Wexford Opera Festival in tune via €100,000 IT investment


9 Feb 2009

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The organisers of the world-renowned Wexford Opera Festival have invested €100,000 in a new IT system that incorporates state-of-the-art IP communications, point of sale systems and data security.

The opera festival’s organisers signed a deal with Datapac for the new solution, which incorporates a Cisco Call Manager Solution providing the voice platform, along with a WLAN controller and WLAN.

It also incorporates Microsoft RMS point of sale software, IBM point of sale hardware, Cisco ASA firewall, Hewlett Packard (HP) PCs and printers, HP and Symantec back-up solution and Datapac 24-hour support and maintenance.

“We wanted to modernise our outdated IT infrastructure,” explained David McLoughlin, chief executive, Wexford Festival Trust (WFT).

“By means of a new IT infrastructure, it was our aim to create an IT platform that would be flexible as well as adjustable to all areas of the theatre, and allow us to communicate electronically regardless of time, place and device”.

The backbone of the solution is the Cisco switched network, along with a wireless LAN controller that creates and enforces policies across a large number of access points and allows everyone access to the web, as well as move wirelessly around the building depending on where the various performances and rehearsals take place.

Sixty full-colour display IP phones have been implemented to allow WFT staff and visitors communicate efficiently. Some of these have restricted access so WFT can control the use and costs.

Datapac implemented Microsoft RMS and IBM point of sale hardware, which allows the smooth running of the Opera House’s bars and cafes. WFT can now track detailed information on quantities in stock, re-order points and restocking levels for each item on the system.

It also provides details on the generated daily sales, as well as sales and profit analysis, including margin reports. New hardware – PCs, laptops and printers – were also installed.

Due to the increased amounts of data being processed, an enterprise-class Cisco ASA firewall was implemented to protect the system from intrusion, as well as a HP and Symantec backup solution. 

Datapac provides 24-hour support and maintenance cover, which is critical for WFT as the operas take place after hours.

“Ease of maintenance and support means the theatre’s staff can concentrate its resources on its core business,” McLoughlin explained. “The easy access to information, improved functionality and faster processing of data has reduced the time spent on the system.

The next phase for WFT is to incorporate videoconferencing as an application, which would allow it to hold worldwide auditions and access a variety of talents.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the O’Reilly Auditorium at Wexford Opera House

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