How are switchsocket innovations driving change in 2024? | MK Electric

How are switchsocket innovations driving change in 2024? | MK Electric

Amy Burley, Global Offering Manager at MK Electric, examines how switchsocket innovations are driving change in 2024.

Throughout the years, the switchsocket has constantly evolved with developments in technology and advancements in mechanical design. Nowadays, access to power for an array of devices is in high demand and time is of the essence for consumers and contractors alike: end users want convenient access to power, and contractors want to fulfil the customer’s needs as quickly and effectively as possible.

In addition, rising costs and environmental awareness are pushing organisations to streamline their energy management protocols and utilise modern technologies, from metering to Internet of Things (IoT), to better control of energy usage. This all makes for a perfect storm for innovation within socket technology.

Staying connected

Today, commercial building owners and operators are striving to meet tough sustainability and cost control objectives. Considering that the modern commercial property will have hundreds of plug-in devices, such as laptops, PCs, monitors, printers and even vending machines, it is no surprise that plug-in power can account for a quarter of a building’s entire energy usage.

The trend towards connectivity and IoT has gained pace in recent years as a way of better controlling energy use. With connected devices better able to manage equipment remotely, automate processes, and reduce power consumption, it’s vital that facilities managers turn towards these solutions if they want to reduce energy consumption and costs efficiently, with little to no downtime.

MK Electric launched Connected Power in 2023, which was developed to meet the evolving needs of commercial installs and to improve energy management. Comprising 2G smart switchsockets and connectivity hubs that connect to a building’s energy management system (BEMS), the Connected Power solution delivers device-to-device control, giving organisations powerful insight into their buildings’ energy consumption. It also provides the ability to remotely power down unused sockets, automate functions such as grouping sockets, and enables scheduling to better control out-of-hours power consumption.

This innovative solution comes at the perfect time for organisations looking to reduce their electricity usage. In 2024, technology that gives commercial organisations complete control over plug-in energy consumption will become even more popular, and advance further to incorporate cloud control. For electrical contractors, becoming familiar with these new technologies will open new opportunities and revenue streams amid the growing appetite for better energy monitoring solutions.

Installation evolution

From mobile phones and tablets to wireless headphones and other smart devices, there is an ever-growing portfolio of electronics that require charging – and quickly. USB outlets have become exceptionally popular in commercial properties, for example, as a way of enhancing consumer experience and, now, USB-A ports are giving way to the enhanced efficiency of USB-C.

In fact, last year the European Union announced USB-C ports as the universal standard for charging portable electronics, with the introduction of its common charging legislation with an objective of reducing e-waste. While manufacturers have until the tail end of 2024 to adapt, many have already started adjusting their designs.

Switchsockets are also adapting, with companies like MK Electric adding USB-A and USB-C fast charging ports to its popular wiring device ranges of switchsockets – enabling iPhones to charge up to 50% in 30 minutes. With brands adapting to incorporate the latest ports, electrical installers can fulfil the booming demand for USB-C with a high-quality product that ensures future-proofed safe and rapid charging.

Simultaneously, installation processes of electrical equipment have also evolved to become faster, easier, and safer. Behind the socket, screw termination can be time-consuming, especially when installing multiple. Each needs to be mindfully installed to prevent over- or under-tightening, which could lead to wasted time on call backs and fault-finding.

Today, companies have evolved, inspired by alternatives used in the lighting industry, with MK Electric developing Rapid Fix technology, utilising spring-loaded cable clamp terminations that meet the evolving requirements of BS 1363 for a safe, secure, and reliable connection.

Looking ahead

With various new technologies being developed, 2024 is set to be a year full of change for switchsockets. By being aware of and offering these innovations, installers can play a key role in helping to meet the changing needs of buildings and customers.

Visit the MK Electric Connected Power solutions product information page here

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