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Ruckus Wireless equipment as part of plans to roll new staff handheld devices and customer Wi-Fi out across its estate. Retail Technology spoke exclusively

to Rob Derbyshire, operations manager at Marston’s Telecoms, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company serving its properties, about the plans. Derbyshire said, where third-party

providers offer wireless networking services to retailers and hospitality operators, Marston’s Telecoms can pass on the benefits of its in-house expertise and wholesale buying power directly to its 2,000 pubs. “We used to enable ADSL [asymmetric digital subscriber line] and put an access point behind the bar,” he explained. “It worked okay. But now everyone expects


he Marston’s chain, the leading independent brewing and pub retailing business, has adopted

Wi-Fi, so we’re upping our game and adding additional capacity.” The decision to use Ruckus equipment

overcame any challenges presented in upgrading properties with poor existing cabling or a requirement for multiple access points without a wired network. The wireless provider’s system uses a Wi-Fi meshing approach that combines high-gain smart antenna arrays, sophisticated radio frequency (RF) routing and centralised management in a single wireless local area network (WLAN) system. “The focus has been on a handheld

deployment to deliver line-of-business systems and the public access Wi-Fi,” Derbyshire said. “Now we can offer blanket Wi-Fi for the business and customers that’s much better and more reliable.” The new Wi-Fi systems has already been rolled out to more than 10 of its pubs and

Derbyshire added that this would continue during 2013 according to customer demand and format. At the same time, work is ongoing to refine running the company’s electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) system on ruggedised Samsung tablet devices to help staff speed up the ordering process and upsell offers and food and drinks. “We would not be able to do as much with our old Wi-Fi system as we have with Ruckus,” he continued. “We can manage landing pages, authorise users and get customer insight that can help in making decisions around some of our most valuable assets. But we can also see the benefits of how we could also use it in future, to deliver vouchers for instance.” Marston’s Telecoms has also become a

Ruckus partner, which will also enable it to resell its specialised mobility expertise to other hospitality companies.


Firmdale Hotels has rolled out using Virtual Mitel Communications Director (vMCD) 5.0 across its seven London hotels, including The Soho Hotel and Covent Garden Hotel, as well as the Crosby Street Hotel in New York. Designed, implemented and managed by

Alternative Networks, the hotels can take advantage of a range of vMCD features to enhance the level of service offered to guests and drive effective communication between staff. A cordless front desk allows staff to move

between tasks more effectively using wireless handsets, with call and text features allowing them to keep in touch, manage guest requests efficiently and receive fire alarm alerts or VIP arrival notifications.

In the rooms, internet protocol (IP) telephony features enhance the guest experience by ensuring failed wake up calls are escalated, guests are greeted by name using room/caller ID and information is offered about guest services, local services and attractions. Mitel 5360 colour touchscreen IP telephones in common areas also present guests with images of hotel services together

with an associated quick response (QR) code, which allows guests to access information on their own mobile device, for example for restaurant menus and film club schedules. “Alternative Networks provided us with an impeccable

professional service and since moving to the Mitel system we have already seen multiple benefits,” said Mark Coey, Firmdale Hotels group deputy IT manager. “Our staff can stay in touch easily and work more efficiently and the solution also ensures that Firmdale is able to offer a more personal service to guests, in keeping with our values. In the future we plan to evolve our virtualised solution by integrating even further with mobile devices.”


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