Niche applications could soon create growth in the UPS market, which has faced challenging conditions over the past three years. However, the demand for power protection devices is increasing in such nontraditional markets as industrial controls, medical laboratory equipment, and security/access control systems, according to a research report by Venture Development Corp. (VDC), a Natick, Mass.-based technology market research and strategy firm (Chart at right). Even some homeowners are beginning to invest in power protection devices to safeguard their home entertainment equipment in the event of a power outage. Many UPS units are equipped with software that will shut down sensitive devices at the first sign of a power fluctuation. VDC found that the technical standards for the 5kVA-and-under battery UPS systems are well established, the performance specifications are indistinguishable, and UPS suppliers are now competing on price, availability, and support. All of these factors are helping suppliers branch out into new markets.