Today’s Receptacles Offering Powerful New Connections
Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems
Chuck RossWhen wall receptacles were first developed, electricity, water and gas were really the only services homeowners and businesses were seeking to distribute throughout their buildings. Today, as we all know, is a different story. We might want a high-speed Ethernet connection at our workspace, video and audio connections in a conference room, and, almost everywhere in our homes and offices, USB connections for recharging our growing collection of battery-powered mobile devices.
I can still remember the days, 15 years, or so, ago, when I traveled frequently as a consultant, having to scout out the separate ports required for Internet and video connections. These might – or might not – have been located near an equally critical electrical receptacle. Since then, however, wiring-device manufacturers have capitalized on the opportunity this frustration presented and developed products that unite multiple services in a single box or wall plate. Such designs also streamline installation for contractors, as they allow for a single wiring path behind building walls.
Thanks to the ubiquity of WiFi connectivity, Ethernet connections may have fallen in importance for many of us. At the same time, though, we’re spending more time searching for USB ports to recharge our cellphones and tablets. Again, multipurpose receptacles are evolving to include USB connections. Even standard household receptacles and wall switches are beginning to sport the recognizable minimalistic slots – and it’s easy to understand why. Incorporating these compact ports requires little extra wiring, so they add a lot of convenience to a commodity wiring device without boosting cost significantly. And, because they draw only 5 volts, their usage doesn’t impact the performance of other connected devices.
Photo courtesy of Hubbell Wiring Device-Kellems