Dunelm, Home furnishings retailer

A large-scale retailer needed to ensure reliable connectivity between its stores and reduce costs of a dual fixed line solution.

The Challenge

Dunelm has led the way in developing a sophisticated building management system for their stores. This increase in efficiency helped cut costs but meant that everything, including phones, payment, and even the music streamed to the customers, depended on the connectivity between Head Office and individual stores.

Recognising the importance of reliable communications and the high costs of failure, Dunelm developed a dual fixed line solution. However, this more than doubled the costs of the primary connection because the fixed line provider had to provide extra cabling from a more distant location and had to ensure that there were no common parts in the circuit. This made delivery difficult and time consuming. Even then, a major failure could still take impact both parts of the connectivity.

Dunelm needed to make communications between Head Office and individual stores more reliable but at the same time, needed to cut costs. Mobile connectivity was proposed as an ideal solution, but there was still the question of whether it could be reliable enough and meet the demands of a modern, complex retail store.

The Solution

Mobius worked in tandem with Dunelm and Adey Electronics to implement Mobius’ unique Dual SIM System and build a secure private network over mobile. This takes advantage of the very high throughput of Three Wholesale and Vodafone and the unique triple resilience offering makes for a robust connection at a cost-effective rate. The Mobius ‘IoT’ always on profile on Three and Vodafone means no chokes or fair usage policy, so throughput is always the best it can be.

Drawing on Mobius for their knowledge of building reliable, always-on networks and Adey Electronics for their specialist skills in robust hardware, the pilot stage proved that stores could run on mobile with the same end user experience as fixed- line. After some lessons were applied, a full roll out was green lighted by Dunelm and the system was rolled out over 150 stores.

To take advantage of the flexibility of the Adey hardware, a further upgrade has since been added where the system combines Vodafone and Three on the same site. This means that there is in effect three systems protecting every store – fixed line, Vodafone IoT and Three Wholesale, making each store more robust than before but still offering significant savings on operating costs.

The Benefits

Mobile means that there is no common point of failure between the three data paths, thus offering complete resilience and reliability, while the costs of implementation are a lot lower compared to a dual fixed line solution.

The same infrastructure can be used to support a new store opening and then form a backup system.

The high throughput meant that stores could function the same way either running over fixed line or mobile.