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BBC Looking To Implement Power Over Ethernet

The BBC is currently researching ways in which it could implement Power over Ethernet (PoE), which it hopes will reduce energy usage and decrease the use of some office equipment.

PoE technology is a system designed to safely pass electrical power over Ethernet cabling. It can be used to power IP telephones, cameras, LCDs and even low-power computers.

PoE is most often used where USB cabling provides insufficient current, and where mains power would be inconvenient or expensive. The power is provided by a specialised switch or hub in the network.

John Linwood, the BBC CTO, explained: "Power over Ethernet is interesting for two reasons. First, it reduces our carbon footprint. It means you can step the power down in your central hub room, and run Power over Ethernet to all necessary devices."

"Second, it would allow us to replace a lot of plug-in power adapters around the building. For example, all of the VoIP phones have these adapters. Power over Ethernet would allow us to get rid of those. That would be a source of potential outage that would go away."

Linwood explained that staff inadvertently kick adapters, or unplug them to plug something else in, and then wonder why the phone no longer works. This would not be an issue with Power over Ethernet.

However, Linwood refuses to blame staff for these issues.

"It may sound like a resolution for silly users, but I don't look at it that way," he said. "Technology should work in harmony with users. If people are kicking adapters on the floor, that's the technology's problem. One of the key tenets of our technology strategy is to look at the way we can make our technology more of an enabler. I call this 'frictionless technology'."

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