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Software-controlled smart power strip saves power, safeguards computer and controls household functions

PowerUSB : 12 November, 2012  (New Product)
A new generation of "smart" power strips can do a lot more than just save power and rescue hung-up computers. The Smart is designed to offer the best of both worlds in power conversation and control.
Software-controlled smart power strip saves power, safeguards computer and controls household functions

Power strips, like phones, just keep getting smarter and smarter, and Texas-based PowerUSB has just launched the PwrUSB Smart, which can do everything from monitoring TV watching and gaming activities, to scheduling the brewing of the morning coffee, to creating a holiday light show.

"The Smart is our first power strip that is targeted towards end users," says Patsy Lundin, VP Sales and Marketing of PowerUSB. "It is both a power saving and power control device."

The four-outlet PwrUSB Smart power strip offers the functionality of power control without being tied to a computer. This, says Lundin, will be a boon for users everywhere.

Home use is just the beginning for the PwrUSB Smart; there are many other potential applications. A lot of interest is anticipated from the gaming industry, as well as from manufacturers and operators of photo booths and medical testing equipment, because of PwrUSB power strips' ability to control power based on different inputs.

The Smart is a programmable power strip with a digital display and USB interface. The SMART has a LCD display to display time, power consumption, next scheduled up time and other information. It offers several modes of operation, including a calendar-based and master load-based switch-on. "The unit can be programmed by attaching it to a computer via USB, and then can be used as a standalone unit," explains Raum Pattikonda, Chief Technology Officer of PowerUSB and mastermind behind this technology. "The individual outlets can be programmed to switch on at certain times. This is truly the smartest power strip currently available on the market with the maximum features and functionality in the PowerUSB family of models."

The PwrUSB Smart is the fourth in the company's successful line of power strips; others are the PwrUSB Basic, the Digital IO, and the Watchdog.

The aim of PowerUSB is to offer users a wide range of power strips for every need. While the Smart is the latest in the line, the company stresses that the Basic, Digital IO, and Watchdog also represent advancement over the "old" generation of power strips. "We're taking cutting-edge technology, originally created for industrial applications, and adapting it for home and small business use," says Pattikonda. "We believe that users who switch their existing power strips to one of the PwrUSB models will see a significant savings in electricity usage, as well as, in the case of the SMART, remarkable automation capabilities."

The Basic is an energy-saving device that switches on the computer connected peripheral devices only when needed, it can also monitor router/modem and reboot automatically if required such as when those are hung. It can also play a critical role in the health industry. For example, medical equipment controls the centrifuge motor when it senses certain power consumption on in another motor attached to the power outlets and can be used for automating controls for mission critical medical applications. The Basic model comes with bundled simulator software that can be programmed to the switches on lights and fans when needed. Starting with the Basic, the power strip can be used as a power consumption meter which is a common feature in all of the available power strip models from PwrUSB.

PwrUSB's Digital IO model is a low cost integrated PLC and USB interface device for mediating Digital Inputs and Outputs. It is a radically different product compared to other power automation products available in the market. It is not only two products (Digital IO and PLC) built into one; it is superior in terms of integration, ease of use and cost in both forms of operation. It can integrate multiple electronic devices to provide a simple solution to complex automation tasks. For example, using PwrUSB's Digital IO model anyone can implement a grandiose automated photo booth application. In this exemplary photo booth, the camera and lights will be powered on only when a user walks into the booth. The camera will display a live view in an attached monitor, and it will take a snap when the user presses an indicated Photo Snap Button. A separate print button will print the photo via a printer attached to the camera module. Power will go down on all attached devices once the user walks out of the photo booth. All this can be done to turn all these standalone devices into an elegant automated solution just by using PwrUSB Digital IO power strip. The Digital IO model can also handle complex logical systems such as PCB Conveyor systems by using a SMEMA interface.

The Watchdog model is designed to prevent computer "hang-ups" by monitoring and hard re-booting a "hung" computer automatically. With this model you don't have to worry about uptime of critical computers and servers. Once the server or computer is attached to a PwrUSB Watchdog power strip, locally thru USB, it will monitor the computer by sending digital "heartbeats" via the bundled software it comes with. If the server hangs, the heartbeats will stop and after a predefined time, the power strip will auto hard reboot the server. Watchdog version is also great for remote computer systems such as kiosks, ATMs and any other unattended machines that need to be monitored for continuous performance.

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