We all know about smart cars, smart cities, smartphones, and smart speakers, but did you know there are also smart egg trays and smart umbrellas? If you’ve always wanted to be notified when you’re running low on eggs or find out from your umbrella when it’s raining outside, these smart devices might just be for you. For us, these new products are a sign that the term “smart” has quickly become one of the most popular consumer marketing buzzwords of the digital age.
It’s no wonder that the smart label is so widespread. Who isn’t on the lookout for things that make life easier? If something is smart, the perception is that it will take away the responsibility of figuring out what needs to be done. So-called smart devices and technologies are supposed to determine what you want and do it for you.
The Buzz around Smart Charging
What is smart charging? Charging is the latest in the long list of tech to be given the “smart” or “intelligent” label. The idea behind it is that the charging system is controlling and monitoring the charging process. Sounds pretty cool right? However, just because something sounds cool, doesn’t mean that it’s necessary. In the case of fancy internet-connected egg trays, do you really need an expensive carton to tell you to buy eggs when you can clearly see for yourself every time you open the fridge? In the case of smart power management, most devices already have built-in software that regulates charging to ensure devices aren’t overcharged. As PC Magazine explains, “The one thing all the experts agree upon is that smartphones are smart enough that they do not let an overload happen. Extra protection chips inside make sure that can’t happen in a tablet or smartphone or even a laptop. Once the internal Lithium-ion battery hits 100 percent of its capacity, charging stops.”
You may also think that a solution that offers intelligent charging automatically senses the power needs of each device. Be aware. Few smart charging systems actually do this. Rather, they sense the average power need for a bank or row of devices and direct power to the bank most “in need.” Which sounds useful in theory, but if you really think about your day-to-day workflow, it isn’t all that helpful. Read on to find out why.
Programmable Power Management
As an efficient alternative, LocknCharge offers the remote control ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System. This intelligent programmable power management unit can charge multiple laptops and power other electrical equipment safely. In our carts, the devices can be programmed for a certain amount of time, and if the device has built-in software, it won’t overcharge. If the device just needs a quick pick me up in the middle of the day, it will charge just as fast in its cart. You control how long you want your devices charged, and ECO Safe Charge will supply as much power as the device needs, regardless of how much of a charge it currently has.
If you ask our Guru of all Things, Kevin Rezac, why intelligent ECO Safe Charge is the preferred charging method over smart charging he’ll tell you without hesitation, “because you know better what your needs are than a computer does.”
Top Five Benefits of ECO Safe Charge
Check out the five advantages this technology offers that are not only pretty cool; they’re also useful and put control where it belongs, in your hands.
- Reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when a Cart or Station filled with devices is plugged into a single outlet.
- The ECO-TIMER™ functions can reduce your energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, extend the life of device batteries and reduce your power bills.
- Unlike “smart” charging the LocknCharge power management system can manage multiple carts on the same circuit.
- It’s programmable, so there isn’t the constant trickle charge using electricity.
- You can control from a distance by remote control. For example, if you have a cart plugged in your classroom, and you know students are going to be retrieving their own devices, you can hit the off button on the remote to turn off power. When the students return their devices, you can hit the on button with so the devices will start charging again.
Although there are many possibilities for how to set up the ECO-TIMER functions based on your specific needs, here are a few popular scenarios.
- Scenario 1: You have smaller devices (tablets and Chromebooks), and you want them all to be as charged as they can be. Set our cart mode to SAFE-ON and all your devices will be charging 24/7.
- Scenario 2: If you don’t like the idea of putting a constant charge to your devices all the time, you can change the mode to ECO-TIMER-ALL, then set your charge time for up to 4 hours, allowing your devices to rest for the remainder of the day.
- Scenario 3a: You have higher current devices, and all of them charging at the same time can overload an electrical circuit. You can change the mode to ECO-TIMER-CYCLE where your smart cart is divided into quarters, and you charge just one-quarter of your devices at a time for a duration you can set.
- Scenario 3b: You have a location where you have multiple carts and only one electrical circuit. You can change all carts to ECO-TIMER-CYCLE, and each cart will only draw one-quarter of its total capacity allowing you to charge up to four carts worth of devices on just one circuit (overnight, of course).
- Bonus: All of these functions are controlled with a remote so that you can change modes from across the room.
Don’t fall for the hype; when used as a buzzword, remember that “smart” doesn’t always mean superior. You probably don’t need an umbrella to tell you it’s raining and you definitely don’t need so-called “smart” charging to properly charge your devices.
If power management and efficient charging are important to you, check out our Putnam 8 or Putnam 16 iPad charging stations. These stations are so bright that they have external LED charging status indicators so you can see the charging status of each device inside the smart charging station at a single glance, without even opening the device.