MK Electric say that in this day and age, it is commonplace for people to own a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, and even a smartwatch, with many carrying three or more of these devices on their person at any one time1. Naturally then, the demand for power on the go has experienced a huge increase over the past decade. Here, Emma Segelov from MK Electric takes a closer look at how businesses can help expand their appeal to customers through the use of accessible charging points.
According to recent forecasts, it has been estimated that by 2022 there will be around 29 billion connected devices2. With this in mind, it is clear that people across the globe are becoming reliant on mobile devices for both personal and business use. When using them to check emails, send messages, flit between social media platforms, play games, navigate and shop online, amongst other functions, many people are left anxious to find a power source to recharge when they are out and about.
As such, there is an increasing appetite for charging points in public spaces such as cafes, airports and hotels, as well as buildings including offices and universities. For electrical specifiers and contractors, the requirement for power on the go has great potential, not only for new builds but also to upgrade existing facilities. Offering USB charging options is an opportunity to upsell, demonstrates a real understanding of a client’s current and future needs, and offers a great value-added service to stand out from competitors, driving loyalty from customers who have had a positive user experience.
USB integrated sockets have proven to be particularly popular in environments such as universities and college student residences. Students today are part of the tech savvy millennial generation that has grown up with mobile phones and other devices, and these digital natives have a significant demand for charging points for their mobile tech.
For universities with a high proportion of international students, USB charging points offer an additional benefit of negating the use of adapters to charge devices in a conventional switchsocket, vastly improving safety and ease of use. USB charging also eliminates the need for PAT testing.
But the scope for USB charging points goes well beyond colleges and universities, and many other commercial environments such as coffee shops and hotels are now realising the potential these power points can offer to entice customers. After all, 21st century consumers are much more likely to spend an extended period in a setting if they have access to the technology they need.
It is simple and relatively inexpensive to install a USB charging switchsocket or module as part of a replacement of existing wiring devices or in new installations, so it should be a relatively straightforward upsell for specifiers in the know.
MK Electric was one of the first manufacturers to launch a USB module in 2013. Since then the company has integrated the technology into its switchsocket outlets. USB charging capability is now available within seven MK Electric wiring device ranges – Logic Plus, Metalclad Plus, Albany Plus, Edge, Aspect, Elements and the recently launched MK Dimensions offering a comprehensive range to suit multiple applications.
MK Electric’s offering features innovative dynamic device recognition (DDR), which is specifically designed to detect charging configurations from a range of manufacturers and react accordingly for optimal and efficient charging.
What’s more, USB sockets are easy to incorporate in refurb and retrofit opportunities as they can simply replace existing sockets. MK’s Logic Plus range has been re-engineered to fit into a standard 25mm back box, allowing for a quick and easy installation. This is good news for refurb projects, as operating a simple product switch saves on time, resources and money, making the job efficient and effective.
Other installer benefits include backed out and captive terminal screws and upward facing terminals with a funnel entrance to make wiring and installation faster and easier on site. In line terminals, meanwhile, allow wires to be cut stripped to the same length to speed up the installation process.
Vertically stacked central USB ports on the MK Electric switchsockets provide access to virtually any standard 13A plug, including moulded plugs, and are electrically protected against an overload or short circuit to prevent damage to the socket and ensure user safety.
Importantly, like all MK Electric’s switchsocket outlets, the USB integrated socket features a three pin child-resistant shutter system, designed to prevent access to the electricity supply unless all three pins of a standard British plug are in position.
The rise and rise of smart technology and mobile devices is creating an opportunity for specifiers to upgrade electrical installations to include USB charging points and meet the growing demand for power on the go. As well as an opportunity for specifiers to increase the value of installations, it is also an opportunity to showcase to potential clients the technology they should be installing to stay ahead of the curve and give their customers and users what they want. Mobile devices are here to stay, and we must adapt electrical installations to this brave new world.