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How to Sell Power Products

Why Power Quality Devices Shouldn’t Be Considered an Add-on

Editor’s Note: Rosewater Energy offers the highest priced power quality and energy management device available on the market. We asked Joe Piccirilli, managing director and founder, to share his experiences selling a premium power product in a channel that often relegates the product category to an afterthought in a project proposal. He believes integrators should be selling power management products.

As I travel around the country, I have found that, in general, dealers speak to clients about UPS and power conditioning products at the end of the sales process–essentially relegating it to something you should have to go along with your equipment. To them, it’s not a necessity, but a nice extra. There is no pre-qualifying for the client and no real explanation of the benefits of owning such equipment. The result is predictable. The client rarely receives the highest quality equipment because he or she has been given no reason to spend more.

As we are adding more microprocessors to each home, power quality is diminishing. The more microprocessors, the more catastrophic the consequences created by poor and unreliable power. This ultimately affects the enjoyment that our clients receive from their equipment.

Power quality and its consequences should be introduced in the consultation portion of the client meeting; in sales jargon it is referred to as qualification. The way I introduce it is, “I am going to ask you a few questions about the power quality in your home. The reason for these questions is that, in our experience, the power quality is as important to the enjoyment, performance, and longevity of your equipment as the equipment itself.” I would then ask them the following questions.

• Have you ever noticed their lights dimming?

• Have you ever noticed a momentary interruption of power?

• Do you use a UPS for their computer?

• Do you have issues with their network going down?

• Are there lighting strikes in your area?

• Do you have any power outages that last more than a couple of minutes?

This is not meant to be a complete list of possible questions, but enough to give you an idea of the direction you should take.

During the presentation of the equipment, you can take the time to talk about the power quality equipment that you included in the package to overcome the problems that you discussed during the initial consultation.

By setting up power quality equipment in this manner, you have put them in an informed opt-out position. You have cast doubt on the professionalism of any other company that does not ask them about power quality. An added benefit is that the client can no longer blame you for problems created by poor power quality. They were forewarned.

[SIDEBAR] It’s Probably Not Faulty Gear… It’s the Power

As Rosewater Energy Group’s Joe Piccirilli explains it in his article, power quality affects the performance, longevity, and reliability of audio equipment, video equipment, security products, automation products, communication products, and anything else that uses micro-processors. Unfortunately, an aging infrastructure, the difficulty in building new power plants, and the trend in many areas to replace structures that were once small with very large homes or apartment buildings have lead to a decline in power quality available to these vulnerable products.

Rosewater believes that power quality and energy management should be done at the panel level. “We currently offer two products, the HUB 20 and the SB 20,” Piccirilli said. “Both the HUB 20 and the SB 20 will back up a 200-amp panel while providing power conditioning, surge suppression, renewable energy integration, and large-scale battery back-up. Both products are built to military and industrial standards. In addition, the HUB 20 adds the ability to sell energy back to the grid. We are confident that they are the best products available today.”

The most compelling value in both the Panamax and Furman lines, according to Christos Desalernos, Nortek Security and Control (NSC) product manager, power, is maximized system performance due to the advanced filters made by the company. “Our protection designs have been proven for decades now, so making sure that end users get every drop of performance from their systems resonate with their emotional strings that drive them to invest in their AV system in the first place.”

NSC’s most recent offerings are additions to its TCP/IP monitoring and control. “You can use our BlueBOLT cloud, or execute local area network control for security sensitive networks via the BlueBOLT-CV2 card, which started shipping in January of 2018,” Desalernos explained.

With the company’s ELAN control brand, all ELAN Flagship systems include power conditioning and protection by Panamax or Furman products. The elevated performance and protection provided by Panamax and Furman products enable NSC to extend a full five-year warranty to the homeowner on the connected equipment.

Lauren Simmen, marketing director of SurgeX, argues that while it is possible that the root cause of a device’s poor performance could be a defective unit or faulty installation, it is actually more likely that power anomalies are slowly compromising equipment. Power management and protection, she said, ensure that products function at their top performance and provide preventative maintenance and predictive analysis of installations.

“They also give dealers the capability to remotely diagnose issues, cutting down on expensive truck rolls and time-consuming manual reboots,” Simmen added. “Essentially, installing power management into a system gives dealers peace of mind that equipment will work as promised and keep clients happy and satisfied.”

SurgeX is dedicated to developing new tools to better serve our dealers and their businesses. “Our products use Advanced Series Mode technology, which eliminates up to 6,000 volts of surge energy and also offers power conditioning against spikes, sags, and electrical noise,” Simmen said. “Dealers should always consider what method of protection is being used, and if the device will provide protection against electrical noise, instead of just eliminating surges.”

Scott Lowder, director of product management, power, for Middle Atlantic Products, said that as AV systems have become increasingly susceptible to firmware updates, networking issues, power quality issues, and user errors that cause instability or failures as complexity increases, the need for power management has increased in recent years. Advanced technologies like his company’s RackLink allow systems to be designed with immediate automated responses to typical problems. For example, a PDU with RackLink technology can detect that an AppleTV has stopped responding and automatically reboot it without receiving an external command.

“For network problems, these PDUs can automatically restart a modem and bring up the rest of the network component by component and in the correct sequence,” he said. “No external control system or advanced skills are required to configure these functions. Ultimately, this allows a dealer to ensure the client that nuisance issues will be promptly resolved. A screenshot of the simple UI and many automated response options is attached to this message.”

Dennis Holzer, executive director of the PowerHouse Alliance, concurs with Simmen that power protection and conditioning are “incredibly important” to a system’s optimal performance, agreeing that many issues that are often misdiagnosed as “product failure” can actually be attributed to poor power conditions. “Frustrating errors including lockups, reboots, or degraded products can be prevented through power management,” he said. “Monitored power systems act as an additional safeguard for the dealer’s bottom line and can save time, energy, and money for the integrator. Our members also offer dealers training and events with power management products, focusing on education and how to implement this equipment into current and future projects.”

—Jeremy J. Glowacki