Because Power Does Fail

At “Greenfield” events, power is always a huge consideration.  Event organisers spend plenty of time and resources organising generators, refuelling, planning power-up/power-down schedules and ensuring ‘essential’ services have UPS backup.  But how many events running off building power get the same attention?  Think it can’t happen to you, I bet the $500M Super Bowl production didn’t think so either.

With more and more event services being reliant on network services, the need for power management and backup becomes even more critical.  Consider the impact of loosing power to not only the Sound and Lighting, but also the Two-way radios, VoIP Phones, WiFi, Point-of-Sale, Ticketing, CCTV and many other systems we rely on. How would you co-ordinate your team’s response, who would ensure the safety of your patrons.

Earlier this year I was working on a major international event when a very simple thing happened that caused chaos across the entire site.  The mains power to the Network Core, the rack supporting ALL Phones, Internet, Networking and much of the Audio and Video Distribution failed.  The rack was protected by a UPS Backup, but unfortunately the power was not monitored no one heard the ‘beep-beep-beep’ of the UPS, so the batteries just delayed the inevitable.

What ensued was a Mobile Phone meltdown as hundreds of people across site lost all other connectivity.

Power was restored relatively quickly, but as we all know, computers take time to boot-up and when you multiply that by all the effected devices, the outage was realistically at-least 30minutes.

How would 30minutes without network related services effect your event?

To minimise the chances of this happening to your event, it’s important that not only are critical systems running on UPS, but that Power should be monitored and that BackUp or Redundant systems not be from the same power supply.  Perhaps counter-intuitively, moving more services to a Converged Redundant Network and using Power-Over-Ethernet to power devices from the network can minimise the effects of a power outage.  Most importantly, start the conversation with your contractors and venue ahead of time.