UK firms could be wasting thousands of pounds on electrical installation costs because they are unaware of the full range of capabilities of ethernet cables.
As a country, the UK has fallen behind other nations in its understanding of how the cables can be used to a greater extent by carrying electricity as well as data to devices with increased power demands such as LED lights, security cameras, AV and monitors.
Earlier this year we became only the second UK firm to join the Power over Ethernet Consortium, a global industry trade group set up last year to promote PoE.
Its aim is to advance PoE education, advocacy and to share best practice so that more counties can learn about the ways in which it can save them money and reduce their carbon footprint.
PoE has been used for years to power telephones and laptops and is increasingly being used in smart building schemes to enable owners and operators to monitor and control heating, lighting and security via devices linked to the internet.
It saves money because there is no longer a need for a separate power source to each device, meaning there is no need to employ an electrician, no need for extra wiring, no need for safety approval and no need to modify building plans.
The likelihood of an LED light failure is also reduced as drivers – the component at the back of the bulb which regulates the power – are removed and now sit in a centrally accessible comms room, improving the longevity of the LED and making it easier to replace light fixtures.
The use of PoE technology is fast-growing, especially in the USA and other countries around the world including India, Germany, Mexico and the Middle East.
However, Rob Pritchard, our managing director, says while the rest of the world is waking up to its benefits – and despite the RJ45 plug found on the end of each PoE cable being a globally accepted power supply – the UK is lagging behind.
He said: “It is accepted that a traditional telephone cable provides electricity for the telephone as well as carrying the signal, and this same cable can power a number of devices at the same time, including LED lights, sensors and security cameras, without a separate AC supply.
“Installing only one type of cable on one infrastructure network from a central comms room reduces complexity and opportunities for issues. This makes it much more flexible and cost-effective and saves significantly on installation and cabling, but for some reason the take-up is still relatively low in the UK.
“We want to change that, which is why we’ve joined the PoE Consortium. It’s still early days but there are some major names involved and we’re very pleased to be lining up alongside them.
“In the low-carbon, post-lockdown world, smart buildings are the future and if UK companies are to deliver the cost savings and sustainability strategies they’re being required to achieve, then innovations such as power over ethernet is vital to their chances of doing so.”
Established in 2013, we have installed smart building technology, including intelligent lighting, integrated and supplementary sensor networks, and audio-visual systems, at premises across the UK, helping its customers reduce their carbon footprint, lower operational costs and create a working environment that boosts productivity and well-being.
Our clients include Gymshark, Severn Trent Water and Tarmac, as well as, closer to home, Derby College and the Chocolate Factory, home to the popular Bustler Market street food event.