Power failure knocks out thousands of alarms and card terminals across Sweden

Power failure knocks out thousands of alarms and card terminals across Sweden
Thousands of card terminals were knocked out in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
Thousands of panic alarms and card terminals throughout Sweden were down for several hours on Tuesday due to an IT crash at wireless communications firm Sierra Wireless.

Alarms around the country stopped working at 12:30 on Monday due to a power failure that brought down Sierra Wireless servers, which are linked to around a fifth of Sweden’s home panic alarms (systems often used by the elderly and disabled) and thousands of its card terminals.

About 13,000 card terminals operated by company Babs paylink were knocked out. “Everything from cafes and restaurants to regular stores,” their CEO explained.

Around 1,300 alarms were disrupted in Östersund alone meanwhile. Municipalities were forced to initiate manual solutions like half-hourly calls and extra home visits.

Systems finally started to work as they should again at 21:00, according to Sierra Wireless.

“There was a malfunction after a power failure and a number of servers didn’t start as they should have. Now traffic is flowing but certain services are not back yet. I think the worst is over,” Sierra Wireless CEO Dan Mårtensson told news agency TT.

As many as 15,000 alarms were hit, and some electricity meters were even impacted. Such a problem only happens around once every two years according to Sierra Wireless.

The problem with card terminals in particular is likely to have been a pain for plenty of Swedes – both businesses and individuals. The country is one of those that has come furthest towards becoming a cash-free society, with cash transactions accounting for just two percent of the value of all payments – a figure predicted to fall to 0.5 percent within five years.

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