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The IoT and PoE: A Perfect Match

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:25am
David Abramson, Texas Instruments

For those of you who regularly read my blog posts to keep up with the goings on of IEEE802.bt task force, I am going to change things up a bit and talk about one potential application for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)—Connecting the Internet of Things (IoT).  Normally, a description of the IoT involves either smart grid applications, where devices are connected to the power distribution network directly, or small battery operated devices with wireless connectivity.  What about the IoT of devices in the home that either require more power than batteries can provide, are stationary and can use wired power, or both?  I think the best answer to enabling that type of IoT is PoE.

So, what are some of the devices that might match this description?

I’ll name a few:  In home displays, smart thermostats, security cameras, smoke/environmental sensors, occupancy sensors, and even connected lighting.  All of these devices remain in fixed positions, need constant power to operate, and communicate over the network.

In a few years you may find that your new home comes prewired with Ethernet cabling in addition to the standard electrical wiring used today.  In addition, a hub or gateway may be located right next to where your fuse box is today.  While that is probably a few years off, one of the benefits of PoE is that anyone can install devices that use it.  If you buy any of the devices listed above, you simply need to connect them to a PoE enabled router and you are done (assuming of course they accept PoE).  In fact, this might help the adoption of the IoT as you won’t have to wire the new device into your home electrical system or hire an electrician every time you buy a new IoT device.

What do you think?  Do you see the IoT ever using PoE?  Are there examples that I missed?  Do you see PoE adding value to the IoT?  Comment below and let me know.

This post originally published on TI’s Power House blog.

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