TOUR & TRANSPORTATION COMPANY USES CRADLEPOINT FOR POS & CCTV, ALONG WITH CLOUD MANAGEMENT FOR INSTANT UPDATES
Statue Cruises is the exclusive provider of tickets and tours to and from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York City. To ensure uninterrupted credit card processing and CCTV camera feeds, the company uses the AER2100 and NetCloud Manager to utilize WiFi as WAN for primary connections and cellular broadband failover whenever the boats travel outside the range of their WiFi network.
Statue Cruises operates eight boats that bring people to and from the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, with departure points at New York City and New Jersey. With its unique position as the sole means of transportation at these two nationally recognized landmarks, the company also has a unique responsibility to uphold the utmost passenger security.
AGENCY NEEDS & SOLUTIONS
In early 2013, it became clear that Statue Cruises needed a more reliable connectivity solution for its on-boat Point-of-Sale (POS) system. The company was using ProxyCast cellular routers, which provided only intermittent connectivity for POS. Also, the routers frequently would reset to factory default settings if left unpowered for a certain period of time—necessitating extraneous man-hours spent troubleshooting.
Statue Cruises solved its connectivity and configuration challenges by deploying Cradlepoint’s COR Series routing platforms. Along with being about a quarter of the size of the organization’s previous routers, the devices provided constant connectivity for POS services that could be depended on.
The next year, Statue Cruises, which had CCTV and DVRs on each vessel, decided to bolster its passenger security by adding the ability to live stream camera feeds from the boats back to headquarters. The company’s solution of choice was Cradlepoint’s AER2100 routing platforms, along with Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager.
To minimize cellular data usage, IT systems administrator Jerry Burchard led the implementation of antennas at various shore locations in New Jersey and New York, creating a wireless network that began utilizing the AER2100 routers’ 5 GHz WiFi signal for WiFi as WAN. Whenever the passenger ferries travel outside the WiFi network, the AER2100 seamlessly fails over to 4G LTE, providing uninterrupted network connectivity.
Rapid Configuration & Deployment: Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager (NCM) enables Statue Cruises’ IT team to quickly and easily mimic router configuration for fast deployment that reduces man-hours.
When the IT team initially deployed Cradlepoint’s COR Series routers, they did it without remote cloud management. They configured each router one by one, carefully following the documentation they had on file from their previous solution. By using NCM during the team’s subsequent deployment of Cradlepoint’s AER2100 platforms, Burchard said the process was much easier.
“We simply plugged a SIM card in and we could see it was online. Then we used NCM to immediately mimic configurations from the COR IBR600 on the AER2100s.”
Consistent Connectivity Enabling Reliable POS: Reliable in-vehicle POS is absolutely essential for Statue Cruises, which sells snacks and souvenirs on board. Cradlepoint ensures that credit card processing can be counted on, day in and day out.
“After installing the AER2100s, on-board credit card transactions went from a few dollars per day to about $1,000 per day,” said Burchard.
Instant Updates and Monitoring From a Central Location: NCM gives Burchard the freedom to instantly update firmware and patches, as well as troubleshoot, rather than having to wait for each boat to dock before addressing the problem or necessary updates.
“Instead of being forced to get on the boat to make a change, we can make the adjustment right from our desk. With NCM, I save so much time and energy,” said Burchard.
Flexibility to Easily & Quickly Expand Applications: With Statue Cruises considering adding public WiFi to its range of services sometime soon, the organization recognizes that the AER2100’s dual-modem functionality would allow them to easily add a second modem to keep WiFi separate from POS.
Pop-Up Connectivity Opportunities: With AER2100s connecting POS and CCTV on its boats, Statue Cruises now uses its COR Series routers to provide instant connectivity whenever and wherever additional needs arise. Statue Cruises uses COR Series platforms on shore to support real-time sharing of passenger counts with the home office, the Coast Guard, and the Nationals Parks Service. This data helps Statue Cruises manage passenger flow and vessel travel patterns.
“We pretty much throw a Cradlepoint at anything that we need instant connectivity for. The answer always ends up being a Cradlepoint,” Burchard said.