Tech Trends: Power Play

Network-connected power supplies are a welcome newcomer to the IP table

Maintenance policies can be revised to change batteries based on performance degradation rather than time — saving both time and material costs. Performance-based criteria can lead to new preventive maintenance approaches. Coupled with new intelligent infrastructure products, information could be correlated to develop approaches to respond to disconnected power, disconnected switch ports and door alarms in communications rooms.

Certainly, these concepts can be extended into the world of IP devices. How do IP devices meet the UL requirements for battery back-up when power is provisioned by a PoE switch or mid-span injector? Although technically not required by the UL 2294 standard for access control, if power back-up is employed, should it not meet the four-hour UL requirement?

IP cameras have become smarter with the addition of embedded analytics, and they will become more so as analytics capabilities grow. If cameras are used to detect smoke, there is an argument that can be made for meeting UL 864 and 1481 fire standards. So follow the chain from IP camera to mid-span injector or PoE switch to UPS. Does the back-up system meet the associated 24-hour requirement?

Similarly, IP cameras with motion detection — powered the same way — might be called intrusion detection devices. Will they not be subject to UL603 and 1076 burglar alarm standards? Certainly food for thought. What is clear is that the ability to understand what is happening in the low-voltage network and to act preemptively or to respond quickly is attractive indeed.

Ray Coulombe is Founder of, the industry’s largest searchable database of specifiers in the physical security and ITS markets; and Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services. Ray can be reached at or through LinkedIn.