Any business which has not yet sat down and come up with ways to lessen the disruptions caused by ongoing rolling blackouts needs to do so as a matter of urgency. South Africa finally reached stage six load shedding last month, and it has become painfully clear that the situation isn’t going to get better any time soon.
The bottom line? Local entities need to have a plan in place to navigate the dark times ahead. The ideal solution is to go entirely off the grid, but realistically, not many companies have the resources to afford this. Fortunately, there are several smaller tools and solutions that they can invest in to lessen the impacts of load-shedding.
This is particularly essential as demands for power continue to skyrocket within all businesses, from the smallest SMEs to the largest corporates, and business-critical applications rely heavily on the power being ‘always on’. Here, an uninterrupted power supply or UPS can play a key role in keeping organisations in every industry up and running.
On its own, a UPS cannot keep a large business powered for a long time but is rather a key device when it comes to keeping the power on when load shedding kicks in, and the power switches to an alternative source. Many companies have invested in large generators and other alternative sources of power to keep up and running during these times and are using UPS solutions to allow critical data backups to be carried out, and to keep business critical services running while waiting for the power to swap over to another source of energy.
In many ways, a UPS can be viewed as an insurance policy of sorts. While it can’t prevent a blackout from happening, it offers a level of protection so that the business isn’t negatively affected by one. In essence, it ensures the continuity of business operations by giving the company enough time to switch to a greater and more stable power supply when the need arises. However, unlike a generator or alternative source of power, it offers immediate power to the organisation’s ICT and other hardware at the very moment the power goes out, guaranteeing an instant, uninterrupted supply. In addition, it maintains power between mains failure and generator start-up, making sure that as the UPS kicks in all the business devices that are attached will remain up and running, and that no data is lost in the brief interim.
From SME to data centre
There is often the misconception that UPSes are for small businesses or home users only. After all, an employee working from home can get a UPS solution that will power his or her laptop and Wi-Fi for a few hours, while a small business can rely on UPS for that quick switchover while another power source kicks in. But there is so much more that a UPS can do. UPSes secure the uptime of the most enormous data centres too and offer facility-wide protection for all equipment within them. A good UPS for this market will feature redundant configurations and dual bus capabilities to ensure that critical systems will remain up and running during any type of power disturbance, including load shedding, blackouts, or even simple surges. This type of UPS solution allows for the modular configuration of a fully redundant power and control system, that is matched in size to the capacity that the facility needs, with capacity being easily added as and when needed.
Across the board, whether in a data centre, an enterprise, or an SMB, UPSes also protect entities from any fluctuation in power that might cause damage to electronic devices, by controlling voltage instability through a stable power output. Much in the same way, UPS solutions continually monitor all incoming voltage, to identify any spikes and surges that are an unfortunate by-product of power failures and the electricity being switched on and off. Should the UPS pinpoint a potentially harmful condition, it can switch to AC power, stopping the power surge in its tracks, before it can cause any damage to devices that are connected. When the spike recedes, the UPS will connect to the main power supply again, carefully managing the ebbs and flows and ensuring that no damage occurs from power instability.
UPSes are not the only solutions to stave off load shedding though. For smaller businesses, a large inverter or generator might prove too expensive, particularly given the soaring costs of petrol these days, but a small inverter can keep a couple of PCs, an entry level printer, and WiFi running for a few hours too. Similarly, a power bank or a WiFi UPS can be a very useful tool for anyone who is stuck in the dark, with a cellphone battery that is running low. As long as the user remembers to keep the power bank/WiFi UPS charged up while the power is still on, it can be a lifesaver and can charge and keep connected a range of devices including WiFi Routers, small fans, tablets, speakers, headphones, small LED lights, cameras, phones, and Kindles.
Businesses need to look at the wide range of technologies that enable their staff to work anywhere and give them the connectivity and access to shared resources that they need. However, not all power solutions are created equally, so chatting with a trusted advisor or partner can help you make the right choice for your business and employees.
At Tarsus Distribution, we offer a solution to meet all possible business and home needs. Reach out to us today.