Adding power to your workplace? There’s a better way

If you’re looking at adding power to a central space in your office that doesn’t have power access, chances are you’re familiar with Connectrac and the Steelcase Thread. Both products are becoming even more popular and important as the need to access power in the workplace increases.

As Steelcase’s Kelly Cramton-Beat, Steelcase Education Product Manager notes:

“Our devices allow us to be more mobile than ever before, profoundly impacting the places where we work,”. She adds that “People need technology and technology needs power. To meet these demands, the workplace needs to be flexible and provide charging options not just from a wall, but within the spaces where employees are most productive.”

Why A Modular Power Solution?

Connectrac’s Under-Carpet Wireway (Image Courtesy Connectrac)

First off consider some of the real benefits of both of these solutions. They are both a great alternative to core drilling because of reduced construction and labour costs. This is especially true if the layout of your office is going to be changing frequently. If you’re leasing for a short term and aren’t able to perform core drilling then you have to look at power poles to bring down power into your space. These options offer more flexibility and can be cost effective, however, from a design standpoint they can be clunky and in the way.

We’ll explore more below:

Data

The big difference right off the bat is that if you need to run data as well, Connectrac provides the ability to do so while the Thread is solely power focused. This may be important for your space or project and is something to keep in mind depending on IT requirements. It is good idea to discuss those requirements with your IT department or your client.

Flexibility

The Steelcase Thread Power Track (Image Courtesy Steelcase)

Both solutions offer flexibility for your design and also make it possible to reconfigure based on your layouts.

The Steelcase Thread comes in standard sizes that make it possible to configure a setup that can work for your office. In some instances and depending on budget you can run a grid to set your office up permanently in terms of access to power.

Connectrac offers a variety of options to meet your needs in terms of budget, as well as flooring type. They offer Under-Carpet, Over-Carpet and In-carpet wireways. Like the Thread, Connectrac is customizable. Connectrac’s system actually allows users to cut the wireway to the length needed for the project, right in the field. This makes it easy to ensure the system meets every need of an office and can be as adaptable as the people that work there.

Function and Aesthetics

Connectrac’s Under-Carpet Wireway (Image Courtesy Connectrac)

The Steelcase Thread Power Track and Connector (Image Courtesy Steelcase)

As mentioned before, both of these options offer a more aesthetic alternative to power poles. So it’s important to look at the optics offered by each of these solutions.

There are going to be some trade-offs when you look at an over-floor solution from Connectrac, which is why these solutions are recommended for low traffic areas. But when it comes to Under-Carpet wireways, both Connectrac and Steelcase offer a relatively low-key solution.

The Connectrac under-carpet wireway is .65″ in terms of height and employs a ramping system that keeps the system from obviously protruding from the ground. The Steelcase Thread Power Track comes in just slightly higher at .75″. It also uses a system of small ramps that keep everything looking good under carpet without anything protruding too much.

Usability

The Steelcase Thread Connector and Thread Power Hub (Image Courtesy Steelcase)

Connectrac’s power outputs are available in duplex and quad outlets that offer 4 keystone data connectors as well. For the Thread, you can choose from a number of power output options using their Thread Power Hub, Thread Connector, and Thread Power Strip which offers 2 outlets and 2 USBs.

In terms of user interfacing components, users interact with both products ultimately in the form of outlets. In terms of in-floor outlets both are similar and look good. However Steelcase does offer some unique advantages that can be attributed to the organization’s rich design history. Thread has the options that bring power right to desk or coffee table height with it’s Power Hub, which adds a level of convenience to collaborative or private work areas.

If you want to continue with the trend of keeping power out of sight, ChargeSpot is compatible with both the Thread and Connectrac. It’s plug and play, so simply connect it to power and you’ll be able to add wireless charging to surfaces within your space for smartphones.

It’s also worth noting that carpet tile solutions compliment the modular nature of both the Thread and Connectrac solutions well.

Accessibility Notes

Both systems are ADA approved, UL and CSA compliant, and will work from an accessibility standpoint within your space.

(Pictured Above: Steelcase and Red Thread’s Boston Office, Designed By Progressive AE – Image Courtesy Progressive AE)

 

2017-03-30T12:48:17+00:00
Kyle is the Head of Community at ChargeSpot. He is the editor of WORKSPACES and works with the Architecture and Design Community to share the latest in workplace design.