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Low-power desktop + UPS an answer to load shedding, says CloudGate

South African businesses are as dependent on IT systems as their counterparts anywhere else in the world – which makes the twin challenges of unreliable bandwidth and load shedding a real threat to competitiveness. But, locally developed computing alternatives can provide a way to keep working even when the lights are off, according to Jonathan Young of Cloudware Technologies.

Young says a CloudGate device running Android draws only 10W of power, and a Windows version only 15W – compared to around 300W for a typical desktop computer.

"That difference becomes dramatic when the power goes down," says Young. "A basic 650VA uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can keep a typical desktop going for 15-20 minutes, just long enough to shut down safely. But, in our tests, a CloudGate and a 17W monitor kept going for just over two hours."

Upgrading the UPS to 1 000VA more than doubled running time to four hours and 36 minutes, adds Young. "That's comfortably longer than the typical load shedding window," he points out. "If an office has 3G connectivity as a failover option, that means business can continue as usual, even without Eskom."

Prices for 1 000VA UPS systems start at well under R1 000, says Young. "If you consider the revenue lost to downtime, the investment is really worth it," he says.

"And if your connectivity is down due to load shedding, you can just hotspot to the WiFi in your pocket."

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