Remote Power Management Products Help Homeowners And Integrators Reduce Service Calls, Manage Energy
Panamax’s BlueBolt cloud-based software can enable an ESC can manage power on multiple installations and multiple devices from a single login and assign control of individual devices to members of their team or to their clients.
Power management is one of the most unsung aspects of home entertainment, especially in home theaters. It’s often not until disaster strikes, such as a sudden power outage or an electrical storm, that its value is truly appreciated.
In this hyper-connected age, remote power management has become increasingly appealing to homeowners whose concerns stretch from protecting expensive home electronics to lessening their carbon footprint, spurring power management manufacturers to come up with solutions that will quickly address any number of power-induced AV problems.
“Remote power management offers a number of benefits to the residential system installer and the end user,” PS Audio VP of sales and marketing Ryan Conway noted. “Two of the most appealing benefits are remote service calls and the ability to load shed remotely.”
Integrated systems are more complex than ever, Conway acknowledged. If a component locks up it can destroy the user experience and completely erode confidence in the electronic systems contractor (ESC). “The ability to remotely reboot a misbehaving component can save a van roll and instill confidence in the integrator,” he explained.
PANAMAX BLUEBOLT BENEFITS
The advantages of remote power management lie in its ability to give ESCs quick access to common system problems, including component lock-ups, poor power connectivity between equipment, and power failures that might require a simple reboot to get things up and working again. In addition to saving the integrator from making a costly house call, clients don’t have to face the daunting task of looking into a head-end room.
Panamax, aware of the cost analysis that ESCs often perform when faced with repairing equipment, has created a platform to address several power issues that arise with AV systems. BlueBolt is cloudbased software that is compatible with four of Panamax’s systems: the M4315-PRO, the M4320-PRO, the MB-1500, and the Furman F1500-UPS.
“We know integrators don’t want to spend time setting up static IP addresses, forwarding ports, and troubleshooting network issues,” Dave Keller, SVP of sales and marketing for Panamax/Furman said. “Now all they have to do is plug a BlueBOLT device into an active Internet connection, and the device registers itself on our servers. Then they create an account and claim the device. It’s that simple.
SurgeX’s iControl is designed to monitor individual outlets and power settings, and offer several userdefined management e-mails.
According to Keller, this infrastructure can enable an ESC can manage multiple installations and multiple devices from a single login and assign control of individual devices to members of their team or to their clients.
BlueBOLT also provides Panamax/Furman room to improve the interface, features, and benefits of the platform without being hamstrung by firmware pushes, hardware updates, and the on-board memory limitations, Keller pointed out.
PS AUDIO’S POWER PLAY
PS Audio also is looking for ways to raise the remote power management bar with its PowerPlay IPC-9000, which when coupled with the company’s Webbased Globalnet monitoring services, offers several features that can help reduce truck rolls and client complaints.
According to PS Audio, the IPC-9000 will allow system reboot schedules to be set, can turn on and off outlets, and can send IR commands from the Globalnet site in response to an event. When combined with PS Audio’s UPS solution, the IPC-9000 also provides up to 10 outlets with battery protection, with full RS-232, IR and IP controls to ensure safe shutdown of connected devices should an extended power outage occur.
“There is no need to mess with static IPs or other networking headaches that plague other remote power managers,” Conway said. “Even the most complicated systems can be setup in less than 10 minutes through our Globalnet service.”
But, what really defines PowerPlay, Conway added, is the system’s ability to provide monitoring, reporting, and alerts, even if the Internet is down at the installation site.
APC’s S Type Power Conditioner with Battery Backup (S20BLK) has its own standout feature: an Environmental Monitoring Unit (EMU) that measures temperature and notifies the user of potential dangerous increases and that also initiates shut downs of connected equipment if certain thresholds are met.
SURGEX ENTERS IP SPACE
ESCs are always looking to enhance their service packages and remote power management certainly offers an opportunity to increase sales and referrals. This is one of the driving forces behind SurgeX’s first remote power management product, the iControl.
Customizable and able to handle remote turn on and power cycling of SurgeX’s Advance Series Mode Power Conditioners, the iControl is designed to monitor individual outlets and power settings, and offer several userdefined management e-mails. It also incorporates the company’s surge absorption, ICE, COUVS and Impedance Tolerant noise filtration technologies.
“With our monitoring software, the iControl can be set up to send the ESC an e-mail whenever a user-defined threshold has been met—say a prolonged undervoltage event,” SurgeX VP of sales Rick Komendera said. “With this information in hand, the integrator has a legitimate excuse to call the client to ensure the system is running as it should. This will not only result in more referrals for the integrator but will give that integrator the opportunity to bring up any new products/services they have since the client originally purchased their system.”
APC FOCUSES ON SAFETY ALERTS
APC’s S Type Power Conditioner with Battery Backup (S20BLK) has its own standout feature: an Environmental Monitoring Unit (EMU) that measures temperature and notifies the user of potential dangerous increases and that also initiates shut downs of connected equipment if certain thresholds are met. Noted as the first of its kind by senior product manager, Mark Kaloudis, the S20BLK also features a fully functional built-in Web server.
“This remote control can help avoid costly and time-consuming service calls because installers/users can use the Internet to remotely reboot hung equipment, adjust various unit parameters, initiate self-tests, and monitor changing unit and power conditions,” he said. “Further, installers can program their home automation networks to respond to the S20BLK’s built-in Environmental Monitoring Unit which measures ambient temperature and humidity.”
Tripp Lite’s PDUMH15ATNET power strip is designed to individually reboot products, send e-mail alerts, track load conditions, and monitor temperature and humidity.
TRIPP LITE’S ADDRESSABLE POWER STRIPS
Tripp Lite entered this growing category via its IP-addressable power strips (model PDUMH15ATNET), which can individually reboot products, send e-mail alerts, track load conditions, monitor temperature and humidity, and has programmable sequential power outlets to help prevent inrush related equipment interaction on start up.
“The reality is that IP manageability is not new, it’s been around for years,” said Dennis Mariasis, Tripp Lite’s AV brand manager. “What’s exciting and innovative is how the AV community is embracing the emergence of working IP into their system designs, finally realizing that the modem and router is the gateway to everyone’s system.”
TAPPING INTO THE GRID
From an ESC’s perspective, the ability to monitor and troubleshoot complex, expensive AV equipment without “rolling out a truck” is one of the most obvious benefits of remote power management. But as the industry moves deeper into the 21st century, the call for every single person on the planet to become greener is being sounded with more urgency. Most power management product manufacturers have already anticipated this fact, and their product selection reflects the inevitable sophistication and necessity of this evolving niche category.
As the U.S. moves to a smarter power grid, AV integration customers are going to become much more cognizant of their energy consumption, whether due to ecological consciousness or because of expected rate hikes and peak rate metering, Keller noted. “As the leaders in power management, we need to anticipate these changes and provide our clients with the solutions that their customers will demand,” he said.