Power over Ethernet (PoE) as the Backbone of Smart Buildings
Two factors have allowed for the viability of PoE as a backbone for smart buildings: improved energy efficiency of systems and devices, and improved PoE standards that can deliver more watts of power to those connected devices. For example, LED lighting is so energy efficient that UPOE products that provide 60W per port can power and control not just one light, but several commercial-grade light fixtures. PoE continues to improve in efficiency, with new standards allowing for up to 100W per port.
In addition to lighting, other devices such as sensors, security products, small appliances and more, have become increasingly efficient, allowing for more devices to be connected to PoE. Today, a smart building can be built and run nearly entirely on PoE. And where PoE isn't the best fit - for Bluetooth beaconing or wireless connectivity points - it can still connect to those devices and sensors to power and control the Bluetooth or WiFi connected devices.
Because PoE uses Internet Protocol (IP)-based communication, everything connected to it becomes a part of the Internet of Things (IoT). This simply means that those devices are now connected to the internet and capable of more than being simply on and off - they are now a data point. And Ethernet connected and its IP communication transfers more data inside of buildings globally than any other method.
As connecting historically static devices and systems - such as lighting, HVAC, security, and more - to the IoT becomes increasingly common and competitively necessary, it brings the total number of potential devices in the IoT cloud well into the billions. However, for smart lighting and other connected devices to become a reality, they need a universal ability to speak with each other. That is exactly what Igor's smart building platform, Nexos, was designed to do.
PoE, the right protocol at the right time
Developing a connective, agile platform that an IoT-enabled smart building can operate on has been the biggest challenge to the adoption of smart building technology. Current solutions in the marketplace lock data in silos, require duplicated software development, and prevent applications from easily interacting. Today, Igor’s Nexos platform uses the structured reliability, security, and power of Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology to bring the IoT agile smart building into reality.
How does PoE work?
PoE refers to the use of the same wires that are part of a structured IT network for the delivery of electrical power. This enables a single cable to provide both a data connection and electrical power to PoE devices, such as wireless access points and lighting, PoE adapters, PoE switches and PoE ports, phone systems, PoE cameras and LED lighting. Connecting smart LED lighting/sensor hubs to the LAN delivers valuable future-proofing by enabling the installed LED hubs to quickly support and take advantage of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) without additional, expensive retrofitting replacement requirements.
Benefits of Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Beyond any considerations of cost and efficiency, light fixtures powered by PoE can be paired with sensors, wireless communication modules, and embedded processors in smart hubs. With a PoE smart building platform like Nexos, building designers can capture the benefits of a structured cable system while still layering on Bluetooth, beaconing , and Zigbee systems. With Nexos, everything connects in one system for a streamlined experience.
For electrical contractors, this technology offers a wealth of opportunities to streamline building automation, enhance building efficiency and provide value-added expertise and services. PoE technologies and PoE devices are delivering cost savings, easy installation, and enhanced flexibility to projects of all sizes.
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