Fashion Retailer East Deploys Instore Meraki WiFi & iPads

Value Added DistributorCloud Distribution, has announced that through its partner Vodat International that it has implemented a Meraki wireless LAN network into high street women’s fashion retailer East UK.


The new Meraki Cloud Controller provides centralised network management for WiFi across 70 retail outlets in the UK.  Additionally the Meraki access points support reliable, seamless coverage for iPads and other devices. Richarrd Muir, IT Infrastructure Administrator, East Ltd comments on the new Meraki solution. “The results have been brilliant. We’ve got powerful signal strength, well-made devices, and an easy-to-use dashboard with a lot of functionality.”


In 2011, EAST Ltd wanted to deploy iPads to sales assistants across all of its stores, both to facilitate internal communication between stores as well as to provide a means for showcasing clothing and fashion accessories not available in the store’s current inventory. However, EAST had no WiFi in its stores and therefore turned to its technology partner Vodat International to gain guidance on the best solution to implement in order to enable iPad usage.


Not only was East looking to implement instore Wifi but it also wanted to have centralised management across all its locations so that it could easily monitor and track the iPad usage as this was a new means of servicing customers.


Vodat recommended a cloud managed network from Meraki and East was impressed and quickly recognised the advantages that Meraki offered and deployed 71 Meraki 802.11n access points across its stores.  Richard Muir comments:


“We needed a secure, high performance solution. If we didn’t have Meraki installed we would need a controller at every store, which would be hard to manage and we would not have any centralised control from our headquarters. Now, using Meraki we can control each access point from the cloud and we have network-wide visibility of device and bandwidth usage via a web-based dashboard.”


The solution is PCI Compliant, and each access point includes built-in enterprise class features like a stateful policy firewall, 802.1X/RADIUS support, Network Access Control (NAC), and Wireless Intrusion Detection and Prevention (WIDS/WIPS), right out of the box.


Because of Meraki’s unique cloud architecture, Richard Muir can see the access point’s locations, performance, and usage on his web-based Meraki dashboard, “The dashboard is a great tool for monitoring our wireless devices as well as detecting rogue devices in the area,” Richard Muir said. “We can also see interference and easily change channel configurations, which is useful to us for ensuring reliable performance.”


The new wireless network supports laptops and iPhones for Regional Business Managers, increasing convenience and communication. Meanwhile, the in-store iPads replace printed catalogues, save sales assistants time in finding information, and increase engagement with customers, explained Richard Muir. The iPads are a great communication tool. Sales assistants can communicate between stores and head office, access the company blog, and share new products with customers. The stores love having them.”


Greg Harris, co-founder of Cloud Distribution comments: “Through our partner Vodat, we are seeing great traction for Meraki WiFi in the retail sector for exactly the reasons that East has highlighted.  The retail sector has suffered in this recession so any mechanism or technology that will help retailers to upsell, cross sell, gain customer loyalty and create a competitive advantage are being rapidly adopted.  East is just one of many retail success stories in the last year for Meraki and I expect we will see many more deployments of this nature in 2012 as retailers look to get ahead of their rivals.”


Paul Leybourne, Head of Sales at Vodat International, comments: “With Meraki we have a strong Wi-Fi solution in our portfolio and can provide our customers with a reliable offering at a time when retailers are starting to deploy wireless devices to deliver a better customer experience. Meraki helps us to meet our customers’ future needs for wireless connections.”

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