to the need to differentiate against the backdrop of shortened project schedules, changing building codes, demand for energy-efficient design, and new technologies. How do you consistently meet higher customer expectations in a highly competitive commercial property market today? Try using some of the project management and optimization tools available to contractors in the real estate industry. With free resources like Lutron's QuEst-D, you can quickly provide potential customers with the information they need to make the right choice. Tools that help to minimize risk, satisfy project bids, and simplify system design and installation are also essential to the attainment of sustained competitiveness.

7. 24/7 Support: To be There for Your Customers, Your Providers Must be There for You7. 24/7 Support: To be There for Your Customers, Your Providers Must be There for You

Sometimes, your customers will raise issues that only your smart building system vendor or equipment manufacturer can resolve. So, look for a provider with a solid reputation for innovation, reliability, and 24/7 customer support. Be sure that your supplier is willing to address long-term customer concerns on an ongoing basis from the initial installation.

Wrapping it Up

Are you struggling with the installation of energy-saving PoE lighting control systems? There are practical ways to overcome common challenges, speed up your project, and deliver on high customer expectations. To add value by enhancing the human experience of the physical spaces you create, consider integrating lighting controls with your client's building systems. Look for providers that simplify building code compliance. Also, engage manufacturers that guarantee your future via ongoing customer support, innovation, scalability, and support for standard integrations. To compensate for a stretched workforce, consider adopting cost-effective wireless solutions. Finally, your business can succeed in a highly competitive real estate landscape by leveraging free software tools to reduce risk and fast-track design and installation. Are you looking to set up value-adding, energy-efficient, and smart lighting systems today? At Versa Technology, we offer a wide range of code-compliant PoE lighting control solutions. Contact us to discover more!
Emerging Workplace Trends Shaping the Future of Modern Architecture

Emerging Workplace Trends Shaping the Future of Modern Architecture

Office design has never been more fundamental to the success of a business. The constant change that new technologies bring to the workplace has opened unparalleled opportunities for design innovation and experimentation. This current trend toward office optimization is forecast to increase in 2019 and beyond. The needs and expectations for a work environment are quite different from those in the past. One of the newest and most important trends is something termed “wellbeing.”

Wellbeing In the Workplace

Employee wellbeing is an important consideration when planning and designing a modern office. Today’s research is proving that a “well” workplace is a healthy workplace--and happy, healthy employees add to the bottom line. The design of a workplace should include the following elements:
  • Color: Research shows that the right colors can positively contribute to happiness, productivity and even physical health (eg. yellow can evoke feelings of optimism, warmth, and creativity).
  • Texture: Adding texture to office brings warmth and appeal--and elevates the “humanity” of the space (eg. a variety of fabrics, patterns, artwork, pillows, rugs, sculpture pieces, etc. can create comfort and interest to the work environment).
  • Air Quality: A rise in carbon dioxide or other noxious gases can cause loss of concentration, low productivity, and even serious health concerns for employees.
  • Lighting: Power over Ethernet (PoE) and LED lighting systems enable buildings to interact directly (in real time) with end users and the environment. (eg. lighting that mimics sunlight and changes in time/season allows bio rhythms to be maintained--and can create indoor comfort conditions to suit individual employee preferences).
  • Ergonomics: This is the science of designing products for the workplace that are optimized for human use (eg. specially engineered chairs that fit individual needs or desking systems that allow employees to stand and work rather than sit all day).
  • Experience-Driven Spaces: These spaces are employee-focused enhancements in the workplace that help develop employee wellness, happiness, morale, and sense of community (eg. a massage therapy service, chiropractic facility, meditation area, walking/jogging trail, rock climbing wall, espresso bar, and the like).
Employee recruiting and retention is a critical goal in today’s business world. Therefore, a workplace design with wellness features is something top-notch employees are looking for. And, simply, it’s the right thing to do. Wellbeing in the Office Another emerging trend in 2019 is extending the use of co-working spaces.

Co-working Spaces

In the past, the various enterprises sharing a co-working environment have remained separate and closed off from one another. However, in newer cohabitation spaces, walls are being torn down and companies are sharing spaces, resources, and, sometimes, even personnel. These companies all share similar goals (maximization of collaboration, creativity, flexibility, innovation) and are especially designed to attract millennials. Free-range office spaces are often characterized by:
  • Open plan office design
  • Multi-use meeting areas
  • Technology resource spaces
  • Unconventional creative spaces
  • Lots of glass
  • Plants and greenery
  • Portable green wall dividers
  • Lightweight, mobile furniture
  • No cubicles
  • Comfortable couches and chairs
  • Coffee/espresso bars
Cohabitation spaces provide options for companies to acquire space without having to commit to long-term leases; they also encourage landlords to re-work space (flexibility) and provide for shared amenity areas within the building. Co-Working Spaces in the Office Another popular thing is “old becomes new again.”

Quirky Buildings and Interiors

This isn’t a new phenomenon but bringing a historical old building back to life or repairing a broken-down warehouse is a popular direction these days. New business parks in areas such as old fishing yards, meatpacking districts, deserted manufacturing plants, and abandoned waterfront areas are giving these spaces a new lease on life. Old, honored craftsmanship meets with new, modern furniture and decor--the best of both worlds. This “old becomes new again” design trend features:
  • Old-world craftsmanship
  • Modern design accents
  • Antique/weathered textures
  • Smooth/soft textures
  • Glass and metals
  • Carpet and wall coverings with abstract designs
  • Modern furniture and office equipment
This design trend allows for an “aged” feeling with quirky choices of color, texture and decor that is modern. Contrast is important: old vs. new, hard vs. soft; homey vs. industrial. Quirky Office Buildings In contrast to this old versus new approach to design, biophilic design enjoys huge popularity these days and is becoming a near necessity.

What is biophilic design?

Biophilic design is an extension of the philosophy of “biophilia” (part of the green movement) and is defined as “the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature.” This design trend is noted for the following features:
  • Environmental Features: Color, water, air, sunlight, plants, animals, and natural materials are built into the environment.
  • Natural Shapes and Forms: These buildings often have botanical, animal, or shell motifs. Simulation of natural shapes, such as arches, vaults, and domes are part of the architecture.
  • Natural Patterns: These spaces have varying sensory experiences: play between balance and tension, rhythm, ratios, and use of scale. Contrasts are important.
  • Light and Space: Humans react to differing types of light and space in a variety of ways. These spaces offer warm light, cool light, diffused light, and even dark. There’s a harmonious relationship with the outside (eg. large glass windows bring in light, trees, and other landscape into the building).
  • Place-Based Relationships: Historic, cultural, geographic, spiritual, and ecological factors are respected and honored in the design of the building.
The basic principle of this popular design philosophy is to incorporate feeling-based concepts, such as order and complexity; curiosity and enticement; mastery and control; affection and attachment; security and protection; exploration and discovery, even fear and awe.

Biophilic Offices

Environment Diversity: The Better Way

In workplace design for 2019 and for the future, the push tends toward creativity and humanity. Offices now have “personalities” and wear the spirit and the culture of the company. The user experience is at present a critical factor in workplace design. Gone are the days of the draconian office that takes no heed to the needs of its inhabitants. The current drive and interest is toward meeting the needs of the people who spend most of their waking hours in a workspace.
In Case You Missed It: IEEE Publishes Amendments to 802.3 Standards

In Case You Missed It: IEEE Publishes Amendments to 802.3 Standards

What is the IEEE?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (known as the IEEE) is the largest technical professional organization in the world. With its corporate office located in New York City and its operations center in Piscataway, New Jersey, this enterprise has more than 423,000 members in over 160 countries. The IEEE’s “objectives are the educational and technical advancement of electrical and electronic engineering, telecommunications, computer engineering, and allied disciplines.” The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is an entity within the IEEE that develops, nurtures, and drives global standards for a wide range of industries, including:
  • Power and energy
  • Biomedical and health care
  • Information technology
  • Robotics
  • Telecommunications
  • Home automation
  • Transportation
  • Nanotechnology
  • And many more . . .
Technical experts from all over the world participate in the development of global standards for these wide-reaching industries. The IEEE-SA has a catalog of over 1250 active standards as well as hundreds in the process of development.

What is IEEE 802.3?

According to Techopedia: “IEEE 802.3 is a set of standards put forth by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) that define Ethernet-based networks as well as the name of the working group assigned to develop these standards. “IEEE 802.3 is otherwise known as the Ethernet standard and defines the physical layer and the media access control (MAC) of the data link layer for wired Ethernet networks, generally as a local area network (LAN) technology.” In response to evolving industry requirements for new and emerging Ethernet applications, the IEEE-SA announced (in April 2019) 3 standard amendments to IEEE 802.3.
  • Amendment 1 (IEEE 802.3cb-2018): This amendment defines “Ethernet Media Access (MAC) parameters, Physical Layer specifications and management objects for the serial transfer of Ethernet format frames at 2.5 Gb/s and 5 Gb/s over electrical backplanes.”
  • Amendment 2 (IEEE 802.3bt-2018): The maximum Powered Device (PD) power available is increased by this amendment by utilizing all 4 pairs in the specified structure wiring plant. “This represents a substantial change to the capabilities of Ethernet with standardized power. The power classification information exchanged during negotiation is extended to allow meaningful power management capability. These enhancements solve the problem of higher power and more efficient standardized Power over Ethernet (PoE) delivery systems.”
  • Amendment 3 (IEEE 802.3cd-2018): This amendment adds Clause 131 through 140 and Annex 135A through 136D to IEEE 802.3-2018. These addendums specify Media Access Control (MAC) parameters, Physical Layer specifications, and management criterion regarding the transfer of IEEE 802.3 format frames at 50Gb/s, 100 Gb/s, and 200 Gb/s.

Meeting Industry Needs for the Future

These 3 new amendments to IEEE 802.3 have been instituted to meet industry demands for greater Ethernet functionality. According to IEEE Standards University article, written by George Zimmerman and entitled “Evolution of Ethernet Standards In IEEE 802.3 Working Group”:
“The work within the IEEE 802.3 Working Group is far from done, with the next generation of high-speed 40/100/200/400G links aiming for broader market adoption through increasing the cost-effectiveness of solutions while decreasing the power consumption and complexity of compatible products. This work also focuses on lower speeds. The 10 Mb/s Extended Reach Single Twisted Pair Ethernet PHY project, aims to address existing market demand for a unified lower speed and a longer-reach PHY for automation purposes. The IEEE 802.3 Working Group is thus looking for ways to expand Ethernet market coverage and to support higher data rates while also providing coverage for emerging markets such as the automotive industry. “It can be expected that innovation in the area of wired Ethernet will continue in the years to come, bringing the same highly reliable and well-understood networking philosophy to new markets, enabling new applications, and making networking in general more ubiquitous.”
Testing HDBaseT Quality: Don't Make This Mistake

Testing HDBaseT Quality: Don’t Make This Mistake

Testing HDBaseT quality can be a straightforward process, but if you miss this one step in the process you'll give yourself a headache later. Technology is ever-changing, and with consumer electronics, the reality has never been more true: If you’re not keeping up with evolving and changing technology, you will quickly fall behind, costing you time, money and frustration. Though HDBaseT is the most adaptable technology for home and office audio & video needs, in order to successfully plan, install, and maintain these infrastructures takes ever-evolving knowledge, and the appropriate tools for such adaptations. There is one quiet killer in particular for HDBaseT quality that, if known about, tested for in your HDBaseT installations, the issue can be avoided or resolved entirely. In order to fully explain this issue and how to discover it, it’s important to understand how HDBaseT technology got to where it is today.

The Power of PoE

In the past, communication between two points required separate circuits entirely: One for communication, and another for power. But with the advent of PoE (Power over Ethernet), this was no longer necessary. This state-of-the-art technology allowed communication planners and technicians an efficient way to provide power for an expanding collection of electronic devices, without the necessity for separate infrastructures. All they needed was the Power over Ethernet infrastructure. Finally, the invention of HDBaseT took high-tech communication to new levels of quality and speed, and expanded diversity of the infrastructure. PoE (Power over Ethernet) = Power + Data With this, PoE became PoH (Power over HDBaseT), meaning all of the conductors in the cable infrastructure not only carried communication, but the DC current as well to a multitude of different components. The outcome? - any issues with the DC power in the HDBaseT networks now negatively impacted the quality and dependability of transmissions. PoH (Power over HDBaseT) = Power + Data + HDMI Because of this latest update in technology, one thing is clear: Testing HDBaseT infrastructure is imperative - whether you’re solving issues, expanding your current infrastructure, or installing new infrastructures. It is, of course, attractive, to make what you have as efficient as possible, to take on the largest load possible. However, if you’re not testing for DC-related problems, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. Conversely, getting rid of the infrastructures you already have for unknown concerns doesn’t entirely make sense either. And moreover, even new cables should be checked for their ability to handle PoH and high-quality transmissions concurrently, since the materials of any one cable may differ from another, and therefore affect the network quality.

HDBaseT Quality Testing

So what is it that you need to test in order to determine the health and quality of your current HDBaseT? Think about current. With any DC, resistance is going to be the biggest enemy. And the higher the DC resistance, the bigger the issue.MS-TestPro from MSolutions, HDBaseT Tester Therefore, what you may think to do is to test the DC resistance of individual wires & wire pairs. While this is important, you’ll want to do more than just that. In order to appropriately determine the health of the Power over HDBaseT capacity, you will need to test the entire cable as a whole. See, each individual wire might be performing healthily, but the entire cable as a whole could not be due to differences in the DC resistance of each twisted pair, or the DC resistance unbalance. That means 3 DC resistance values are needed to understand the overall picture of the HDBaseT infrastructure’s health: the resistance of individual wires, total resistance and resistance unbalance within pairs, and DC resistance unbalance between all pairs. That way, you’ll get the true answer about the ability of your HDBaseT infrastructure to hand PoH while maintaining its highest quality transmission that it possibly can.

Conclusion

Now here’s the good news: there are plenty of options out there on the market to test DC resistance and DC resistance unbalance effectively and reliably. Prices and capabilities of the various models will vary widely, but few will offer full testing capabilities while supporting all necessary DC resistance functions. Understanding is a key element to success. You can’t fix an issue if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why being aware of the potential problems that DC resistance can cause in your HDBaseT network, as well as knowing how to check these parameters with the appropriate tools is so important to prevent network disruptions before they arise.
The Intelligent Building Market

The Intelligent Building Market

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. One of these trends is the monitoring of indoor air quality. Current non-intelligent methods of monitoring air quality are less comprehensive and less automated. 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 Type 4 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%. To put that number into perspective, the forecasted revenue growth rate of the technology sector as a whole is just 1.9%. 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.

Conclusion

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.
Limitations of PoE Technologies in Office Buildings

Limitations of PoE Technology in Office Buildings

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.

Office Smart Lighting

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.

Installation Costs

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.

Maintenance

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.

Unmanaged Switch for Smart Homes, Managed Switch for Smart Offices

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.

PoE Extender Application Diagram

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.

Conclusion

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.

Enabling PoE Technologies in Office Buildings

Enabling PoE Technologies in Office Buildings

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. Why? 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. PoE Devices 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. 100W PoE Devices 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. Better control aside, the synergistic integration of PoE lighting into the building’s network also leads to colossal energy savings, improved occupant comfort, and even improved security. 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.

Conclusion

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.
PoE Challenges in the Healthcare Industry

PoE Challenges in the Healthcare Industry

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.PoE Cable 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.

Security

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.  

Energy Efficiency

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.

Flexibility

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 Technology

IoT is also becoming ever more prevalent in the healthcare industry. For example, IoT based medical devices – such as an Infusion Pumpinfusion 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.

PoE Limitations

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:

Installation Cost

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:
  1. Trash their existing infrastructure and reoutfit their network with PoE compatible switches
  2. 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. PoE Hub Application 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.

Range

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. PoE Extender Chain 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.

Compatibility

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. PoE Splitter ApplicationFurther still, using a PoE splitter eliminates the need to install power outlets in inconvenient locations, which reduces both installation time and cost.
Enabling PoE Technologies in the Healthcare Industry

Enabling PoE Technologies in the Healthcare Industry

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.

Faster Diagnosis

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.

Preventative Care

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.

Patient Comfort

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. PoE Lighting in Healthcare 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.

Security

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. PoE enables IoT data and electricity to travel through an Ethernet cable. Devices on the network can securely send data (without range limitations or interference) to powered devices on the network.PoE & Healthcare Use Cases 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?
PoE Challenges in Hospitality & Retail Industries

PoE Challenges in the Hospitality and Retail Industries

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 Limitations

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. Rather than having to adjust temperature, lighting, and the TV manually, guests will soon be able to control every aspect of their room with their voice using a mobile app.West Baden Spring Hotel PoE Lighting 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.

Installation Cost

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.

Limited Range

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. PoE Hub Application Diagram 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. Unmanaged vs. Managed Switches 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.
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