In a bid to significantly improve the reliability and efficiency of standby power systems in corporate environments, Powermode, a leading Johannesburg-based power provisioning company, has launched a locally designed and manufactured GSM cellular-based monitoring system.

Dubbed the Powermode Monitoring Portal (PMP), the Internet-linked system is geared to monitor a company’s standby power environment, reporting on a range of critical parameters associated with uninterruptible power supply systems (UPSs) solar PV systems and generators.

Powermode MD Jack Ward notes that the PMP is a ‘first’ for the South African standby power market, being based on the now universally-accepted principal of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The IoT is defined as a system in which the Internet is linked to the physical world through any number of sensors which have the ability – and the power – to radically change the way people manage their lives and businesses, generally through resource optimisation,” he notes.

Focusing on the PMP, Ward says empirical data is continuously streamed in real-time to Powermode’s 24×7 Operations Centre in Johannesburg where technicians will react to an alarm signalling a disparity in standby power quality from accepted benchmarks by immediately notifying the company concerned. If authorised, a service crew will be dispatched to any location country-wide.

Powermode boasts a nation-wide support infrastructure, complemented by telephonic response for technical queries and priority on-site response for emergency call-outs. Services are provided by trained and skilled technicians.

“With the frequency of power outages and the critical nature of South Africa’s power grid, it is important that standby power plants, particularly in large enterprises, are safeguarded from threats that could disable them when they are needed most. In such instances critical computer systems may be forcibly shut down and cash tills will become inoperable,” stresses Ward asserts.

He says many millions of rands are lost annually in South Africa through standby power systems failing to initialise on demand or as required. “By electronically monitoring their status on a 24×7 basis using Powermode’s ground-breaking technology this problem will be resolved.”

He says one of the most significant advantages of the PMP is no new infrastructure has to be built or designed for its failure-proofing benefits to be realised. Deployment is non-intrusive and does not affect the operation of the standby power device in any way. Users should therefore be able to see an immediate return on their investment.

Ward highlights the operational reports from a successful, six-month pilot project involving the roll-out of the PMP at a large South African chain of 118 retail stores. They reveal that 44 stores were subjected to 195 potentially costly power outages during this period. More than 280 trading hours and 250 non-trading hours were affected. He says the results underline the importance and value of having deep insights into an organisation’s power infrastructure.

Ward adds that the PMP is both cross-platform and vendor agnostic, meaning it can be retro-fitted to any backup power system irrespective of brand or type.

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