Case Study: Maplin Retail – Wi-Fi Project
Maplin Electronics is the UK’s largest specialist retailer of consumer electronics. Maplin now has more than 200 stores across the UK & Ireland with over 15,000 different products and a turnover in excess of £200M which it is in no small part due to their superior customer service. Over 2,000 customer service staff help thousands of customers across hundreds of stores make informed choices about their technology purchases every day.
“We’re all about sensational service, so we wanted a way in which our store colleagues could maximise the time they spent on the shop floor helping customers and spend less time on tasks that took them away from the shop floor,” Mark Smith, IT Director at Maplin Electronics.
Maplin needed to implement WiFi across its UK stores. They needed a partner to survey, design, install, implement and commission the solution without disruption to business.
Maplin wanted a separate secure wireless network in all the stores to support the wireless hand held terminals and also one that they could centrally control. To allow the hand held terminals to connect to the networks, WiFi coverage was required in all areas of the store, including offices and stock rooms. In addition to the hand held terminals,
Maplin also needed a secure way of providing network connectivity to regional managers visiting the stores throughout the week.
Connectivity was needed in all areas of the store, including the offices, therefore Wireless LAN was the perfect solution.
ISG was selected by Maplin as their preferred partner for the project and has now adopted the ISG Technology/Meraki WiFi design for all of their upcoming new stores.
The Meraki WiFi solution would provide a secure and scalable platform to all of Maplin’s store estate allowing them to be easily added into the existing WLAN infrastructure.
As part of an initial design phase, ISG Technology surveyed a selection of sites and identified the number and location of access points required at each site to provide the necessary coverage.
The output from these site surveys was presented to Maplin and an aggressive programme of works was put in place to complete the initial phase of 200 sites in a six-week installation window.
Maplin have their wireless network set up with one hidden SSID that the wireless hand held terminals authenticate to using a pre-shared key with WPA2 encryption.
‘From the dashboard we could configure everything we needed to and then as soon as the AP was plugged in, it just worked! And without the need for an onsite controller,’ said Smith. They were particularly excited with how the cloud architecture could scale to Maplin stores across the country.
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