Access Floors: The Intersection Between Ethernet and Smart Building Design

According to Intel, the global value of IoT technology is climbing toward a possible $6.2 trillion by 2025. While smart building advancement is occurring in manufacturing and healthcare, the trend is booming across all verticals. There’s a lot of money flowing down the pipeline and supporting new development and innovation in building design. One reason this smart building design is rising so quickly is Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. Low power devices (PD) are now reaching 90W. Aided by advancements such as access floors, they are also easy to install and cost-effective to run, and as they continue to gain popularity, they are also growing in sophistication.

A Closer View of the 90W Breakthrough

Power delivery has reached this 90W threshold thanks to a new type of integrated circuit (IC) that semiconductor companies, like Silicon Labs, are beginning to release. These ICs offer new levels of autonomous functionality and do not require firmware upgrades or programming. This leaves more room inside of power sourcing equipment (PSE) such as switches, hubs, and injectors and lowers internal PSE power consumption.

Newfound internal PSE real estate sets the stage for further intelligent design in next-generation smart building technology. Growth is going beyond the scope of automation and is now moving into a concept-driven experience design. Smart buildings within the context of smart cities require new build innovations while mitigating the investment of legacy systems already installed.

What’s going on behind the scenes is exciting. The next logical question is, what is all of this streamlined engineering making available to building inhabitants?

The Expanding Portfolio of 90W PDs

There is a growing ecosystem of touchpoint technologies emerging from the vapor that is helping health workers and manufacturing companies do their jobs in subtle but important ways. These technologies, though far from the world depicted in the 1960s cartoon The Jetsons, are definitely a step in that direction.

USB Type C Dongles

These devices connect through a USB on one end and HDMI on the other. They make it available to access screens from phones or laptops to PoE display screens in 4K. These devices are useful when a connection to an enterprise system is not available for security reasons.

Thin Client Touch Screens

In agile environments where agile workspace design is implemented, these workstations allow employees to access their accounts through the intranet. Having no fixed desks is one of the top considerations for a sustainable working environment. It enables smart buildings to conform to the needs of workers in the moment. It’s at the heartbeat of the agile workspace.

CBRS Private LTE

Citizens Broadband Radio is a service that increases broadband coverage and is allowing companies to implement private LTE services. These appear heavily in areas where learning and communication help enterprise and higher education end users educate people.

UHD IP Cameras

Ultra High Definition (UHD) IP cameras provide up to 4K resolution real-time and recorded footage over an IP camera. The ultra-high-resolution capabilities allow organizations both public and private, to monitor activities both indoors and out. These are critical anywhere intellectual property, private or public health and safety must be protected. Ultra high resolution, combined with proper lighting, provides the fine imaging required in facial identification.

Biometric Door Locks

Using a combination of PIN and personal biometric information, such as a fingerprint, organizations can limit access to restricted areas while assigning security levels throughout buildings. This technology ties security management directly to individuals and provides transparency for activities within an organization.

Environmental Sensor Hubs

A technology that works in conjunction with IP rating protocols to provide alerts and levels of environmental contaminants that can potentially jeopardize the well-being of people and assets. Sensors track levels of humidity, water, smoke and airborne pollutants like dust that can damage or impede the functioning of and damage electronic equipment.

Status Signs

Appearing in public places—like roads, transit stations, airports, motor vehicle departments or courthouses—status signs communicate important updates without disrupting traffic. They have become essential where large numbers of people, such as travelers, hospital visitors, college students, sporting event attendees, and a broad array of other people, need to quickly access essential information.

Alert Systems

These systems communicate information to occupants in areas like hospitals, manufacturing floors, or industrial settings. PoE provides the capability to install remote speakers and sirens over large campuses.

PoE Door Access Controllers

These ISO 9001 systems provide access to buildings through electronic or electromagnetic locking devices and may open with USB card readers. When used in conjunction with security cameras, door access controllers offer preventative controls to secondary access points within buildings. Since cards tie to specific associates, they allow security teams quick access to employee lists, and in the event of an emergency, the ability to check who has safely evacuated the structure.

Media Converters

A media converter is a transceiver that converts fiber optic signals into electrical. That’s important because a high percentage of the last mile technologies in commercial structures are Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices.

Smart PoE LED Lighting Systems

LED Smart Lighting is now moving into a phase where infrastructure is supporting bright lighting. Previously, facilities had to rely on traditional AC wiring to power these systems, IEEE 802.3bt is changing the upper thresholds of power delivery. The 90W capability of this new PoE LED lighting architecture delivers more power per port with less waste. It is an upgrade from the previous 60W standard, and because of the reduction in minimum standby power (needed when the lights are off), it is saving a substantial amount of money over time. Prior standards allow 200 mW, while the smart system allows 20 mW.

Access Floors Bring PoE and the Smart Building Together

PoE delivers power and data over a single cable, making it ultra-easy to install without the need for an electrician to source power. The average cost for installing a hardwired computer network for four rooms, with Cat6 and Cat6A installation, without pre-wiring, costs approximately $2,500. That’s just for labor. It seems a shame to throw away all of the cost-saving benefits of PoE only and these new 90W PoE PDs just to pay handily to open up walls, ceilings, or to waste money on traditional raised flooring to have cabling installed.

Raised access floors promote agility and allows the building to work for the inhabitants and not the other way around. Efficient work environments have the potential to adapt to the needs of workers quickly. Having a cable management system in place optimizes that flexible, concept-driven design while eliminating unnecessary budget hits.

Gridd® Access Floors Simplify the Adaptive Process

The optimal coworking space blueprint is easy to harness when you have Gridd’s adaptive cable management technology. The Gridd raised floor system enables facility managers to reconfigure a room over a weekend. Its specifications fit any smart building, allowing workspaces to evolve organically with minimal disruption.

The Gridd and Gridd Power solutions have won multiple awards, including the Broadcast Engineering Pick Hit Award, the Best of Neocon: Gold (Workplace Technologies), and several others.

Future sustainability is one of the tenets of workplace agility, and having a flexible flooring system installed at the rate of 1000 square feet per day per installer without the need for tools, fasteners or trenches is a home run.

Contact us today to learn more about the Gridd® Adaptive Cabling Distribution System® and how access floors promote high-tech, human-centered smart buildings.

See what Gridd can do for you.

Contact us