CAT Entertainment Services Provides New UPS Tech to IT-Centric Compounds

Cat Entertainment Services (CES) has been a fixture of live-sports-production truck compounds for more than two decades, providing redundant power to fuel the productions. However, as the compounds become more IT-centric, the power requirements to accommodate the increased computing power onsite are changing. CES is adapting to these changes, providing newfangled uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for broadcasters.

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CAT Entertainment Services once again powered the entire MLB All-Star Game truck compound in San Diego earlier this month.

“With the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things, there is a technology revolution going on, and we are able to rethink how CAT approaches the challenge of eliminating any type of equipment failure,” says Phil Wessels, national sales manager, CES. “CAT is now able to make all the components of a system talk to each other, to work with each other, and to actually think. Key to this is that it is talking to us, we are talking back, and all working together.”

For Fox Sports’ coverage of the recent MLB All-Star Game in San Diego, CES deployed a power system embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, enabling all system components to collect and exchange data. This allows CES engineers to anticipate problems, analyze data, and respond in real time to make adjustments. The CES team on the ground at the compound receives instant text messages telling them when performance threshold is not being met, allowing them to act immediately.

“Over the last year, we have been utilizing and perfecting UPS solutions to offer complete redundancy for important events like the All-Star Game,” says Mike Davies, SVP, field and technical operations, Fox Sports. “CAT has been helping by listening to us in terms of what our needs are and has developed solutions, both large and tactical, to fulfill these goals. The All-Star Game was a good start at the kinds of facilities we are looking at deploying in a much bigger way.”

Introduced at MLB All-Star, the new UPS module provides battery backup in situations where multiple input-power sources drop offline and features redundant HVAC systems to keep the equipment cool.

On a hot afternoon in San Diego in the lead-up to the All-Star Game, the UPS’s second HVAC unit automatically came online as a backup, and the CES team received a text that it had come online 2 degrees higher than instructed. Investigation through a remote laptop showed that a temperature sensor needed adjustment. Although the CES team could have made the adjustment remotely, engineers investigated inside the system and quickly changed a setting to bring it into alignment.

“What is exciting is, we can make the same type of changes throughout the system, either from a local smartphone or from our command and control center at our headquarters in Florida,” says Wessels. “Our reaction time is incredible, and we can evaluate anything that our system feels is concerning. We are anticipating and not reacting. CAT is excited to lead the industry into the application of new technologies to make a difference for our customers.”

According to Wessels, the growing role of IT at truck compounds will continue to fuel CES’s innovation as it looks to the next generation of power-supply technologies.

“This is just the beginning,” he says. “Our team, which is a combination of our internal engineering and select strategic partners, is continually improving security, communications encryption, data analytics, and predictive maintenance. These are all terms we did not use even five years ago but are now driving our solutions. Simply put, it is an exciting time for both CAT and our customers.”

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