Eubiq Plugs

Eubiq Plugs

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 adaptors for the plugs in your house.

Eubiq Kitchen

Secondly, the freedom that this new system offer isn’t all that great. Right, so you can now place your plug anywhere along a 1-dimensional (horizontal or vertical, usually) axis. What sort of difference does that make, really, to be able to place your plug maybe 50 cm more towards the left? If a new system allows me to place my plug, for instance, anywhere in a 1mx1m space, then it’d make some real sense. To be able to have a meaningful semblance of freedom and liberation with this system, you’d practically have to have this track run through most of your walls.

Some other peeves: Ultimately the cable mess problems are not solved. Cables are still going to grow out of the sockets (whether linear track or discrete sockets), merrily remaining an eyesore within the space between the wall and the appliance. Also, the 12-socket per meter figure is just a best-case scenario. From what the salesperson told me, it’d be hard-pressed to support more than a few heavier-duty appliances (e.g. kettles and fridges) per meter. It is not cheap – and for what you pay for, you are in bondage to use their plugs/adaptors only. Also, in case you imagined that the plugs can slide along while you move your appliances, that isn’t the case. They are very firm, and you’re better off unplugging from the track and then replugging it in a new location if you need to shift your plug.

Perhaps I’m ranting a little too much. I do, however, have a tendency to be harsher in my critiques for products that I am have higher hopes, or am more excited with. Kudos still, to the innovation and design of Eubiq, which is in its present incarnation already loaded with quite a few clever design solutions like the shock-proof safety features.

What’s your take?

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9 comments so far

  1. ah.heng on

    It solves 1 problem of not having to locate all your power cords in 1 area. Ultimately it’s more of a want, than a need. Appeals to the design-conscious.

    Also, I believe it’s a copy of a particular Japanese design, I can’t find the link at the moment but it was on display last year at the Good Design exhibition, not as a new product but as a company’s line up.

  2. Gems Sty on

    Aye aye. I do wonder though if/when the next breakthrough in power supply would be. The current standards have existed for more than a century – technological lockdown and legacy standards are definitely barriers to improved solutions – but when would they finally yield to advancements? Or is it something that doesn’t really need improvement in the first place – perhaps more incremental rather than revolutionary, just like how the brick has served us for so long.

    Or maybe it could be wireless power?

  3. linyou on

    hey this has actually been ard for quite some time. My boss actually knew the owner of that company. I felt the issue here is that this pdt will need the support of the whole industry. If i’m not wrong…it was designed to be used without the socket. But unless some company decided to support them, this design will become useless. Thus the extra socket comes in. Making this pdt a bit redundent. But hey if ur wall is lined up with lines of such plug….and ur wall mounted electronic pdts designed to plug straight into it. It will open up the usability of such a plug.

  4. Gems Sty on

    Yeah~ that actually kinda aligns with what I thought. As far as I see, this product cannot be successful if it is not mass-adopted. But it is certainly not set-up to be mass-adopted (due to various reasons, some mentioned in the post). Which, in a way points it to either failure or niche markets (e.g. image-conscious places like conference rooms).

  5. a on

    Products like this have been around for quite a while and are fairly common in retail stores where they are frequently reconfigure the store layout.

  6. Mark on

    There is a quite buzz in Australia with many architects who are very excited about new system re clean lines and flexibility.We are all to ready to find fault,when really we should be not trying to stifle development, but encourage it.

  7. Gems Sty on

    Perhaps I sounded overly critical – as a designer, I’m always enthusiastic to see new, creative developments that makes life better. Eubiq plugs (in my opinion) certainly solves many problems and bestows advantages like clean lines and flexibility.

    It is perhaps in my (one way?) eagerness to hold it to a revolutionary-worthy, infrastructure-revamping standard that I find it still somewhat lacking, as I have pointed above. It’s not my intention to put this product down, but more as an open critique so that it can improve. (Maybe the folks at Eubiq would stumble upon this post and get inspired!)

    Thanks Mark for your comment~~

  8. […] author of Gems Sty, a blog about design, thinks that while the design of the Eubiq system is pretty good, there are […]

  9. POSB on

    we have 334m of this in the office


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