Case study: how new technology is installed in ancient buildings belonging to the National Trust

Inventive solutions for a difficult IT challenge

Jeremy Parsons is a regional support analyst for the National Trust and an expert at installing IT in difficult spaces. Parsons has handled some of the trust's trickiest situations, often having to install or amend IT without altering the fabric of a building. From Roman villas to island reserves, he has had to adopt novel technologies to install IT without obvious cabling.

"We need the customer-facing technology to be invisible," Parsons says. "Fortunately, there are tricks to making IT as invisible as possible."

He says several recent technological innovations have helped with this process.

"The most interesting new technology is using the existing power supply cabling to carry information," he says. "That's called 'internet over power'. It's been invaluable on a few occasions for us. We're now rolling it out quite extensively."

In remote locations, he says, satellite broadband has been the answer.

And if installing your own network is too expensive, it's possible that other commercial operators will allow you to piggy-back on existing ones.

"A key issue is that you should future-proof your building," he says. "Make sure you don't have to do the work again in three years' time.

"Another key thing is to get involved as early as possible. People often don't think about IT when they occupy a new building, and it's too late by the time technical people become involved. If a hole is being dug for any other reason, you can make sure it can be used for IT, too."

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