UNITED OIL DEPLOYS CRADLEPOINT SOLUTION WITH INTEGRATED 4G LTE AS PRIMARY CONNECTIVITY
For United Oil, filling up the tank doesn’t have to mean just another forgettable trip to the corner gas station. The company, which started as a small, family owned business and has since grown to 126 retail stations throughout Southern California, prides itself on its award-winning architecture, distinctive facilities, exceptional customer service, and unparalleled value. The same standards of excellence are applied to United Oil’s IT operations, where everything from employee management, inventory control, pump sensors, and ATMs are driving value for the company.
United Oil had been using DSL for their 126 stores. The costs for broadband service could vary dramatically. Two identical gas stations across the street from one another could incur anywhere from $50 to $150 per month in Internet service charges. A wireless solution was appealing, and in fact the company had used Cradlepoint solutions for several years as a failover solution. Nevertheless, the company needed to ensure that they had sufficient bandwidth to run the many custom applications, including a cloud based time keeping system, a centralized back office system used to control POS and product promotions, and an inventory control system, that they had developed in house.
Given how happy the company was with Cradlepoint’s wireless backup solutions, and with the advent of 4G LTE, Director of Technology Bill De La Espriella looked to Cradlepoint as a primary connection for all of their gas stations where LTE coverage was available (at 106 of their retail locations).
“DSL billing has been out of control. With mobile broadband, however, we can pool our data plans with Verizon so if one area sees more usage, we don’t get hit with overages,” noted De La Espriella.
In addition, with LTE, the company felt they now had sufficient bandwidth to run their custom applications and no longer needed wired connections for the majority of their facilities.
De La Espriella is also doing away with traditional phone lines in locations where LTE is available, saving money by implementing a VoIP phone system. At most stations, Cradlepoint solutions, together with Verizon 4G LTE service, are replacing a DSL line and two phone lines.
United Oil is also harnessing the power of NetCloud Manager, Cradlepoint’s centralized remote management software. Rather than rely on staff in the stores to address Internet connectivity issues, the company’s IT department can monitor, troubleshoot, and resolve possible connectivity issues remotely without sending an IT person on site. De La Espriella’s staff can also remotely upgrade firmware, configure devices and set data usage alerts, saving his staff time and money.
United Oil gains a number of strategic advantages in deploying Cradlepoint technology:
Affordability: The cost savings of going from DSL and two phone lines to 4G LTE have been significant and provide the company with more stable and predictable broadband/telecom costs. The broadband cost savings paid for the Cradlepoint solutions in a matter of months.
Centralized Management: In managing the hardware deployed in more than 100 stations throughout the region, NetCloud Manager has become essential for configuring and monitoring devices, keeping tabs on connectivity status, and updating firmware quickly and easily on all connected devices.
Performance: The IT staff can segment the Cradlepoint routers into several VPNs in order to control traffic and bandwidth during peak periods of use and maximize security.
New Revenue Opportunities: The company previously hosted third-party ATM machines but is now able to deploy their own, creating another growing revenue stream.
De La Espriella concludes, “We’ve identified a way to not only optimize the technology in almost all of our stores but also to add more money to our bottom line in the process. We have the reliable bandwidth we need to run our various applications, our telephony system, and even new product and service offerings for our customers; and, we can manage it all centrally using cloud management to reduce the high costs of wired bandwidth while eliminating outages that would affect our stores’ business.”