Powering the IoT: Preparing for the Technology Revolution
There’s a technology revolution coming our way that will alter the use of electricity as we know it. It has the potential to disrupt the construction, remodel, retrofit and installation industries. In particular, it will change the game for security companies — not only with their product offerings, but also installation processes and services.
Electricity became mainstream during the early 1900s and dramatically changed everyday life. Food could be kept cold with an electric refrigerator, cooking was easy with an electric stove and homes and offices were warm without extra work hauling wood and constantly stoking a stove or fireplace. These are all things we now expect and won’t live without.
What’s the next revolution? Electricity re-invented with solid-state conversion from AC to DC and software control of electricity. With ubiquitous connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT), and so many low voltage devices invading everyday life, power supplies are everywhere. Imagine DC power available anywhere there’s AC power and the power conversion requiring only 20 percent of the physical space of existing transformers — and the ability to be housed inside an AC single gang box. Every outlet, light switch, circuit breaker and appliance will be connected and communicating in real time, providing insights into energy usage and situational data beyond what is currently provided by individually installed IoT devices. This robust IoT ecosystem can provide the immense amounts of data needed for advanced artificial intelligence analysis.
In the future, not only can the electricity infrastructure deliver the AC voltage required to run standard electrical devices; it will also offer conversion to low-level DC power at every electrical device and endpoint, including outlets, light switches, appliances, circuit breakers and even the power cord. Newly patented technologies by Amber Solutions (www.ambersi.com) provide a tiny solid-state device for power management and control solutions that may be licensed to well-known electrical product manufacturers. Features and sensors such as temperature, humidity, energy metering and dimming can readily be included in single-gang boxes. This creates a wider array of information gathering devices throughout a building. The number of sensors grows exponentially; going from today’s 10-25 specific devices installed, to 200-300 sensors and control points in an average home. All of them can communicate in real-time without additional planning, wiring or installation, and can contribute to enhanced safety and digital intelligence.
There’s time to think about the changes coming, explore emerging opportunities and prepare. Products will likely start to appear in 2021. With a long and gradual learning curve, the journey to reach awareness and early adoption will take time, probably years. As this next revolution gains awareness, movement along the gradual incline of the adoption curve will happen and the world will recognize the possibilities. Once it catches on, momentum will increase and the curve will rapidly climb.
Why is it important to you? This pending revolution doesn’t impact your business today, but it will in the future — how you think about it and prepare will impact your destiny. Understanding what’s coming always helps to create a better future. With knowledge of this transformational infrastructure in buildings, security businesses’ product sourcing and offerings will change. Time in the field will be much more productive allowing for more installs and growth, along with new focus on monitoring, managing and analyzing building activities through software, resulting in increased value to your customers.