Do you need to check your Facebook page, Twitter stream or take one last glance at your email inbox before going to bed?  If so, you are one of the 95% of people with a smartphone who use it in the hour before going to sleep.

In one study, 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their smartphones.  And one in three people would rather give up sex than their smartphone.

gadget_dependence_1179Communications technologies are becoming increasingly central to our daily lives.

Perhaps not as important as the last stat would indicate, but still, many of us have decided that we can’t live a full life without our smart devices.

This is reflected in what we spend on accessories around those devices.  From fancy protectors to games and apps, many spend up big on accessories to support their technology fix.

The solution to keeping us always connected is an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS.
But how many invest in protecting those technologies from power problems?

This is equally an issue for small businesses and those with only a passing nod to technology.  Cordless phones for example, leave us incommunicado when the power is cut.

This was not a problem with the plain old telephone service of yesteryear where our phones were powered from the central battery at the telephone exchange.  But as we become increasingly dependent on our Internet connection, the availability of the electricity supply becomes more important to us.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, by the end of 2013, there will be more Internet-connected devices than people.

Research by Google reveals that 90% of us juggle four screens in a day – smartphone, PC, tablet and TV.  Many will often use multiple devices at the same time.  Nine out of ten people will start a task on one device and complete it on another.  77% of us watch TV with another device in hand.

Until the power goes down that is.

The solution to keeping us always connected is an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS.

A UPS is a device with a battery that powers our Internet modem and the connected devices.  When the power goes down, the UPS continues to supply power for a short time.

When purchasing a UPS backup power supply, there are a number of aspects to consider.

First is the power rating of the UPS.  This is measured in ‘VA’ and for home and small businesses 350VA to 1,500VA will suffice.  The higher the power rating, the longer equipment connected to it will remain powered-on in a power outage.

Second are the types of power problems you want protection from.  These include complete power failure, voltage sag, spikes, brownouts or over voltages.

Third is how long you want backup power to be available for.

And finally, how many devices you want to provide power to.

In my household, the devices I need available in a power cut are a computer, a cordless phone and the internet modem plus wireless access point.  The total power rating of these devices is 80VA.  A 500VA UPS will keep power on these devices for around 43 minutes or 80 minutes from a 1,000VA UPS.

New Zealand manufactured PowerBrick provides this UPS function in an affordable package that is specifically aimed at the broadband market.  With a power rating of 350VA,  the PowerBrick provides a range of innovative features.  The built in web server enables the Powerbrick to constantly communicate with a Cloud-based server and will send emails or SMS text messages when the mains supply fails or a battery fault is indicated.  The modem reboot feature will automatically re-start the modem when communications with the Cloud cease. And the inbuilt solar charger enables use in off-grid applications.

For an investment of around $159, I have a secure power supply to cover the duration of typical power outages.  An additional $100 gives me a phone (VOIP) output plus a means to connect fire, security or medical alarms to my alarm company without the need to retain expensive copper lines.  And for another $100, I can have up to 16 digital alarm inputs for extra alarm monitoring applications.

So now I can go to bed, always connected but unshackled from the mains.