As businesses scrambled to respond to Covid-19 protocols, there was a lot of talk about what was truly essential to maintain our population in lockdown.
There were some obvious essential services such as our hospitals and supermarkets, but what else was essential? Electricity generation was surely essential, the internet needed to stay on, as did the ventilators in the Intensive Care Wards, the production lines in our factories continued to operate and the EFTPOS machines took our money and processed the transactions at one of the trading banks data centres.
During the month of lockdown our Engineers were not nearly as busy as they would normally be, but when called upon to keep New Zealand working they donned their PPE and joined the scores of seen and unseen essential workers who showed up to work so that the rest of us could stay home, stay safe and save lives.
When we ran the numbers it was not surprising to find that we spent most of our time keeping power/water and communications operating, closely followed by supporting the healthcare sector.
We are very proud to have been able to contribute and live our mission:
To lead the UPS industry by providing quality equipment, superior customer service, technical innovation and on time delivery. We realise we cannot exist without the support of our customers, suppliers and staff and we will treat them all with integrity and professionalism.
Like many businesses, UPS Power Solutions responded to the Covid-19 threat by moving staff to work from home. Our staff had access to our server via terminal services and VPN using company laptops so Infrastructure was sorted – right?
There is one flaw in this plan however and that is back-up power in the event of a power outage. Yes, laptops have their own battery which provides some business continuity in the event of a power outage, but access to our server relies on our teams’ home internet connection.
Ensuring our staff could work from home even in a power outage was a key consideration in our Business Continuity Planning and Covid-19 planning. Small user installable UPS units were provided to staff to ensure communications were maintained even in the case of power outages.
On Tuesday 24 March, one of our Senior UPS Engineers, Sam Lingman was working from home when his suburb suffered a total power outage that lasted close to two hours.
The local shopping centre was evacuated with shoppers leaving their goods in stores and unable to complete purchases due to tills and EFTPOS systems losing power.
Sam was able to continue working throughout as his UPS continued to provide power to his router and ONT.
I was able to continue working uninterrupted, liaise with the team and access the company server. The laptop battery would have given me an hour or so but without the UPS I’d have had no internet I’d have been completely isolated without the tools I need to assist our customers and continue working.