More Than Just Reliable Power
Battery Backup Systems (BBS) are the foremost line of defense for keeping intersections safe during power outages. They not only make sure that critical traffic equipment remains operational during the outage, they also increase overall reliability by protecting the equipment from power disturbances. These longstanding solutions for traffic intersections are now important elements of Smart City and ITS deployments – without them, the data stops when the power goes out. Battery backup systems are becoming vital building blocks for next generation networks, including surveillance and security, and even 5G.
To meet the requirements of these emerging networking opportunities, a new generation of BBS is needed. Like the current generation, these systems need to be rugged, reliable, and able to withstand the whole range of outdoor environmental conditions. Now, more than ever, they also need to be easy to use and provide important, useful information that aids decision makers.
Easy to Use
A next generation BBS must provide an intuitive user interface that simplifies installation, turnup, and maintenance. The user interface must display important information that is quickly accessible and easy to read, regardless of the time of day or position of the sun. It must also present the information in a manner that emphasizes the essential requirements, while still providing the ability to obtain information needed for deeper dives into system performance. Ideally, the local LCD interface should be customizable so that the users can create status or information tabs for their unique needs.
An example of a modern user interface
Access to the BBS must also be available via the web. As a key element these new networks, a next generation BBS Communication must provide a variety of ways to connect to the communications network. Ethernet, USB and CAN interfaces are required to connect to network devices and power system peripherals.
With the opportunity to power surveillance, security, Industrial IoT, and even 5G, there will be more pressure to install and commission the BBS quicker than ever. Often, multiple battery backup systems will be deployed for the same purpose throughout an area. For next generation BBS, the best practice is for the system to offer user configuration data that can be exported and imported to other BBS’s for quick and easy setup, thus increasing efficiency in times where there are not enough hours in a day.
Another major attribute for next generation systems is the ability to gather data, report information, and remotely access the device. The BBS needs to provide information that supplies the user with insight on how it is working and, depending on the application, how the other elements in the network are performing. Dry contact relay programming can provide control and alarm reporting. The best practice is to make the alarms configurable so that they can drive any dry contact relay.
Data analytics can become a reality with advanced performance and data logging. Built-in data loggers enable the user to monitor pre-programmed performance logs or configure the BBS to capture a host of parameters.
Optional peripheral devices can provide further monitoring of environmental factors as well as the capabilities of other equipment. The peripheral devices provide all this information via a single BBS interface. The peripherals provide both input and output connections in either analog or digital formats.
Some examples of what can be monitored and be reported include:
• Intrusion alarms – via contact closure inputs from traffic and UPS cabinet doors
• Temperature – via sensors in traffic and UPS cabinets to indicate heat/airflow
• Moisture or water – via sensors in traffic and UPS cabinet to indicate flooding
• Tilt Switch – in traffic and UPS cabinets to indicate a knocked down cabinet
• DC voltages and logic levels – from power supplies, controllers or other devices
Security & User Management
Security is paramount for any device with web access. Enhanced security using modern encryption technology should be available to ensure proper authentication and privacy for remote connection with the BBS. There should be an option to enable central server authentication and authorization to access the BBS for an additional security layer. With changing and dynamic roles and responsibilities of today’s workforce, the BBS should allow setting up users and permissions, editing permissions, and enabling and disabling users with ease.
Traffic signals, security cameras and surveillance sensors, and wireless communications networks all depend on reliable power. But the next generation BBS must provide more than reliable backup. Users are looking for a smart BBS that offers in-depth status information, configurability, communication, and security. Systems that meet the capabilities are well-suited to be essential building blocks for tomorrow’s networks.
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