Dealing with the Public: Who Is Responsible When the System Falls?

Brazil is experiencing a bubbling phase for event professionals. Of course we also refer here to the great events that will happen in the next years, the World Cup and the Olympics, but these bring with them a whole millionaire structure to provide solutions that do not penalize the public in case there are system problems.

This post, however, refers more to events of smaller – and not least important – events that also demand alternative solutions in cases where things do not go according to plan. They are contingency solutions, that is, plan B that allows processes to continue, even if not ideally as they were thought out.

Imagine a family hiring the best ceremonial for a wedding party in a beautiful city hotel with 800 guests, watered down to the best champagne, first-rate buffet and Ivete Sangalo show.And … in the middle of the party there is no light!Who is responsible for the failure of the event?Certainly the hotel has its share of commitment, but it is the responsibility of the ceremonial to predict such situations and guarantee, for example, the generator that it will assume in contingency.

In the access control of large public events such as shows and sports matches, the promoters of the events are responsible for hiring contingency mechanisms.It is up to them to foresee situations and to contract products and services that guarantee that the final public will not be harmed.Among the situations that commonly occur, we list:

– application servers and / or databases that freeze or crash;
– turnstiles that stop communicating with the access server, and can no longer validate the tickets, preventing public access;
– ratchets of the same gate that stop functioning, preventing access by that gate;
– slowness in data networks;
– lack of electricity;
– ticket offices that lose communication with the ticket server and stop issuing tickets;
– a box-office printer that breaks, when there’s a 100-person queue at this booth.

We can recommend some contingency solutions for such happenings:

  1. Backup server maintenance, which has production database mirroring;
    2. Backup server maintenance for the applications;
    3. Mechanism of continuous checking of servers (watch-dog); when a server stops responding, this mechanism immediately triggers the backup;
    4. For installations that depend on the Internet, contracting a secondary communication link;
    5. Use of lists in ratchet memory, in case of total loss of communication with the server, allowing the validation of the ticket locally;
    6. Record in the memory of the ratchet of the hits made while it is offline with the server;
    7. Isolation of turnstiles and servers in the same local network;
    8. Internal battery in the ratchets as first contingency level in case of power failure;
    9. No-breaks connected to turnstiles and servers, capable of maintaining operation during the time of access to the event;
    10. Backup ticket printers.

These solutions are often offered by technology vendors, but imply a higher cost for deploying the system.In this way, they sometimes stop being implanted, entailing risks.And when the system does not work, who is responsible?The injured we already know.

The cost of contracting contingencies must be understood by those responsible for events as an “insurance” for the business.It’s better to pay this price than to risk the failure of the event!

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