European energy – bracing for a turbulent winter – It’s easy to take energy for granted. It helps keep us warm, safe, productive, clean, fulfilled, and healthy. However, the latest indicators show that Europe is now going into energy crisis mode, as a result of uncertainty over its capacity to source sufficient levels of energy to see itself through these next winter months. Europe’s media has been covering this worrying scenario on a daily basis, with sources like Bloomberg Europe predicting that power outages are ‘the next threat for the continent’. France has recently announced a €45bn rescue package to shield the country from energy cost increases. In the UK, the National Grid is bracing itself for ‘three-hour power cuts’, whilst in Spain, the government is considering ‘halting power-intensive firms during consumption peaks.
What does power disruption mean for critical IT applications?
The potential impact that a power fluctuation or power outage can have on your customers’ IT equipment is massive. Disruption can negatively impact in many ways – ranging from damage to equipment to loss of productivity, and even posing a risk to company employees’ well-being. Let’s, first of all, take a look at what power disruption could mean for the home:
For home and residential environments, the impact of power outages on IT equipment is not to be understated, especially as we approach the colder winter months. Power fluctuations resulting from an unstable power grid are capable of causing disruption and even damage to home office computing devices and electrical home entertainment equipment. And a full power outage could affect critical smart home functionality linked to lighting, heating, and security, for example, as well as severely hamper essential IT applications that residents and home office workers rely on in their daily operations. However, homes can mitigate the threat of power fluctuations and power outages, and therefore avoid disruption by installing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
For businesses that rely on critical IT equipment, the potential repercussions of power surges and outages can be devastating. An unstable power grid can adversely impact companies in terms of productivity, damage to IT equipment, loss of data, and even employee well-being. And of course, all of this can equate to potentially huge financial losses. Take data centre downtime for example – the average cost of a data centre outage is estimated at around €740,000, which works out to around €8,850 per minute in lost revenue and unproductive employees.
Here are a few scenarios where unstable or loss of power could negatively impact businesses:
- Internal business processes: like inventory tracking, quote tools, and invoicing coming to a halt
- Reduced employee productivity: due to limited access to online systems
- Communication issues: resulting from email servers going offline and Voice over IP phones shutting down
- Manufacturing line shutdown: the cost of machine resetting and disposal of waste material
- Contractual supply penalties: industrial/component suppliers for example
- Professional IT recovery costs: the expense associated with backing up core IT systems
- Lost sales revenue: customers are unable to contact customer service, and customer support unable to access customer account details
- Customer dissatisfaction and impact on corporate reputation: banking/call centres for example
However, businesses can avoid these daunting scenarios by installing UPS devices – to help them ensure power quality and availability in the event of power fluctuations or outages, and thus eliminate the risk of operational downtime.
How can IT partners help customers to mitigate poor power quality and availability?
As we can see, your customers’ critical IT equipment depends on clean and stable power. Without it, homes and businesses simply can’t function. And as the colder winter months put more pressure on already stretched European energy supplies, there is a real possibility that power grids across our region will struggle to deliver stable power around the clock. The good news is that IT partners can help to protect the critical IT infrastructure of their customer’s homes and businesses from power fluctuations and power outages – by installing a UPS.
So what exactly is a UPS?
A UPS is an electrical device that provides backup power stored in batteries to a critical load when the primary power source fails, providing near-instantaneous protection from harmful power interruptions. An offline UPS is the most common type of UPS, designed for non-critical applications. It draws current from the AC outlet and switches to the battery within a few milliseconds after detecting a power failure. An online UPS on the other hand is designed for critical IT applications and continuously provides clean power directly from the battery, rather than from the AC outlet. Some UPS offer built-in surge protection that filters out electrical surges and spikes.
UPS helps to protect IT appliances and other electrical equipment, not just in homes and small businesses, but also in larger-scale environments such as laboratories, telecommunications sites, data centres, and factories – where an unexpected power disruption to the critical IT infrastructure could result in business downtime as well as cause damage to critical IT infrastructure.
Schneider Electric – keeping IT powered on, around the clock
As a leading UPS manufacturer that works closely with established IT vendors like IBM, Dell, and Cisco, Schneider Electric helps IT professionals to differentiate and grow their business through access to a broad portfolio of UPS solutions that are designed to protect critical IT appliances and data in homes and businesses. So, even if you experience power fluctuations and blackouts over these coming months, rest assured we can help to keep your IT equipment up and running through this challenging period. What’s more, most of our UPS products are Green Premium™ certified and deliver compliance, transparency and higher environmental performance.