The London 2012 Games are a huge business opportunity – but also a huge technical challenge. Intelligent hosting is the key, says Dominic Monkhouse of PEER 1 Hosting
The London 2012 Olympics are all but upon us – which is a good thing for sports fans all over the world, but not so good for the people responsible for avoiding site downtime as technical infrastructures are put under immense pressure. Work will have to continue under what will feel like unprecedented circumstances, particularly in London itself.
For many businesses, the Olympics bring the potential of increased revenue while also presenting potential of increased complexity. At PEER 1 Hosting, we have had a number of enquiries from businesses based in and around London and the south of England who are dependent on the internet – whether for back-office SaaS applications, ecommerce sites, customer service portals, virtual training, or anything in between – and who want to make sure their business benefits rather than suffers from the increased activity in the capital.
The logical thing to do will be to let people work flexibly. Jobs that don’t need face-to-face interactions with customers can be carried out remotely by anyone with a net connection. And there’s the rub.
The London Olympics may introduce systemic outage to an uncomfortable number of customers. Consider the following statistics:
- There will be 10,500 athletes taking part in the Games
- There are 8.8 million tickets available
- The Paralympics add another 4,200 athletes and 2.2 million tickets
- There will be 34 Olympic venues and 20 Paralympic venues
The scale of the event only truly sinks in when you consider those numbers. Moving people between venues is clearly a major issue, alongside countless other logistical considerations.
This struggle is a shame because the Olympics themselves will bring a lot of money and opportunity to the capital. To take advantage of these opportunities, businesses will need their systems to work reliably, every time, without question.
The UK government is advising people to turn off bandwidth-hungry applications like video streaming. This works in principle, but there are bound to be staff who want to take a squint at the athletics. And people wanting to work from home – a sensible option for many – will want to video conference.
This is not the place to discuss general policies on working from home as a productivity measure. However, it is a fact that UK law now states that anyone with children may ask to work flexibly and be taken seriously, as long as there is no business imperative to prevent it. Many people are already opting for what is commonly termed Bring Your Own Device, in which they work with their own smartphone or tablet rather than getting one from work: a great saving for their employers, but only if the network is working okay.
A robust infrastructure is therefore a must for any business looking to avoid interruptions to its internet-dependent systems throughout the duration of the Games.
Some hosting companies are now prioritising getting their customers through the Olympics as painlessly as possible. They are fully aware that they are responsible for business infrastructures on which people’s livelihoods depend and do not underestimate the stresses the Games will put on London’s internet infrastructure.
You should be looking for a solution that is walled in to ensure you are insulated from the worst of those stresses: one that is contractually as well as technically robust. Above all, you should feel confident the provider has exactly the right people in place to support it.
Using a provider that is experienced and an expert in its field, and which is also concerned to make its offerings as ecologically sound as possible, will continue to pay dividends for a forward-looking business long after the Olympics have been and gone.
The Olympics will be a great showcase for the capital if businesses get the chance to shine when the pressure is on. The right hosting provider can take the stress off the business managers and IT departments, who can then continue making strategic contributions, rather than fire-fighting difficulties that should never have arisen in the first place.
PEER 1 Hosting has launched its own ‘Team 2012’ to offer assistance to businesses needing to stay online during the Olympics. You can find out more on its website.