Fault-managed power and the burden of expectations

Sept. 7, 2023
In the editorial letter introducing our Summer issue, chief editor Patrick McLaughlin compares FMP to other technologies that have had far-reaching impact on ICT system users.

The introduction of fault-managed power (FMP) technology has gotten the attention of professionals across the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. In September we’ll reveal the honorees of our 2023 Cabling Innovators Awards program and I can disclose a mini-spoiler by saying FMP-related products and systems will be fairly represented among those honorees. That means FMP technologies impressed our judging panel of veteran industry practitioners enough to earn high regard.

Take a look through this issue and you’ll see FMP mentioned in a handful of places, some of which you might not expect. The article authored by leaders of fiber-cabling advocacy group APOLAN makes reference to fiber’s place in FMP applications. Our article closely examining smart buildings and Single Pair Ethernet also recognizes that FMP is a literally powerful enabling technology for smart and highly connected enterprise environments. And the case study covering the Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting system installed at a Southwire facility reveals that Southwire has invested in FMP trailblazer VoltServer. Read the story to get candid quotes from representatives of Southwire, a company that sells an awful lot of metal-clad copper building cable, about their outlook on the potentially disruptive presence of FMP.

In my view, not since PoE has a technology arrived on the ICT scene with such great expectations placed upon it. When you read that last sentence, you knew what was coming next, right? A reference to the Dickens classic. In that novel, the protagonist Pip spends years assuming his benefactor is one person only to find out it is a different, completely unexpected character. I’m reminded of the first few years media converters became part of our industry’s technology portfolio. Originally introduced to facilitate more-affordable fiber-to-the-desk installations, media converters ended up being referred to as the Swiss Army Knife of cabling tools when users realized they could solve connectivity challenges that media-converter manufacturers hadn’t even conceived of. I wonder if FMP will similarly prove itself to be a solution to problems we’re not thinking about now, thereby creating unexpected benefactors (and beneficiaries) of the technology.

Just as this issue was going to press, an enterprise connectivity platform including fiber-optic infrastructure, PoE, and FMP was introduced. Its brand name is Constellation. Here’s hoping the future of FMP is pointing skyward, and as an enabling technology it has its users reaching for the stars.

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