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IP-based Power Management Control

Mar 24, 2011 5:14 PM, By John Benz, marketing manager, Panamax/Furman

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The ability to access individual installed electronic components—either through a local area network or over the Internet—for direct function control or status/data monitoring is a growing trend, and the power management category is not being left behind. For installers, IP control and monitoring drastically reduces time-consuming service calls that cut into their bottom line, while allowing them to provide unprecedented levels of customer service to their clients.

What can IP-addressable power management do for you?

Most integrators are aware of the benefits of specifying power management into every installation. You know that sensitive and expensive AV components need to be protected from surges and spikes to ensure peak performance and maximize component longevity. What you might not know is that there are solutions available that can be integrated into a control system or networked to combine these benefits with remote control and monitoring.

The blending of power management and remote access seems a natural evolution when you consider the hard reboot, which consists of simply unplugging electronic equipment from the wall and then plugging it back in. In the installer’s troubleshooting bag of tricks, this simple act is still the most dependable problem solver, and it has the advantage of being a quick fix that takes little time or know-how to accomplish. However, it also has to physically be done—often meaning installers must be there in person.

One key benefit of remote control for power management devices is the ability to hard-reboot connected equipment remotely to instantly resolve lockups, bad device handshakes, and other issues from a computer or even a mobile phone, and thus eliminate the need for rolling a truck or sending a technician for a service call. In addition, reboots can be automated for modems and routers to allow outlets to automatically power-cycle when an Internet connection is lost.

Other benefits of power management solutions with remote access include scheduling commands for powering up and powering down equipment, in addition to the monitoring of incoming voltage in realtime or over history. Email alerts can also be issued when systems have lost power, or if power fluctuates outside of its safe range, allowing installers to address these issues immediately and ensure that their customers’ systems are functioning properly—often before the customers even know there’s an issue.

The end result is reduced service calls for the installer, and increased satisfaction for the client. Reducing service calls not only lowers the cost of labor and fuel, but it saves time that can be spent on other jobs. In fact, these kinds of technologies represent possible recurring revenue opportunities as integrators can add monitoring and remote access to service contracts.

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