In this article the experts at BG Electrical look at the evolution of the standard socket and why, as a company, it has been right at the forefront of change.
When we look back at the early days of electricity in Britain (or ‘electrification’ as it was known), it’s incredible to think how far this country has come in terms of how it views the humble socket and its role in our homes.
The simple socket began as a luxury utility which has changed dramatically over the years and has now become an essential item to most homes. It began with major cities or manufacturing hubs, such as London, Birmingham and Manchester, building their own power stations to support that city or region’s manufacturing. With the factories and plants churning out goods, generating wealth, it allowed electricity to become a domestic luxury and, eventually, a necessity.
Each power plant would develop its own plugs and sockets. In those days you weren’t hampered by regulations so if it worked and served its purpose, this was good enough. It wasn’t until 1934 when British sockets then became unified under one standardised system.
So, what’s the future?
At British General (BG), we can see the role of the socket adapting to the latest technological revolution which is changing households, and we’re proud to have played our small part in the history and the evolution of the socket.
A few decades ago, the idea of one family sharing a computer was the exception rather than the norm. Now, everyone has a computer in their pocket. Through computers and mobile devices, people have better access to information and are more connected than ever.
Seeing these changes in British households and trends in technology, BG sought to develop and produce a product which was tailored for a family’s vital appliances, while helping keep them connected. As a result, the USB socket was born.
How does the USB socket work?
Starting with a 35mm backbox with two USB outlets providing a 2.1A charge, we found a demand in British households for better charging. Freeing up an outlet by providing two USB charging ports, it was an instant hit. Seeing this response from the market, we’ve continually built on our USB socket range and adapted it over time to better serve our customers.
Nowadays we’ve compressed and packed our new models into a 25mm backbox for easier retrofitting and these are available in a variety of finishes to seamlessly integrate into the home. With the option of single and double sockets, BG now offers up to four USB charging ports with these outlets as consumers further embrace tablets and mobile devices.
The range development has also had to keep up with modern technology. When we first launched our USB sockets, a 2.1A would be a sufficient charge. With phones and tablets becoming more powerful, however, we’ve upped our charging power to a 3.1A and 4.2A charge to keep up with these changing times.
In more recent times another BG Electrical innovation was introduced in the form of the new Wi-Fi Range Extender Socket, which also features USB charging points. These product ranges seamlessly incorporate the reliable charge of a conventional plug socket with two useful USB features for the modern home.
Using ‘Smart USB’ charging technology, it recognises the device connected and adapts the charge pattern to ensure compatibility. Its smart electronics monitor the load and will automatically shut down in an overload condition, preventing the risk of damage to the connected device.
This development in the socket found a gap in both the marketplace and regulations which then caused the BS1363-2 standard to be updated to include USB sockets.
One of the real USPs of the Wi-Fi Range Extender Socket is that it’s designed to eliminate patchy Wi-Fi zones in the home or property. This device can extend a Wi-Fi router’s range by 300Mbps or up to 30m, is easily integrated into everyday wireless routers, and allows simple installation and replacement of an existing socket.
The next generation
With the changes and developments we’ve already seen in the last decade alone, it’s very possible that we may not recognise the next reincarnation of the socket when it comes. A new device or product can change everything – it may demand greater integration into the British home or require its own unique power supply.
With the rise of intelligent personal assistants and home automation, we can see more opportunities for outlets to greater support and improve the lives of households in the future. Either way, we’re confident that BG Electrical will be at the forefront with a product to meet your needs.
For more information about the Wi-Fi Range Extender Socket from BG Electrical visit: www.bgelectrical.uk/wifi