Machines that go PING: Getting the most from your power monitoring system

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services


Just by chance I happened to catch one of my favourite comedy scenes over the weekend. Remember Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” … the hospital scene where a woman is in labour, and her doctors bring all the fancy equipment into the delivery room, raving about how expensive it is? Some of it is so elaborate they have no idea what it does, especially the machine that goes ‘ping’. When they hear the hospital administrator is about to arrive, they quickly turn on every piece of equipment, (especially the machine that goes ‘ping’) just to demonstrate they’re making use of every available capital asset in their delivery room. And as the saying goes, ‘it’s funny ‘cuz it’s true’. Similar thinking applies everywhere; many companies invest in power monitoring systems, but for a variety of reasons—for example, the lack of time, training, or personnel— they may end up under-using them. They’re missing out on key benefits.

Reduce that outage stress and increase effectiveness

We already know that a large chunk of preventable downtime in data centers is due to human error. One of the best ways to avoid this kind of downtime is to make sure technicians have relevant information available in real time, and a power monitoring system can do a great job of feeding distribution system data directly to the people who need it most. They can respond quickly and get things back to normal. And once they get to know their way around the system, they can also find over- or under-used capacity and even locate comprised circuits, preventing possible unplanned outages.

Optimize your power loading, distribute more efficiently

In the past, HMI design sometimes meant that even when energy data was available it wasn’t always presented in a way that helped users make improvements. Thankfully, times have changed. Now it’s easy to see how much power is going into your equipment so you can maximize its use, optimize loads, and make sure circuits are properly used. There are also power monitoring systems that simplify the complex relationships between circuits to rack to IT Customers so that pay-per-use energy billing becomes easier. Translation: increased profits.
So, if you have a an old power monitoring system sitting around collecting dust, or a shiny new one for that matter and aren’t quite sure where to begin, take off the cover, start it up, and get some of the available training. Somewhere in your network you may find some excess capacity. Or another 30% increase in energy efficiency. You may find the cause of that annoying breaker trip. You’ll be relieved at how easy it is to document your generator tests, or to export IT customer energy information. And when your machine goes ‘ping,’ you’ll smile. Because now you know what it can do.