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To Surge and Protect

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Get Into Power Management With Remote Monitoring Alerts and Energy Management Standards

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Lowell Manufacturing’s ACSPR-RPC1-2009K 20A AC power panel features remote control, advance surge support, VTE (auto-reset over under voltage), and keyswitch.Undoubtedly one of the sexiest elements of AV installation, surge protection and power management is a necessary component to any project, yet it is often the first element the client will try relegating to the chopping block. Keeping a pulse on the surge protection industry takes more than knowing the latest products and trends. It’s also about monitoring outside forces that impact how integrators can sell and make money from the category. SCN chose to ask manufacturers two completely different questions on the subject in an attempt to dig into the different ways integrators should be adapting to outside business forces. Here’s what they had to say.

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SurgeX’s Axess Ready is an IP enabled line of surge eliminators.How has the addition of remote monitoring and custom alerts changed the way installers can make money from power management?

They’re a game-changer in the power management category. Integrated systems are built upon a power and networking infrastructure at their most fundamental level. Monitoring these systems allows installers to be proactive against events that could marginalize performance or introduce downtime. Even more powerful is augmenting monitoring with outlet control, which enables installers to take immediate action if needed by hard-rebooting problem components remotely. At the end of the day, installers make money on minimizing downtime and service calls. Protection and filtration provide these benefits, but remote power monitoring, alerts, and control are very tangible ways of creating value through implementation.
—John Benz, Director of Power and Accessories, Core Brands

Power management components with remote monitoring and alert capability have existed for years in the IT market. They are now becoming more noticeable in the AV world as a result of moves toward energy conservation, evidenced by the InfoComm standard. Integrators can benefit from this development if they have larger clients who can support the greater investment in equipment and the higher overhead cost of the monitoring, reporting, and management processes called for in the standard.
—Peter Cook, Vice President, Juice Goose

The addition of remote monitoring and associated alerts where applicable has expanded the opportunity for systems integrators to make hardware and software sales with associated installation revenue. For contractors and systems integrators who are not providing this service, this could be a new opportunity to expand their business while offering their customers added value. There is also potential for additional service contract sales with an increased net margin structure.
—Jeff Garstick, National Sales Manager, Lowell Manufacturing Company

Making money requires adding value for customers, such as increased reliability or tailoring service levels to their needs. Newer offerings incorporating active site management provide this extra value by extending equipment life and system reliability, and reducing overall cost. Automatic action is taken when necessary, preventing potential problems. Custom alerts notify integrators that the installed power management solution has already taken steps to rectify the issue. With these benefits, and the ability to log events, integrators can demonstrate the value of these enhanced capabilities—adding profitable equipment to their systems, but more importantly, ensuring the reliability of their installations.
—Mark Tracy, Director of Product and Business Development, Middle Atlantic Products

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Furman’s F1500-UPS uninterruptible power supply.Remote monitoring and control of power allows installers to create service plans that generate recurring monthly revenue and provide clients with an additional layer of support in the event of a catastrophic surge or even a simple lock-up.

Many times a simple re-boot is all that’s needed. In this case, the installer gets an immediate text or email and can assess the problem quickly and take decisive action to remedy, often without a truck roll and before the customer even knows it’s down.
—Shannon Townley, President, SurgeX & Energy Intelligence Solution Sales

How have InfoComm’s new energy management standards affected surge protection and power management?

InfoComm’s new standards really complement programs like LEED and give AV integrators actionable ways of providing efficiency to their clients. While power management is often thought of as surge protection, there is much more to its proper design and specification into an AV system. Surge protection indirectly promotes efficiency by eliminating potential failures and replacements, but the new standards really focus on smarter system design and automation to reduce waste. The impact is beneficial for both the environment and the client’s utility bills. Integrators who are well versed on energy management are much better prepared to win a bid.
—John Benz, Director of Power and Accessories, Core Brands

Adherence to the InfoComm power management standard requires a thorough process of planning, monitoring, and documentation. To fully comply, the cost of the technology is only a part of the total power management cost of an installation. Facilities with relatively large power consumption can achieve positive ROI from full compliance. Fortunately, even smaller installations can save power costs by using economical power sequencing and remote turn off equipment that conveniently turns off AV components when not in use. Compliance with the standard carries a large cost in hardware and organizational overhead. That may create opportunities for installers with larger clients who have large power reduction opportunities to offset the investment. But, below that, not much has changed for the mid- to small-sized venues and the integrators who service them.
—Peter Cook, Vice President, Juice Goose

It would be difficult to argue that minimizing energy consumption and its associated negative environmental effects is a bad thing. The effort put forth by any organization to create a set of “standards” to reduce energy consumption is praiseworthy. Sustainability and green initiatives help ensure the long-term stability of our industry and our planet.
—Jeff Garstick, National Sales Manager, Lowell Manufacturing Company

InfoComm’s energy management standard further justifies the necessity of more advanced power management options. It reinforces the vital role they play in ensuring power-efficient AV systems, and will affect each manufacturer’s approach to incorporating all the measurements identified by the standard. There are offerings available that already meet all the recommendations of the standard while providing monitoring, control, and in some cases, even surge protection within one product. Surge protection, while not expressly outlined within the standard, has long been a critical piece of any installation—monitoring and managing it is a logical extension of the best practices the standard was created to encourage.
—Mark Tracy, Director of Product and Business Development, Middle Atlantic Products

The new InfoComm standards require integrators to take a hard look at their power. Automation platforms have been the go-to solution for energy management and are an integral part of any system’s energy intelligence plan. However, that is just one step in ensuring maximum efficiency. To get to the root of the problem, an understanding of the system’s power is needed, and integrators are now being challenged to do just that. Surge and power management products enable integrators to get to the root of the issue and recognize why certain products are using more power and derive a solution to fix the problem. You are seeing more power companies, like us, work hand in hand with automation manufacturers to bridge the gap between the two facets of energy management and offer a complete energy intelligence solution to protect, manage, and monitor a system.
—Shannon Townley, President, SurgeX & Energy Intelligence Solution Sales

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