Feature Story: 17. September 2008
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Singapore National Day

Helping Singapore to shine on its National Day

A symbol of pride for all Singaporeans, National Day celebrations attract hordes of spectators to Singapore's Marina Bay. Last year, 27,000 people took to the world's largest floating platform for a visual feast of fireworks, aerial displays, laser shows and marching bands. Through the provision of world class IT solutions and connectivity, HP played a crucial role in the festivities. Thanks to the success of their efforts behind the scenes, the company was the natural choice to back this year’s event. Any expectations, however, that the 2008 National Day Parade would simply be a repeat of the previous year were soon quashed, with the organising committee throwing up a host of new challenges to be met. Challenges that HP embraced with enthusiasm and its usual high level of expertise.

Setting new standards

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Major Mike Chua

Given the response from Singaporeans to the inaugural Parade at Marina Bay, Major Mike Chua, Chairman of Communications for NDP 2008, and the event organising committee were keen to up the ante. They wanted to deliver a spectacle unrivalled by any previous Parade. Fittingly the Republic of Singapore Air Force was celebrating its 40th anniversary which provided the opportunity for the inclusion of a spectacular six-minute aerobatic display by the RSAF Black Knights. Added to this a multi-sensory experience, including ‘pyrotechnics symphony’, jet ski, stunt kite and powerboat ‘Bay Show’, as well as a military freefall display by Singapore Armed Forces parachutists, and ensuring a smooth National Day Parade meant a major overhaul of the back-end system.

“We had to rebuild the communications framework from scratch, and make sure that every area was wired and connected," said Major Chua. "What was more challenging was the fact that we only had one month to complete the entire project.”

Rebuilding the communications framework was also necessary in order to accommodate additional levels on top of the existing seating gallery, which included lift shafts and elevators. With this year’s Show and Operations Centres reconfigured for wireless throughput, mobile IT solutions were required, as well as computer systems powerful enough to manage the constant flow of data, such as video and image streaming.

Reliable equipment was also needed for the collection of tickets which involved the scanning and display of attendees' ID card details. And at the very outset, the creation of maps and charts for presentation purposes meant that the organising committee required robust printing solutions capable of handling such detailed, large-scale jobs.

Over the course of just a few phone calls with HP, the National Day Parade organising committee had what they needed, HP’s swift response gave the committee the time they needed to set up the new infrastructure. HP staff also advised committee members on aspects of the hardware in order to facilitate a more streamlined implementation.

Delivering the goods

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“HP was very active and in tune with our needs, and had no problems providing us with solutions that met our requirements perfectly," said Major Chua. "They did not hesitate in giving us the suite of products and solutions we requested.”

According to specifications, HP provided the organising committee with HP Compaq Business Notebook 2210b PCs, and three unique printer solutions - the HP Photosmart C7280 All-in-One, HP Photosmart C4280 All-in-One and HP Officejet Pro K8600 Colour Printer.

Almost every member of the organising committee was given an HP Compaq notebook, enabling them to conduct their work on the fly, and from anywhere within the Parade precinct. The portable computers also played a crucial role when it came to fulfilling the necessary security initiatives. Surveillance cameras situated at thirty different points around the Marina Bay area recorded and streamed footage directly to the laptops. It was therefore essential that the notebooks were robust enough to handle the continuous run of images and video feeds.

“We also needed a system that had a superior graphics card to prevent lapses when viewing the real-time footage," said Major Chua. "The HP Compaq Business Notebook 2210b PC was able to deliver that wonderfully.”

The notebooks also proved themselves highly adept during the ticket collection phase; a crucial period demanding glitch-free functionality. In fact, so reliable were the notebooks that staff retained them after the festivities for the post-NDP 2008 Appreciation Night.

And on the topic of reliability, the HP printers performed beautifully under what would normally be considered trying conditions.

“Even though we had more than 40 notebooks connected to just two printers, we didn't suffer any downtime at all,” said Major Chua.

Sharing the Singapore spirit

To the strains of Parade finale, Shine! Singapore Spirit, a song composed specially for the day, NDP 2008 organisers put the finishing touches on yet another hugely successful national birthday celebration—thanks in part to the technical support delivered by HP.

“We achieved synchronisation on all our activities,” said Major Chua. “Be it traffic monitoring on the big day, getting updates on our inventory status or just the ability to share files with one another over the web, HP has facilitated in helping us create a seamless environment.”

Colonel Wong Kan Foo, Sponsorship Chairman for NDP 2008, echoed these sentiments:

“Being involved in NDP 2008 certainly speaks well for HP as it sets a good example for others to be corporate citizens,” said Colonel Wong. “The organisation has no qualms about giving back to the community and this proves how responsible it is.”

For HP and the NDP organising committee, National Day Parade 2008 was further reinforcement of an already strong and fruitful relationship. For the people of Singapore it was another feast for the senses and the perfect way to celebrate their nation’s birthday.

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