ICT: A Power Supply Company Making a Big Difference

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Innovative Circuit Technology (ICT) began in humble circumstances in 1986 by the late Kevin Bolster, an engineer who made DC-DC converters in his garage in Vancouver, Canada. Today, the company resides in a 38,000-square-foot facility in British Columbia, Canada. It designs and manufactures its products at this facility, allowing for better quality control and product reliability, with in-house engineering and manufacturing teams collaborating closely. It employs over 65 people and is rapidly growing. ICT has gone from selling exclusively in North America to expanding its reach internationally, from Australia and New Zealand to parts of Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

The primary market for the DC power products was the land mobile radio (LMR) market, which are used to power UHF/VHF radios in vehicles for two-way radio dispatch, supporting police, fire and ambulance services.

Since its beginnings, ICT has broadened its product portfolio to include DC power supplies, DC distribution panels, pure sine wave inverters, battery chargers, DC UPS systems, along with DC-DC converters. The products have become more sophisticated, adding TCP/IP Ethernet connectivity, allowing for remote monitoring and power control. ICT has also moved into adjacent markets that have similar use cases and applications for power, including telecommunications tower infrastructure.

About ten years ago, ICT saw an opportunity in the fixed wireless broadband space, according to Blair Clements, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for ICT. Fixed wireless broadband has similar needs to LMR, requiring power equipment at the tower site to power devices on the tower. In the case of fixed wireless broadband, the load devices are typically 48 or 24 volts DC, whereas LMR is primarily 12 volts DC. By adding 48- and 24-volt power products to their existing product portfolio, ICT could bring the same features and benefits valued by LMR customers to fixed wireless broadband customers.

“It has been a hugely successful decision for us, and we’re now known as one of the leading DC power providers for the fixed wireless broadband market,” Clements said. “Due to some of the unique features, differentiation, high reliability and customer service, we’re able to provide, our solution enjoys wide appeal.”

Clements believes what sets ICT apart is the company’s philosophy to develop products that the customer actually needs, rather than something they think the customer needs. “We’ve been very good at listening to customers, and actually interviewing customers to understand if there’s a need in the marketplace that is not currently being met by other vendors,” he said.

One customer challenge that ICT discerned 12 years ago involved time-consuming visits to remotely located towers to resolve network issues. Customers were often sending their technician’s long distances to telecom sites to diagnose an issue. Inaccessible sites might demand a helicopter ride, or a long drive to access. Adding to the frustration, upon reaching the tower site, the tech would often find that the problem was simply a radio or other network device that had locked up and needed to be rebooted.

To meet this need, ICT added intelligence to its products, adding TCP/IP Ethernet connectivity to enable remote monitoring, and more importantly, remote control of the products. Because there is often more than one load on a tower, ICT provides the ability to diagnose a specific device and turn it on and off to reboot it remotely, instead of having to travel hours to the site.

“Our products have been very well received in both the LMR market, and also in the fixed wireless broadband market,” Clements said. “We’re now seeing a lot of interest from mobile network operators for this kind of functionality.” In the event of a power outage that cannot be addressed remotely, the system will automatically shed non-critical load devices to preserve battery power for more critical loads. This is all user definable. Load shedding provides more battery backup time for critical loads, and allows for smaller battery installations at tower sites, saving considerable costs.

With the increase in working from home, Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) understand that they need to provide ultra-reliable internet services to keep their customers happy. To meet that demand, ICT products provides them with AC power monitoring, battery monitoring, preventative battery testing, remote monitoring, and remote power control, so they can fix a network issue quickly and further enhance their network reliability.

ICT is starting to see the carriers come to value the benefits of ICT products, particularly with macro tower sites, some of which may be time-consuming to access. “Being able to remotely control power to individual devices at tower sites, that’s a compelling solution,” Clements said. “The small incremental capex that they incur for an intelligent solution from ICT is quickly paid off in terms of return on investment, by reducing a number of truck rolls to visit these sites,” Clements said.

Clements encourages potential customers to visit the company’s website and log into its software demos to experience the graphical user interface which is used to monitor and control the products.

“You get a really good understanding of the capability of the products and, more importantly, the ease of use. It’s very intuitive,” Clements said. “Customers can log into demonstration software of all of our intelligent products, try them out and get a feel for the capabilities. We also support SNMP protocols for customers who wish to integrate the products into their network management software systems.”

ICT has a relatively small team, but it’s accomplishing big things, and they take pride in what has been achieved over the years. “In the last decade or so, we’ve gone into new markets, developed new products and grown the company,” Clements explained. “We like to come into work and do our very best every day, because we feel like we are making a difference.”

To learn more about ICT’s products, call: (604) 856-6303, email: sales@ictcorporate.com or visit their website at https://ict-power.com/.

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