Moving Power to Smart, Networked Devices

LifeSafety Power President and CEO Larry Ye discusses product features and functionality that propel power supplies from a static product category to dynamic networking devices.

LifeSafety Power, based in in Mundelein, Ill., was founded in 2009 and released its flagship product in 2010. Since then, the company has been the recipient of five major industry awards, including a 2014 Security Industry Association New Product Showcase accolade and recognition as one of SSI‘s Top 30 Technology Innovations. The company’s president and CEO, Larry Ye, joins the conversation to discuss product features and functionality that propel power supplies from a static product category to dynamic networking devices.

What are some new directions we’re seeing in power supplies for access control, video, fire systems and mass notification?

Power supplies have changed immensely over the years. No longer are they relegated to the category of static hardware devices with no possibility of recurring monthly revenue [RMR]. Now, like most products in the security industry, power solutions have transitioned to the network, bringing with them many advantages. Today they’ve transformed into an exciting product category that benefits both the integrator and the end user.

For the integrator, power supplies bring value to their business and the end user’s specification with the ability to remotely assess the current and ongoing health and viability of power solutions for every customer, from small to medium businesses to enterprise and national accounts. This allows the integrator to garner additional streams of RMR by providing regular health checks and status reports to the end user on a daily, weekly or other basis determined by their needs and the nature of the protected premises. In addition, because the health and well-being of power can be assessed proactively, they bring a higher level of reliability and guarantee of system uptime to the user, increasing their return on investment and even lowering the total cost of ownership of connected devices across the network.

How have refinements and new technologies in power supplies fostered change?

Several years ago, LifeSafety Power brought computer and network interfacing to power supplies and that signaled the beginning of innovation that would alter the category from simple hardware devices, setting the stage for Web-reporting capabilities. Ongoing firmware and software changes also continued to move the category onto the network with detailed reporting, yielding the ability to seamlessly program and log key power supply features and data. It was only the beginning of the power supply’s intelligence revolution and the move to smarter power solutions. Now, patented remote monitoring communications modules have taken the product category further into the future.

In addition, battery monitoring is a relatively new capability that assists both integrator and end user, providing a continuous monitoring process of the battery voltage, charge or discharge current, and state of charge [SoC] of the battery set. The battery voltage, current, and SoC can be displayed in numerical or graphics form and also obtained as an on-demand or scheduled report. Battery testing too has progressed, adding system reliability across the enterprise. Now capabilities exist to run a manual or scheduled test on the battery set to ascertain standby capability using the actual system configuration as a load.

How are innovations in power solutions benefitting the integrator community?

Remote communication capabilities provide the installer the ability to obtain even more information from installed power solutions. It also brings much-needed RMR at a time when hardware margins continue to dwindle – now RMR can be generated through well-checks, tasks and detailed system status reports delivered to the end user. In addition, integrators can remotely access networked power solutions for on-the-fly information, eliminating many tasks formerly associated with a costly truck roll and onsite visit.

For the enterprise-level customer it can be more difficult, yet equally critical, to ascertain power supply status 24/7 across geographically dispersed sites. Now, smart, network-based appliances securely and proactively manage power across vast customer landscapes. Using both hardware and software innovation, integrators and end users can securely interface with multiple power supplies and systems solutions, displaying information collected on one single computer screen from multiple devices. All the information is correlated at one place ― accessible via the Web or directly at the protected premises.

What can we expect to see in the future?

The entire landscape of security solutions contracting has changed. Devices have to be smart and provide the kind of information end users need to keep their security and life-safety systems in top operating condition. Power supplies need to be flexible in their configuration, modular and nonproprietary.

Integrators need to step more fully into the realm of service provider and look for products that have the kind of communications capabilities that drive ROI and RMR, while providing the most consistent and reliable uptime for all their vertical market customers. The category of power supplies has become exciting, and we’re focused on continued innovation and providing the best quality products to meet the needs of all our channel partners and each of their customers.

About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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