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PoE - Your Building's Backbone

Buildings rely on a multitude of systems and technologies to keep them moving. These systems each speak their own language and are rarely able to communicate with each other. A nightmare to coordinate, data is strewn across platforms and remains inadequate.

PoE brings everything together on one, easy to use platform.

Imagine, every system of your building, connected on one single platform. Everything in one place! Power over Ethernet is a secure, fully integrated, intelligent building solution. No more siloed systems, but instead, a building that works for you. PoE is the backbone that every built environment needs.

Power over Ethernet can power devices and turn them into data gatherers.

Power over Ethernet technology relies on typical IT hardware to power an array of electronic devices, from security cameras to VOIP phones to access controls.

The benefits are clear - instead of power wires and data wires running to each device, a single cat-5e/6 cable powers the run. PoE is an intrinsically low voltage technology, with runs limited to less than 100 watts of power total. If the device being powered is low enough wattage and if it requires data to fully operate, PoE should be considered.

With LED lights revolutionizing the lighting industry both in terms of lighting control and total watts consumed, it now makes perfect sense to use a PoE solution for the purpose of advanced lighting control, data gathering, and integration of the space.

With the advanced functionality of a PoE-powered building, real-time location services, more intelligent access controls, gunshot detection, and more can easily become a reality for building owners and designers.

PoE System Layout

Line voltage power is fed into power supply equipment (PSE) which looks a lot like a typical ethernet switch used for networking. However, these ethernet ports are powered up to 90 watts per "home run."

Run Cat5e/6 cable from the PSE to a single PoE device, or daisy chain multiple devices so long as you fall within the 90-watt constraint. In the Igor system, the PoE device is called a node, and acts as the driver for the fixture, plus power supplies for sensors and switches.

A PoE system is much simpler to layout than an advanced wireless system. Typical advanced wireless systems require more components including a lighting controller, interface module, power pack for the sensor, and a photocell. Additionally, both power wires and data wires need to be run to each fixture. It's easy to get those wires crossed, and each additional device creates another potential point of failure.

With a PoE system, a Cat5e/6 cable is run from a PoE switch to a node. The node serves as the fixture's driver and can power sensors and switches up to 90 watts of connected load. These can even be daisy-chained together.

Because Cat5e/6 cables are low voltage data cables, there is no need to run conduit from powered device to powered device. This can save the owner on labor and material costs.

In fact, when compared to DALI or other advanced lighting control systems, PoE often comes in at a lower total cost to the owner because of labor and conduit savings. Since there is no line-voltage, IT professionals can make changes to lighting placement or positioning once the job is completed.

Architectural Dimming and More

An Igor PoE solution provides all the energy savings and architectural dimming you'd expect from an advanced lighting control system, with about a third of the hardware, and none of the conduit. Energy savings will be comparable depending on how granular you decide to get with your controls layout.

Igor's software can initiate demand response, set customized dimming and schedules on the fly, and can make use of reported data gathered from sensors, switches, and the lights themselves. Igor's Nexos software can tie together lighting and other PoE devices for a fully integrated smart building system.

Here are just a few possibilities:

Indoor Wayfinding

Phones integrated with GPS systems have created tremendous value for people with no sense of direction. To get somewhere today, all you have to do is plug an address into your phone's map app and you'll be given the best path forward.

But what about large convention centers, office spaces, or malls where the GPS can't track your exact location due to overhead obstructions? Many sensors on the market can track your indoor location more accurately and will allow for pathfinding in buildings. Such a system could help busy customers finding the right store in a mall, or apprehensive college students find the right classroom on the first day of class.

Gunshot Detection

Gunshot detection systems are often used in cities to register gunshots, so that police can react faster to potential violence. There are now indoor versions of these systems that can be used in schools, offices, malls, and other environments to allow police to quickly respond to danger. When such a system is integrated with lighting or emergency systems, the lights and emergency systems could guide occupants to evacuate in the best path, based on where the bullet was fired.

Space Utilization and Cleaning

Because PoE systems allow for two way data reporting, we can use integrated sensors to tell us of a room's occupancy. This comes in handy for office hoteling, cleaning schedules, and getting the most out of your space.

Office hoteling is an office management system where employees might be assigned desks or private spaces based on need. It allows businesses to accommodate more workers past their office capacity, as many people will spending a few days a week working from home. It's a perfect solution for workers who don't need the same office every day, like those in outside sales.

With an integrated PoE system, temperature and lighting controls could be temporarily assigned to the person occupying the temporary space. With Microsoft Office integration, a person could book an office from anywhere, even outside of the building.

Once occupancy is no longer detected for a long period of time, maintenance could be alerted for a quick wipe-down disinfection, making the office ready for the next occupant.

PoE systems can also automate germicidal ultraviolet systems, running the UV fixtures at specific times, once the office is fully unoccupied.

GUV solutions eliminate 99.9% of all airborne and surface pathogens with a high enough dose. They can also cause temporary eye and skin damage if the occupant is in the same space while it's running. Therefore, these solutions are best programmed to turn on when the space is completely empty. By using a POE system connected to either occupancy sensors, people counters, or both, you can ensure a safe, deep cleaning of your space so that it's ready for a new day.


A PoE backbone can not only provide advanced lighting controls, but also full building integration. By choosing a PoE control system, you get a lower total cost system that provides actionable insights, and works for you. Adaptable and scaleable, a PoE system prepares your building for whatever the future may bring.

Want to learn more? For additional insight on the benefits of PoE, listen to our latest Elevated Environments podcast with special guest, Cheyo Rogers, from Igor.


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