The upsurge in, and speed of innovation of, appliances in the average family homes makes anticipating and/or retrofitting for future requirements increasingly challenging. Bryce Twomey, Product Development Manager at Knightsbridge, looks on how modular accessories bring flexibility and future proofing to the home.
In residential environments where appliances, devices and other power requirements exist in droves, modular frames are increasingly popular with homeowners who want installation flexibility when it comes to standalone or combined fixtures for lighting, switching, telecomms, network and charging requirements.
Traditional ‘white plastic’ installations revolving around a handful of two-gang sockets around and above the counter tops of a kitchen or the skirting boards of a sitting room, complemented by a light switch or even dimmer, just aren’t sufficient for modern living demands.
Although modular fittings are well established in the trade, 20 years ago it would be unusual to find a house with satellite, telephone, or FM sockets adjacent to the television, let alone RJ45 ethernet ports and being (then) CAT 5e cabled throughout. From the traditional electrical installation perspective, the increase in requirements since then means either an unwieldy number of outlets and accessories at any given point of use; or an installation that rapidly dates and fails to meet the current and near future needs of the user.
This is where modular comes in for installers dealing with media and tech savvy consumers. A mainstay of commercial applications for decades, uptake has been relatively slow in domestic refurbishment and rewire situations. This has gained significant momentum recently, to the benefit of the installer and the distributor, for whom comprehensive ranges of accessories are available.
Twenty years ago, a homeowner would struggle to comprehend the variety and breadth of 25x50mm and 50x50mm euro modules on offer to the homeowner of 2022. Some would be recognised – telecom, coax and satellite TV modules obviously, and in all their iterations including screened and diplex TV/ satellite TV, or TV/ FM.
Others would be less familiar such as those incorporating HDMI outlets, DAB radio, and quadplexes delivering two satellite outputs, combined with a combination of TV, FM or DAB. And all of these co-existing in faceplates incorporating 13A or 5A socket modules as required. More recent innovations would include dual USB 18W QC/45W USBPD A+C modular outlets, PIR sensors, and touchless switches.
Combination plates allow for even more bespoke solutions, with incorporated FASTCHARGE outlets freeing up more space for modular inserts, with a wide range of options to suit different rooms and locations available both domestically and commercially. They allow for a decluttering of the wall space complemented, where available, by screwless plates which bring clean lines and slim profiles to the applications.
The array of integrated devices mean a wide variety of applications in the home can be grouped together, without the need for separate sockets. Furthermore, installations can be updated and modified to accommodate new technologies without replacing accessories or breaking into the wall.
Necessarily, such fittings nowadays come in a wide variety of decorative finishes – gloss, satin, and matt – and in selection of colours, from traditional white to matt black, anthracite, bronze, brushed chrome and so on.
For style-conscious homeowners, a combination of Knightsbridge decorative switches and sockets, modular solutions, multimedia combination plates and grid wiring solutions can be brought together to create truly versatile, bespoke installations.
For further details of Knightsbridge’s innovative wiring accessory and lighting products, click here