4 major technological developments in power management

A low voltage power supply is located behind every video, access control, intrusion and fire system. Here are the major technology developments in power management and their impact on system integrators.

There’s a lot new with power, and continuous improvement in the product category delivers updates that benefit both the installer and the end user. From managed power services to time and labor savings to the largest enclosures to date, integrators can now take advantage of these and other upgrades in their power control installations. access, fire, video surveillance, security and protection of people.

Much of what we do every day at home and in the office depends on reliable power and guaranteed availability of connected systems. For system integrators providing physical security and integrated solutions, the state of power is even more critical: protecting lives, people, property and infrastructure.

Not so long ago, the technical box that houses the power supply and the access control components were just a static piece of hardware and often three separate boxes were needed for the system power supply, lock power supply and access control modules. In the interest of simplifying installation processes, a recent trend has seen one enclosure handle all of this.

These modular enclosures provide streamlined electrical and mechanical integration of power, locks and access panel hardware. These unified systems build a high level of integration between a power system and an access control solution. Today’s power systems can not only integrate three enclosures into one, some are also available pre-wired and ready to install, with quick-connect terminal blocks pre-wired directly to the latest access control hardware.

Other changes to energy technology include new intelligence, networking, and history data. Here’s a look at the four most important category changes and how they impact systems integrators.

Managed power is coming

The ability to provide remote services and proactive monitoring was a breakthrough in power. In addition to the field benefits of managed power, it provides the opportunity to generate recurring monthly revenue (RMR) from proactive notifications, data and reporting, while the customer enjoys better uptime and can proactively avoid potential issues.

Modern power solutions now predict battery status, exact remaining standby time and also prevent possible downtime through constant analytics on device status.

  • Managed Food Services can encompass a number of physical elements, including the main power supply, power system outlets, locks, access control modules, and backup batteries.
  • Managed monitoring covers event reporting, AC power loss notification, service reminders, impending lock failure, low battery warning, low battery standby and more. During the pandemic, being able to access, manage and control systems remotely provided continuity of service when buildings were closed or inaccessible.
  • Remote maintenance Power solutions capabilities offer output supervision, remote scheduled battery load testing, remote power cycling, and system health logs/crash alerts.

Continuous power system monitoring also creates custom action alerts and reports for system maintenance and management. Alert formats include email, XML, or Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). For example, a short circuit or a built-in lock that draws more or less power than it should is an indication that it is starting to fail. In this condition, an email alert or SNMP trap (notification) can be automatically sent to the integrator or end user, alerting of a potential problem before it occurs.

Accessed through an intuitive web browser interface, the latest remote monitoring and control features increase power system return on investment, maximize system uptime and reduce maintenance costs. For the end user, monitored power means moving to a more comprehensive proactive network. It provides a lower total cost of ownership coupled with payload data that ultimately keeps system solutions running smoothly.

Today’s modular enclosures offer streamlined electrical and mechanical integration of power, locks, and access panel hardware.

Access control integration

Managed power can also be integrated directly into industry-leading access control management software, streamlining administration and control of connected solutions. Direct native integrations to access control and security management software platforms include Mercury, Genetec Security Center, OnGuard for Lenel S2 and C•CURE 9000 from Software House by Tyco.

With an integrated system, power management is available natively and comes from the access control system interface. Users can easily add devices to the software platform so real-time alerts appear right in the interface. Users get detailed health and viability data for power, smart locks, and other devices in one place for easy management and control.

Besides, users can centrally receive and manage all alerts and notifications through the software, which relays real-time data and analytics on the health and viability of the door controller power supply, lock power supply, and battery status.

Save time and support for the installer

Visual voltage indicators on all boards tell the security technician the output voltage power boards and each distributed output. This advancement eliminates the need for system installers or facility technicians to measure each individual outlet with a voltmeter to confirm its setting, saving considerable time and labor on a multi-building campus. .

Bi-color green (12V) and blue (24V) LEDs provide instant visual verification of proper voltages, streamlining installations and preventing damage to sensitive and expensive access control components. Optional RS-485 capability allows installation of larger managed power systems with less network dropouts for networked managed power systems.

PoE possibilities

Power over Ethernet (PoE) eliminates the need for high voltage wiring and potentially an electrician. LifeSafety Power has responded to the growing demand for remote power activation in a range of access control and other applications with its new line of BiTSTREAM power systems. BiTSTREAM PoE allows an installer to power the access control system exclusively through PoE power, eliminating the need for field wiring and AC power drops. A unique UL-listed Fire over Ethernet (FoE) feature allows output to fire alarms through a single centralized fire alarm connection.

Midspan injectors and switches deliver power and data over a single Ethernet cable to PoE-enabled devices, such as IP cameras, door locks, IR illuminators, and other access control peripheral devices. A dedicated, centralized battery reduces backup demand for the rack and enables backup of the entire system from a single set of batteries.

PoE splitters convert PoE power to 12 and 24 VDC to power smart devices such as access controllers, locks and readers. Fire alarm control can be local or centralized via FoE.

These devices comply with the IEEE 802.bt High Power PoE standard for up to 90 watts per port (500 watts total) of power delivery. Installers can use a single mid-span injector to remotely power locks to control doors or other devices instead of hard-wiring to each location. They can also be fully managed by the network, allowing monitoring of voltage, current and power by zone and other specificities.

Additional data points such as AC input voltage and main output current on the power supply and output cycle count give a complete view of overall system health. Refinements such as the integrated low battery disconnect and battery current sensor promote cleaner installations.

The ground wires on the enclosure doors are designed with push-in connections, so no tools are required to remove the door. These design changes may seem small, but the savings add up when it comes to streamlining cabling, labor, maintenance, and standardization in a massive installation or enterprise setting.

More doors? No problem

Some of the largest enclosures in the industry are now available to expand access control footprints and enterprise applications that consist of large numbers of connected doors or other components. These spacious cabinets offer the benefits of a unified power supply and Accommodate more access control cards, power supplies, and managed outputs in a single unit for hardware and deployment savings.

Enclosures accommodate up to 750 watts of power to allow complete management of locking hardware, access control cards and ancillary devices and are available in configurations to integrate genuine Mercury systems up to 24 doors or Software House controllers with up to 32 doors.

The need for energy will only increase as systems become more interconnected and interdependent. Any system downtime can result in irreversible loss of assets, business continuity, reputation and customers. The entire power profile has changed and system integrators can take advantage of this evolution to deliver greater system value and intelligent power networking.


Matt Virga is Vice President of Sales for LifeSafety Power.

Alan A. Seibert