THE FUTURE OF CHARGING: FIXED USB CHARGING OUTLETS REQUIRE A SEPARATE MENTION IN SPECIFICATIONS – IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DON’T GET!
By Ike Cassim, Export Manager, Crabtree
Charger sockets that are part of a fixed installation offer a safer way to meet the charging needs of most people. However, they are not currently a requirement within the wiring regulations, which is why fixed USB charging outlets require a separate mention in specifications – if you don’t ask for them, you won’t get them.
How many times have you been out, and your phone has died? It’s a common problem: As smartphone uptake has risen, so has demand for battery life and an increasing number of people need to charge their smartphones while they’re on the move – whether it’s during the morning commute, in a hotel lobby or during a coffee shop pit stop. This need to charge phone in a public place is rising quickly and more people would like to see more public buildings feature USB charging outlets.
Installing USB charging outlets is not just a way to meet public demand, they can also make charging smartphones and tablets a significantly safer process.
The stakes are high. With the rise of smartphones has also come the rise of fake or unofficial smartphone chargers. The high price of manufacturer approved chargers inadvertently created a market for counterfeit and substandard quality chargers and it is these unregulated low-quality chargers that are creating safety issues. Indeed, in the UK last year, Chartered Trading Standards Institute found that out of 400 counterfeit Apple chargers only three were insulated well enough to protect the user from electric shock – a risk that fixed USB charging outlets can mitigate. There would be no reason to expect anything other than the same findings if the study was undertaken in South Africa.
Other safety risks associated with the use of fake or counterfeit phone chargers include electric shock, screen burns, electrical fires and power cuts. Yet, ask a consumer and they would, in all likelihood, answer that this risk had crossed their mind.
What can the specifier do? Clearly, there’s a need for a public education of the risks associated with fake chargers. Greater public awareness is key but there are other ways this problem can be solved. That’s where the specifier comes in. Although its near impossible to stop or even monitor the use of cheap portable chargers in commercial buildings, especially because they’re often bought unknowingly, specifiers have a professional duty to optimise safety by taking full advantage of the new opportunities available to them.
Extra level of safety
By sourcing USB charging facilities in fixed installations, specifiers can guarantee an extra level of safety to the public using commercial buildings. Sockets with integrated USB charging outlets and intelligent mobile device charging, offer higher levels of user safety by automatically managing the charge to match the needs of the device plugged in.
This ability to manage and match the charge, will guarantee optimal charger performance regardless of mobile device brand or charger used. As well as limiting the risk of fire or electric shock, this means that expensive devices will not suffer component damage or screen burn. Another benefit is that the charging needs of the user can be met, without compromising the speed at which their devices charge.
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