When your AV installer asks you if you are interested in network power management, learn more about this exciting new technology before you dismiss it.
First, to help you understand what this technology is, network, or IP power management in simple terms, is the ability to locally and remotely monitor, control and schedule your power outlets to turn on and off. Some of these components have available phone or tablet apps, some allow for a web interface, and some allow all of these control methods. In addition, many of these can be integrated into a third party control system, increasing your possibilities and ease of use. These units, which also employ surge and power filtration, come in all different sizes and styles. Many resemble typical rack mountable surge protectors with LCD display readouts. When adding the network feature, they become powerful power management tools.
Why would you need one? After all, power protection and line conditioning is an expensive proposition as it is. There are many features and advantages to owning one of these. First, and foremost, you are protecting your system from spikes and other electrical disturbances that can disrupt or damage your equipment. With power filtration, your equipment will perform better and last longer by providing a consistent power flow to the underlying components. Second, they are incredible energy savers. I have a client who lives in New York City and is in Brazil most of the year. He can power his system by scheduling most of the outlets to turn on for an hour a day, just to insure firmware is updated, and integrity of the system is maintained. Equipment that consumes outlet power, also known as vampire power, is off for 23 of 24 hours a day, saving energy. Another client only wants his children to access the game systems for a certain time of day and the system will not power on during other times. You can schedule outlets to turn on or off and adjust schedules based on the day of week.
Another great feature is the automatic processing it can do. For example, since the unit is connected to the internet it can detect when there is no internet signal by pinging IP addresses or websites of your choice. If it determines there is no network connection to the Internet, it will perform a power sequence of outlets that you can specify with delays and number of tries. So if there is no Internet, it will reboot the modem, wait 5 minutes, reboot the router, wait 3 minutes and reboot the access points. That feature is effective for catching problems as soon as they happen.
Since these units normally have a web interface, or app for phone and tablets, they allow you to control your outlets remotely. They also integrate these features into third party control systems in most cases so that your Crestron, RTI, Savant or Control 4 system can reboot outlets as well. This comes in handy when some of the underlying components act up by crashing or freezing. Cable boxes are the main culprits for this type of situation.
With these apps, control system and web interfaces you can easily see what outlets are on, off or alerts that are caused by irregular voltage, wattage or other abnormalities that are related to the power. It can be configured to email or text you when all or any of the outlets are off, or if any of the voltage or wattage levels are abnormal. This can alert you to a power outage or problem with the circuit breaker. The safety of your family, home and equipment is an important part of what makes network power management worthwhile. There are many great companies and technologies that currently exist, and they keep getting better. Ask your AV technology expert to go over each of them with you and decide what best suits your needs. Network power management in an integral part of smart home technology and is here to stay!
Total Control Remotes LLC