Cradlepoint Solutions Enable ‘Bring Your Own Network’ for Security-Conscious Organizations
ChargeItSpot provides multi-faceted value for retail stores and venues with its free phone charging stations. It’s a popular amenity that is only feasible with always-on connectivity — and is more palatable to retailers and other venues if ChargeItSpot can stay off their corporate networks.
ChargeItSpot enlisted Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for IoT, delivered through purpose-built IoT routers. The solution provided the connection reliability and flexibility necessary to keep these kiosks connected and separate from other networks.
Philadelphia-based ChargeItSpot saves consumers from their constantly dying phones with free and secure phone charging stations. ChargeItSpot’s customizable kiosks are located in retail stores, malls, casinos, hospitals, and arenas. Specific clients include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Under Armour, Uniqlo, Westfield Malls, Caesars Entertainment, Dell, and dozens of other customer-centric brands.
Businesses use ChargeItSpot as an out-of-home branding platform to win consumer affinity and increase brand awareness. Brands become heroes while collecting key consumer insights such as opt-in email addresses, mobile numbers, and survey responses. In retail stores in particular, a study conducted by GfK showed ChargeItSpot users shop for twice as long, convert at a higher rate, and ultimately spend more dollars at the register.
When ChargeItSpot prepared to launch its innovative phone charging kiosks, the team knew that two of its biggest hurdles would be connectivity and security.
The kiosks required wireless WAN, as they must be able to be moved at any moment. Further, the large brands interested in installing ChargeItSpot kiosks were wary of potential data breaches, particularly in light of significant incidents that some large companies have experienced in recent years.
With retailers not wanting ChargeItSpot to tie into their store networks, the company knew it needed LTE for connectivity, noting the mobility, flexibility, and speed it provides. For kiosk deployments in NFL stadiums, ChargeItSpot faced the unique challenge of environments that accommodate just 300 to 400 employees on weekdays, but as many as 90,000 people for a game or concert. Such a sizable jump can greatly strain bandwidth, causing painfully slow speeds.
After hearing about Cradlepoint from manufacturers, service providers, engineers, and other kiosk companies, ChargeItSpot selected Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for IoT. The service includes edge computing, SD-Perimeter technology for device-to-cloud security, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via an IoT router with embedded LTE, 24x7 support, and a limited lifetime warranty.
"Ultimately we wanted a product that is proven in the industry, and that is durable, secure, and will just last. Cradlepoint has that reputation," said Robert Kay, Senior Vice President of Operations, ChargeItSpot.
Even in huge NFL stadiums filled with tens of thousands of people, ChargeItSpot’s essential applications run on Cradlepoint solutions with impressive consistency.
“We’ve had very steady connectivity, and our kiosks have performed extremely well in that environment,” Kay said.
SECURITY FOR THE STORE & THE KIOSK
The routers support secure, reliable VPN functionality, keeping data safe as it travels to and from these widely dispersed kiosks.
The stores and venues that host the kiosks enjoy the ability to keep their networks physically separate from ChargeItSpot’s own network.
CARRIER FLEXIBILITY FOR EFFICIENT DEPLOYMENT
The diversity of environments where ChargeItSpot kiosks are deployed is vast, and the carrier that offers the most reliable LTE connectivity changes from site to site. With Cradlepoint's NetCloud Service and IoT routers, switching carriers is quick and easy — which expedites the installation process.
The expertise and willingness of Cradlepoint’s support staff allows Kay to confidently and enthusiastically recommend Cradlepoint to others in the industry.
“I have found Cradlepoint’s support team to be extremely knowledgeable and easy to access,” Kay said.
IDEAL FORM FACTOR
Cradlepoint’s sleek shape and compact size are vital for kiosk providers such as ChargeItSpot. The IoT routers easily fit into the limited space available in the back end of the charging stations.
“Inside the housing of the kiosk, there’s always limited space,” Kay said. “No matter how big the kiosks look from the outside, there’s a lot going on in the inside.”
The multi-WAN capabilities of Cradlepoint’s solutions offer ChargeItSpot’s IT team connectivity options.
“We love the flexibility because it will work not only on the LTE network, it also has the failover or failback technology that allows it to roll over to WiFi in the event that there’s any interruption in service,” Kay said.
In rare instances where encumbrances such as concrete, cabling, and more prevent a reliable LTE signal, the charging kiosks use wired lines running through the Cradlepoint routers..
AUTO RESTART & REFRESH
ChargeItSpot takes full advantage of the solution’s dynamic reset functionality. When a router loses connectivity, it automatically restarts and refreshes the connection.