The Mediterranean summer season is upon us, and everyone is coming out of the lockdown mode, scrambling to ensure that everything is ready as soon guests are permitted to come onboard.
The polish ensures that everyone has to wear their sunglasses against the brilliant topsides. The engines are get their checkups and stores are being loaded. And the list goes on to ensure that everything is in top shape, but let me ask, have you done the same for the AV and IT system? Apart from getting the SIM cards sorted, VSAT contract in place, are you sure that the actual hardware is in ready state?
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The AV system so often slips to the bottom of the list, as it is working OK, maybe a reset of the hardware and away it hums. Internet is there, being alongside, without a full ship of guests with their demands at the same time wanting to watch the football, listen to their Spotify playlist and the kids watching the latest netflix movie on the their tablet. Darn, I know I should not have walked this passage way, every time I do my Whatsapp call cuts out!
Every vessel has its own particularities, half of them we get used to, the other half show up at the worst of times. So here is a checklist to help cover the major points, but do add this with what might be a variation in your setup, as no setup is the same as on the vessel next door!
On your main racks you should check
- Ventilation, is the cooling working and are the ventilation grids clear!
- Use a vacuum to suck out dust, and pressured air to blow out the fans on each equipment.
- Ensure all equipment is securely screwed in
- Cables are clear and bundled correctly not causing any obstruction
- All power supplies are running properly, no buzzing transformers, no power blocks loosely hanging.
- All connectors correctly plugged, no strain on any connector, no tension on any cable.
- All equipment earthed properly, no earth leaks, no noise on RF cables.
- Login into any management portals, ensure you have all the access credentials up to date, and that the logs don’t show any alarms.
- Is all firmware up to date, virus protection functioning, Firewall settings correct.
- No loose items left accidentally behind the racks, or in between equipment.
I cannot stress enough, most issues (I’d say well over 50%) are due to dust, overheating, and incorrectly (often untidily) cable management!
- Go to each cabin, common area, or other guest area with entertainment system installed and check all the functions in that zone with the guest user interface.
- Ensure docking and charging stations are accounted for and working!
- Ensure any portable devices, iPads etc are fully charged
- Ensure that any external equipment can be plugged in (Gameboy, Playstation, Baby monitors)
- Make sure that volumes are correctly set, no system starts up with volume set too high to blast the ears off first thing in the morning, and no system can be turned up to high to cause permanent damage to the speakers!
- Ensure you have the expected Wifi signal, do a simple speed check ( I suggest the Fing App, gives loads of useful information on your network!)
- Pull out any portable equipment and make sure it works, speakers, projectors, extra tablets, remotes.
And of course you want to ensure that all contract and licensing are up to date and maintained. It often costs significantly more to re-activate a license than to pay it on time.And better deals may have come up that you want to renegotiate your internet connection contract!
- Cellular modems
- Virus protection
- cellular SIM cards
- VSAT contract
And last but not least, do you have your backstop plan in place.. someone you can call upon. Someone who knows your system and is familiar with your methods of working, someone there to help you understand and not sell you the latest replacement.Someone who ensures your documentation is up to date and is able to help you remotely!
My interest is to ensure you have a system onboard that you understand, that you can operate and troubleshoot. And that you have someone on call that you can reach out to without hesitation who can help and access remotely. Because although you know how to fix an issue, it always seems to happen when you have already been called upon to do 5 other things at the same time! Call me!