What happens when the power goes out?

If the power fails, how will your school cope? Lexel investigates the implications for the classroom and beyond, and why you should seriously consider
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).



We all know the frustration of a power outage, from food going off in the now-warm fridge to having to endure a cold shower.

Yet, what we often don’t think about or consider are the implications of when the power goes out in areas other than our home – like, for example, at school. Yes, the lights will go out, as will air conditioning and HVAC functions and computers, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Schools are becoming increasingly digitised. And the adoption of technology in education is set to grow exponentially. Think tablets, interactive whiteboards, BYOD, cloud computing, and mobile learning. These are not just educational devices but tools that the curriculum and syllabus are built around and have implications beyond the classroom.

Dependence on technology

In the next five to 10 years, we will see an even stronger dependence on technology. As the cost of 3D printing drops, students will be able to design, develop and interact with physical models to bring to life complicated concepts. A perfect example is chemistry students being able to print complex chemical structures to reinforce the technical differences between compounds. Similarly, gamification or game-based learning has proved to be a useful motivation and training tool, bridging the divide between education, productivity and recreation. Further on, we will also see the adoption of virtual and remote laboratories and the uptake of wearable devices to assist productivity in learning.

All of these technologies come back to the strength, reliability and efficiency of a school’s IT infrastructure. A common misconception is that the cloud has removed the need for a reliable network. What most people don’t realise, however, is that having workloads in the cloud doesn’t mitigate risk when there are local power issues. This is because networking infrastructure still requires power to connect to hosted applications.

Back-up power solution

What does this mean for schools? It means that the simple power outage is much more than the room going dark. Reliance on the IT infrastructure means data centre and network uptime is critical and any downtime occurred can result in losses in teaching and learning capacity.

As maintaining 100 per cent uptime is key to success, if there are any outages schools need to be able to rely on a sophisticated back-up power solution to keep things running. Not only does this mean engaging a provider who understands the complexities of the IT environment they’re operating in, but also one who can tailor a solution to minimise the impact when the power does go out. Another consideration is implementing a system that can grow with the school as the IT requirements continue to change and expand.

What will work for you?

First and foremost, it’s important to find a trusted provider who can tailor a solution to allow schools to seamlessly monitor and manage all their connected hardware. Pay special attention to the recommended Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) product, which means the power will never go out. Lexel is a Premier Partner of APC by Schneider Electric. Schneider works with a number of schools and, when considering a UPS product, always advises clients to ensure it is cost effective, has a small footprint and runs longer than other power units.

Beyond the UPS itself it is recommend that a system:

  • Reduces operational costs and capital expenditures by leveraging and optimising the existing infrastructure;
  • Increases energy efficiency through the monitoring and analysis of carbon footprint and energy usage;
  • Provides an open software platform through a robust, scalable and integrated solution; and
  • Is created by people who build data centres daily.

Optimise your investment

Technology is only as good as the infrastructure it relies on. When choosing a provider make sure they truly understand your individual school requirements, so they can provide the best solutions possible. A good start is making sure they undertake a thorough assessment of the site, charting how you school is currently using the network, as well as how this might change ongoing.

Finally, make sure the technology itself empowers your school to optimise the investment, so you can keep investing in the upcoming generation.  

Jamie Corrigan is the Reseller Partner Manager, APC NZ.

Lexel-logoFor a free assessment of your sites power needs to support your IT environment please contact Lexel’s Steve Kenyon on 09 414 1777 and steve.kenyon@lexeleducation.co.nz

Lexel Education Solutions is one of New Zealand’s leading IT infrastructure solution partners with 27 years’ experience and more than 120 staff.