CES, the world’s largest consumer technology show, set new records again this year with more than 4,000 companies exhibiting tens of thousands of products to more than 180,000 industry professionals. What a shock it was when on Wednesday a good portion of the Las Vegas show’s 2.6 million square feet of conference center floor space went black as a result of an unanticipated power outage. The situation very quickly became a test of the ability of backup power systems, emergency lighting systems and of the battery life of the tens of thousands of gadgets that were on display. Higher than usual quantities of moisture apparently caused a transformer to fail resulting in lost power for large sections of the conference center floor.
Such an incident serves as a reminder that, even under the most planned and organized of circumstances, surprises can occur that lead to disruptions for both businesses and homeowners.
One exhibition space that was well equipped to manage any power anomaly situation was the APC by Schneider Electric booth whose display, ironically, consisted of the popular line of home Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS). These are devices equipped with batteries and high intelligence that offer protection from lightning surges, power sags, swells and blackouts, and that safeguard investments in all manner of smart electronic devices as well as computing and networking equipment. The battery inside provides runtime. When the electrical supply to a home is cut off, the user stays connected as the battery continues to supply the attached power load.
Power: The common thread that allows all of the snazzy gadgets to run
The show was filled with new, innovative products that serve as a tribute to the amazing diversity of human creativity. Consider, for example the 64-inch TV screen that rolls up like a newspaper, the 3D facial recognition scanning devices, or the battery-operated wearable devices that track how much ultraviolet (UV) sunlight your skin is being exposed to. Then there are the smart showers that allow users to control water flow and temperature from mobile devices (in some cases by voice), and the “connected fridge” that creates shopping lists, orders food, and lets you see inside the refrigerator without having to open it.
All these innovative gadgets share one element in common: the need for a clean, and stable supply of power in order to function. Whether the challenge is to keep smart home devices running or wearable technologies charged up, the ability to secure a safe and reliable power supply continues to grow in importance.
It was evident at the show that APC by Schneider Electric was aware of the role that its products play in assuring a high level of Certainty in a Connected World. The ability of UPS devices to recharge batteries or to power modems and routers in homes and home offices has increased as these devices have become more powerful, and more connected.
One UPS in particular, the APC BGE50ML Back-UPS Connect, combines power access with mobility. A removeable 9-ounce lithium ion battery has enough power stored inside it to fully charge a completely dead cell phone 5 times in a row (before the battery itself needs recharging). The portable lithium-ion battery inside the unit helps make the UPS much lighter (less than 2 pounds with battery) than a typical UPS (which can weigh in between 30 and 60 pounds). With a power load capacity of 50 watts, the unit is ideally suited for protecting modems and routers and charging mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones when the power to your home is cut off.