Guide to Power Routing For Conference Room Management Tablets
First we'll discuss how enterprise IoT improves the way people work. Then we will focus on a foundational process every IT director must address; power routing. We'll explore power routing for enterprise IoT management in general.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
We are all familiar with the internet. In fact, you are probably using an internet-connected device to read this right now. In broad terms, any device that connects to the internet is a 'thing.' These include your smartphone, your laptop, and your tablet. The IoT of things, however, is a network of nonstandard 'smart' devices connected wirelessly. The devices work with software that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to make decisions more like humans. Early computers could perform complicated calculations in seconds. But they only did what they were programmed to do. Smart devices respond to changing conditions and execute their functions accordingly.
The emergence of the IoT is connected to broader social changes. Because we live connected lives, the line between work and personal life has been blurred. We answer emails while standing in line at the grocery store. We buy movie tickets online while working. The influence is bi-directional: technology shapes how we live. And how we live shapes technology.
The IoT in the Modern Workplace
The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving the design of smart buildings that change the way people perform their jobs. Smart devices help employees be more effective by working better together. In addition to the obvious benefit of increased productivity, collaboration increases employee engagement. This, in turn, drives innovation and business growth. It also helps companies attract and retain top talent in a tight labor market. Clearly, the quality of collaboration has a direct impact on the bottom line.
Redefining Enterprise Environments
Businesses are using new digital and physical tools to improve their operations. Emails and phone calls are being replaced by online hubs that support real-time communication. Employee self-service Human Resources apps are streamlining HR transactions. Workplace gamification is increasing productivity and improving the employee experience. Blockchain technology is moving beyond the financial sector to industries as diverse as automotive and agriculture.
Innovative office design is an integral part of this shift. The physical workspace configuration is just as important as the software or hardware infrastructure. Because the nature of work has changed so dramatically, the traditional office layout no longer works.
Agile working is an umbrella term for flexibility in when and where people work. Non-traditional schedules and offsite working are a part of this new landscape.
In a traditional enterprise setting, each employee has a designated work station. The departments are separated by function. In some sense, the physical layout reflects the hierarchical structure of the workforce.
Agile working turns this framework on its head. Traditional office design doesn’t support the way people work.
Hot-desking and activity-based working (ABW) are two types of agile working concepts. They are similar, though ABW is more structured. With hot-desking, an employee can choose any open desk to work from. Some companies have shared workspaces scattered through the building. Others have transitioned all stations to hot desks. Some firms, like Square, a San Francisco-based tech company, have gone all the way with a completely open floor plan.
With ABW, employees park their laptop in the area designated for the activity at hand. In both working styles, employees are expected to move throughout the office and interact with different teams. The theory is that 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' When people with diverse job roles interact, it inspires creativity and innovation. New connections spark new ideas. This may be the Holy Grail of collaboration.
No one who is fortunate enough to work in these environments misses the old cubicle farms.
The Employee Experience
A benefit of these new workplace dynamics is an improved employee experience (EX). The employee experience is often confused with employee engagement. However, EX takes an entirely different approach to improving work life. Engagement programs seek to persuade employees to buy into the company culture. It focuses on changing employee behavior. EX seeks to align the two by molding the enterprise identity to the employees. It focuses on changing the way the business operates to mesh with the lifestyle of the workforce.
Pushing The Boundaries of Enterprise Efficiency
What does 'enterprise efficiency' look like?
Successful businesses have expanded upon the lean manufacturing principles that originated decades ago in the automotive industry. These include:
- Eliminate redundancy and waste
- Automate processes
- Instill an improvement mindset
- Optimize human and non-human resources
- Define value from the perspective of the customer
When you add IoT to the enterprise ecosystem, the possibilities are endless. Businesses are investing in IoT because it has already proven its worth on a small scale. In a study of 700 enterprise executives conducted by Forbes and Intel, 94% reported expecting a 2019 profit boost of at least 5% to 15% as a result of IoT. It will be interesting to see if they meet these expectations as they work through the learning curve. The future belongs to the companies who leverage the technology and analytics most successfully.
Enterprise IoT Solution: Mounted Tablets For Conference Room Management
Meeting room booking software running on mounted tablets is one of the brilliant uses of a ubiquitous device to improve performance in enterprise. Advanced, visual conference room management improves efficiency company-wide as well as on the team or project level.
Powerbx is Leading The Enterprise IoT Industry
As was mentioned previously, this article is the first in a series of editorials that will discuss issues related to enterprise IoT, conference room management, and Powerbx client case studies that showcase our innovative solutions.
We will start with a foundational process every IT director must address; power routing. First we will discuss power routing for enterprise IoT management in general. Following that, we will turn our attention to power routing for mounted conference room tablets. Then we will address questions Powerbx clients ask about power routing to our products.
Power Routing In Enterprise Infrastructure
You can't unlock or leverage the value of any device if you can't supply electrical power to it. From an energy-hungry bitcoin mining ASIC to a simple temperature sensor, all devices need power. And though the number of ‘things’ in the Internet of Things will surpass the global population by 2020, there are still only three ways to power all these ‘things’: wired, battery, and wireless. Out of these three, wired power is still the main game in town.
Wired Power in Enterprise Infrastructure
When setting up an enterprise network or adding devices to an existing network, one of the first decisions is whether to use traditional wiring or Power over Ethernet cabling.
Traditional wiring is what most people are familiar with. Whether at home or at work, you plug a device into an outlet and flip the ON switch. Whether it's a blow dryer or a copy machine, you rely on the electrical system that remains behind-the-scenes (or, more accurately, walls and ceilings) to supply electricity to your equipment.
Power over Ethernet continues to gain popularity in Enterprise because it provides many advantages over conventional wiring.
What is Power Over Ethernet?
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a networking technology that allows an Ethernet cable to transmit power. In some configurations, the Ethernet cable also carries data.
Devices with PoE capability can be:
- Power sourcing equipment (PSE)
- Powered devices (PDs)
- In some cases, both
The History of PoE
The first enterprise PoE application was for VoIP technology. VoIP phone systems were created to combine both data and voice transmission. This innovation lowered expenses but early hardware required a power supply for each phone headset. This disadvantage spurred the invention of Power over Ethernet.
A variety of applications including IP cameras, lighting, HVAC controls, and wireless access points quickly followed suit.
PoE is standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is currently in its sixth version since its introduction in 2003. The latest, 802.3bt, was approved in September 2018. It supports 100W of power which is spread across all four pairs to limit data losses along the cable. Note that the standards are backwards compatible.
It’s a simple, efficient solution: one install, one cable, and uninterrupted DC power. Let's examine the benefits of PoE.
The Advantages of Power Over Ethernet
PoE is more economical to install and maintain. First off, businesses don't need to hire a licensed electrician to lay cabling and install AC outlets at each endpoint. In most places, PoE cabling is classified as IT wiring. Straightforward PoE installation is faster and requires less equipment. There is also savings because no conduit permits are needed. The cost is reduced even further when existing copper-wire cabling from legacy infrastructure can be reused.
It costs, on average, from $2000 to $3000 to hard wire a small (8-room) office space. In major metropolitan areas, this price can be double or triple.
Businesses that have delayed upgrading their legacy networks because of cost issues or limited IT resources often turn to PoE to meet their expansion needs.
A PoE network enables centralized management of PoE powered devices. This is useful for monitoring and troubleshooting when problems arise.
Compared to traditional wiring, PoE installation is quick and easy. No walls need to be opened. The relative simplicity of installation also prevents the potential problems inherent in traditional cabling scenarios.
Because a PoE system doesn’t require AC outlets, it allows for more flexible configurations. Network administrators can position powered devices based on convenience and esthetics and re-position easily when needs change.
PoE operates at low voltages which protects users. It also safeguards devices from overload or faulty installation.
PoE systems can be set up to supply backup power to the PoE switch, protecting devices in the case of a power outage.
IoT or ‘smart’ devices are compatible with PoE, but older technology is often incompatible. This includes legacy systems implemented prior to the introduction of Power over Ethernet. Devices in older legacy networks have a separate input for power and data. PoE injectors and PoE splitters can solve these problems in some systems.
PoE cables can be up to 100 meters (330 feet) long. The distance limit is due to the cables, not the power. A PoE Extender can increase this up to 4000 meters. While adequate for most enterprise settings, this is insufficient for multi-building complexes, shopping malls, and large-scale industrial applications. PoE is also not recommended for extreme temperatures.
It's not hard to see why PoE has become so common for wireless networks in enterprise spaces. Now that we've discussed the characteristics of PoE at a broad level, let's look at PoE as applied to Powerbx mounted tablets for conference room management.
Powerbx Power Routing Solutions
Powerbx Power Over Ethernet Converter
The standard Powerbx Power Over Ethernet converter provides power to any iOS or Samsung tablet. This device does not provide an internet connection. It is designed to be used with tablets that are connected to WiFi. The POE is IEEE802.3AF compliant, includes a RJ45 Connector input, a USB Connector output, input voltage 48VDC 802.AF, output voltage of 5V 2A.
Powerbx ICON Power Over Ethernet Converter
The ICON POE provides power to tablets mounted with the ICON LED enclosure. It connects to the tablet audio port to modulate LEDs through partner software. It does not provide data (internet connectivity).
Gigabit Power Over Ethernet (Manufactured by Redpark)
This adapter provides both power and a full gigabit of data (internet). It is designed for iOs devices NOT using a WiFi connection for internet. It is designed for iOS devices only.
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