A managed enterprise WLAN is flexible, secure, reliable – and an important step forward in the digital era. As a one-stop service, it enables retailers to enjoy the efficiency- and productivity-enhancing features of wireless LAN technology in all their physical stores – without having to employ local network experts. This brings a host of benefits. Above all, it supports better communications between all employees. For example, they can use tablets or smartphones to capture data on-the-spot (mobile data acquisition), which can then be stored and managed centrally. An enterprise WLAN can also be leveraged to launch new in-store services, such as digital signage or the installation of a connected coffee machine at any location within the physical retail environment.
A further major advantage: retailers can digitize goods receipts and warehouse processes. Mobile scanners can be deployed to keep precise track of inventories, and orders can be automatically issued to suppliers via a central database to replenish out-of-stock goods. Product information, too, can be managed more easily, simply, and on the move. These improvements mean that all in-store staff can work with greater efficiency, and have more time for customers. They can provide better, more in-depth advice, and can show shoppers product information and images on handhelds – anywhere, anytime, thanks to an enterprise WLAN.
Hotspots as a supplement to the analogue shopping experience
By making WLANs and hotspots available to their customers, retailers can boost the appeal of their bricks-and-mortar outlets to the buying, surfing public. Fast Internet does not just raise satisfaction levels and extend dwell time. It also means shoppers are able to perform research and check for the best prices while in the physical outlet – or find inspiration through enticing recipes, prompting them to purchase the corresponding cooking utensil. A hotspot platform allows the targeted delivery of up-to-the-minute information, promotions and advertising. Videos, images and even surveys can be presented to the user during the time it takes for the destination website to load after log-in; this content is geared to the individual user, and available no matter where they are currently located within the store. Moreover, this technology lends itself to a variety of market research and feedback scenarios.
Content BOXX: local, personalized content
An enterprise WLAN from Deutsche Telekom enables retailers to distribute digital content to customers quickly and easily. Content Boxx can be used to store a variety of materials, such as videos, photos, brochures, assembly instructions, lists of ingredients, even games. While the consumer is in the physical store, they can download or stream these files to their mobile devices at lightning speed. Retailers can provide these resources free-of-charge to visitors within a defined space – in a way reminiscent of doctors providing patients with magazines and newspapers in their waiting room.
Internet for all – without worries
The concept of an open enterprise WLAN accessible to all immediately raises security concerns with many retailers. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that commercial operators of open WLANs cannot be held liable for illegal activity on the part of users – this is an important first step. As a consequence, the German government removed a corresponding liability provision in the proposed amendment to its telecommunications legislation. However, until legal certainty in favor of the operator is established, Deutsche Telekom is, as the provider, solely liable for any unlawful use of an enterprise WLAN service by a customer.