Recently the Eubiq (hey, it’s a Singaporean company!) power tracks and plugs were featured on quite a few design and gadget websites, touting to solve most of the common problems associated with current plugs. The most obvious benefit would be the fact that you can place your plug anywhere within the rail – up to 12 plugs per meter of track.
Design wise, it is unobtrusive and versatile, fitting into home and office interiors very well. The grey rubber strip effectively prevents water from splashes (e.g. in the kitchen). They claim it is virtually impossible to get an electrical shock because of the design – if you poke your finger through the grey rubber sleeves, all you touch is the earth contact – which is grounded and current-free. It has adapters so you can work with current plugs. You can order the system by the meter. You can integrate the system together with LAN data cables. Even the plugs themselves look sleek and modern. It almost seems too good to be true!
There are some clear advantages of the Eubiq system over current conventional sockets, and I am sure they’d be able to find buyers who’d adopt these plugs. Would it be a revolution in the world of plugs and sockets – like what CD did to the cassette tapes? I think not – it’d probably remain a product for a niche market where discreet appearance weighs heavily, but it does not seem like a candidate that will replace our plugs-and-sockets. Here’s why:
Firstly, it is a proprietary, patented standard. The fact that I’m naturally allergic to closed, proprietary (and almost by definition more expensive) standards aside, having a protected standard creates barriers to purchase and adoption. While it protects intellectual property and profits, it also at the same time prevents mass adoption, especially since the company is a relatively small one without much clout. Yes, there are adapters that lets your conventional plugs fit their track system, but unless some miracle switches all the plugs in the house to their Eubiq plugs, you’d find the appeal of Eubiq diminishing very quickly as you purchase 30 adapters for the plugs in your house.