Posts Tagged ‘customer webinar’

Making Informed Decisions with Data, Analytics, and APIs

Organizations are rich with information sources, from point-of-sale solutions and IoT sensors to camera systems and wireless access points. This data promises to optimize workplace processes and improve services by offering insights into customer behavior. But to truly take advantage of these benefits and make data-driven business decisions, organizations must find a way to connect their various data sources, presenting a complex challenge that can be difficult to execute in reality.  

Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) is one organization that has figured it out. MDPLS started with an ambitious goal — to provide personalized, relevant, and timely experiences to more than six million annual visitors across their 50 library branches in Miami-Dade County, Florida. To do this, MDPLS needed to understand unique differentiators about each library, such as how many guests they served, when the busiest times were, and what services were the most popular. By using APIs in combination with data and analytics, they were able to collect this valuable information and turn it into actionable insights. 

In order to identify the personalized services and content required at each library, MDPLS needed to determine what data sources to pull from. The wired and wireless network was one clear choice to gather insights into how the different libraries were being used. However, with a lean IT team and tight government budgets, a complex networking solution that required additional analytics tools and resources couldn’t be justified. The small team needed a comprehensive, easy-to-manage solution that could provide the reliable connection visitors expected, while also providing data and analytics to improve library experiences. The MDPLS team was able to meet these requirements by implementing Cisco Meraki cloud-managed access points and switches. The browser-based Meraki dashboard enables complete visibility and control with the entire network being managed from one place, simplifying day-to-day maintenance and troubleshooting.

However, collecting network data was just the first step. The IT team then needed to decide which other IoT or connected devices they wanted to implement to collect additional data. The MDPLS team started this next phase with Meraki MV smart cameras. Like the rest of their Meraki products, the cameras are managed through the same cloud-based dashboard, streamlining the management of all their IT devices. The added benefit of on-camera storage also eliminated the need for a network video recorder (NVR) and its associated software, greatly simplifying the deployment and ongoing maintenance for the IT and facilities teams. 

Above all, the most important element of the smart cameras for MDPLS is the built-in machine learning-based analytics. This enables the cameras to anonymously detect and count people, find incidences faster and with more accuracy, and understand where people are moving throughout specific areas, without additional software, servers, or complex configurations. By setting up a camera at each library entrance, the MDPLS team can better understand the number of people entering and exiting throughout the day and learn the overall number of library visitors. Additional cameras throughout the libraries help MDPLS understand what library services are being used and what content is the most popular based on where people are moving and congregating.

In addition to their Meraki access points, switches, and cameras, MDPLS had additional data sources to consider, including book checkout machines, library-owned computers, and more. In order to take advantage of these different data sources, they needed to find a way to collect the data in a digestible format. Using the Meraki API, the team pulls relevant data from the access points, switches, cameras, along with library data, into a cohesive, custom-built dashboard that shows important information about the library system. By having insight into this data, including  how many people are visiting each library, the number of people that are using the Wi-Fi on their personal devices versus the library computers, what types of books are being checked out, and what other library resources are being used, the MDPLS leadership is able to determine what additional services and resources their visitors may need. This, in turn, helps to inform them where budget adjustments or additions are needed. With 50 different libraries spread across a very diverse area, being able to ensure the needs of each branch are being met is key to the library system’s success.

To learn more about the MDPLS Meraki deployment and how they are using data and analytics to make decisions, watch the webinar recording with Julio Campa, Systems Support Manager for MDPLS. You will see a live demo of their Meraki dashboard and hear some great insights into their deployment. Watch now.

A Forward-Looking Network for a Fashion-Forward Retailer

Eileen Fisher’s strong commitments to female empowerment and sustainability set the high-end women’s apparel brand apart from others in the fashion space. Yet despite the uniqueness of its brand image, Eileen Fisher for a long time had to contend with many of the same issues that plague retailers everywhere: high network deployment costs, costly on-site management, and little to no visibility into disparate stores’ networks.

Nelson Diaz, Eileen Fisher’s Senior Manager of IT Infrastructure, had had enough. He sought to simplify network management in order to save time, money, and his team’s sanity. No longer did Diaz want to deal with unreliable off-the-shelf wireless or time-consuming troubleshooting tasks — he just wanted a network that worked.

“When it came to managing the previous infrastructure or pushing out firmware updates, we pretty much just crossed our fingers.” – Nelson Diaz, Sr. Manager IT Infrastructure

After evaluating a number of vendors that all promised to make things easier, Travis Laird, the lead architect for Eileen Fisher, suggested Diaz take a look at Meraki. Thanks to the simplicity of the Meraki dashboard, Eileen Fisher has increased visibility and control over their distributed retail stores in a way they had never had before.

Having implemented the new network in just a few months at all 70 store locations, Eileen Fisher was able to reduce its deployment costs by 40% and estimates that it will have saved 50% in WAN costs by the end of Q1 2019 with a full Meraki stack.

Watch the webinar recording to learn firsthand how Eileen Fisher was able to achieve these results with just a three person infrastructure team. Diaz and Laird discuss:

  • The network devices they’ve decided to deploy at every store
  • Their infrastructure plans to support growth, including an AWS migration
  • Their experience piloting and evaluating SD-WAN through the Meraki MX
  • How Eileen Fisher plans to leverage wireless solutions for marketing use cases

Simplifying Apple Device Management with Systems Manager

When Denis Guerrero joined Moreland School District as the Director of Technology, he knew it was time to find a better way to manage the school district’s 1,400 iPads. Throughout the district many iPads were locked, unusable, associated with different Apple IDs, and loaded with apps purchased through various gift cards, personal accounts, and vouchers. Managing this fleet of devices was becoming an impossible task and it was time to set some processes and tools in place for district-wide iPad visibility, app distribution, and device management.

After investigating different options, Denis and the team chose Cisco Meraki Systems Manager to accomplish these goals. To take full advantage of Systems Manager, the team worked to unify the district under one Device Enrollment Program (DEP) account with Apple, consolidate app license purchases, and register with Apple School Manager.

Systems Manager allows schools to easily provision Apple devices (out of the box) through DEP, install apps, apply custom configurations, and limit classroom distractions such as games and web surfing. Furthermore, schools and organizations can leverage Meraki’s free trial program for expert assistance throughout the trial process, access the open Community forum for peer insight and advice on the solution, and reference video and instructional content to help them get oriented in the dashboard.

Today students and teachers at Moreland School District can easily log into iPads, find the right apps, and start their digital lessons — without wasting instruction time on iPad lockouts or mitigating student access to distracting website and apps.

In an upcoming webinar on May 16th, 2018, Denis will share his favorite features and how Systems Manager helped his team streamline student learning throughout the district. Register now to learn more!

Solving crimes with Systems Manager

Sometimes troubleshooting can be like solving crime, whether it’s tracking down and kicking off rogue APs or identifying the bandwidth hog that’s slowing down the whole network. Whatever it takes to restore order, IT will figure it out. And one thing is certain: the tech team is always watching.

This held true for Brett Guidry, the Technical Services Manager at Waitr, when he was called in to solve the mystery behind not one, but two robberies. Waitr is a platform that enables customers to order from local restaurants through a mobile device or online. Waitr connects drivers, restaurants, and users with delivery and carry-out items. Now operating in 150 cities across the United States, with over 3,400 devices for drivers, restaurants, and employees already on the network, Waitr continues to grow, adding 5-10 new restaurants a week.

With the first robbery incident, Guidry didn’t even have a chance to get out of bed. It was 7 a.m. when the phone rang. A Waitr restaurant in New Orleans had been broken into, and nearly $20,000 worth of property was taken, including Waitr devices. Luckily, the devices had Cisco Meraki Systems Manager installed, so Guidry immediately opened the dashboard to track down the devices. Since their connections had switched to LTE, the GPS was still pinging and Guidry could see all from the Meraki dashboard: where the devices were, when they stopped moving, and even the nearest address. He sent the location and the coordinates to the police, bricked the devices so they couldn’t be resold, and waited…

The second incident wasn’t all that different. At 11 p.m., an employee’s car was broken into in Jackson, Mississippi. Two laptops, an iPad, and camera were stolen from the vehicle. Again, because they were Waitr property, Guidry was called to the (remote) scene. Watching everything from the comfort of his own bed, Guidry was able to locate the devices and their GPS coordinates, and he watched them fly down the interstate highway like a high-speed chase. When the pin stopped, Guidry identified the location within a 15-meter radius and directed the police to the location. They stormed the building, which happened to be a bar, and Guidry waited patiently for justice to be served…

What happened in the end? Were the criminals apprehended? Find out our live webinar featuring Brett Guidry himself. Watch the recording here.

From 2 AM Router Parties to the Meraki Dashboard

Imagine walking into a room full of your closest colleagues, only to see them huddled around a desk and crouched over a laptop with multiple routers on the side. Now imagine this room is not your office, but actually a hotel room in a completely different city.

And those routers? Those are but a small fraction of the devices still stacked up against the wall waiting to be configured. Your role? Getting ready to join your colleagues, not for a LAN party, but a Router Party.

IT team member configuring devices in a hotel in San Francisco in 2011.

IT team member configuring devices in a hotel in San Francisco in 2011.

For Randy Haan, Director of Infrastructure – Western Region at The Salvation Army, Router Parties occurred quite often, happening as early as 2007. In a webinar on March 22nd, at 11 AM PT, Haan was joined by a Cisco Meraki Product Specialist to share more about the need for Router Parties and what they were like, as well as how Meraki helped them transition from in-person configurations to a simple, easy-to-use dashboard.

The Salvation Army, a non-profit organization with the mission to “Do The Most Good,” is dedicated to feeding, clothing, comforting, and caring for those in need throughout the world. Haan, who oversees the Western Region in the U.S., manages a widely dispersed network that extends from Montana to as far as Guam. This poses a geographical challenge for Haan, as his lean team manages over 600 locations of thrift stores, youth centers, and elderly care facilities dispersed throughout the region.

Stacked devices to be configured in a hotel in San Francisco in 2011.

Stacked devices to be configured in a hotel in San Francisco in 2011.

Haan hosted these parties to maintain consistency and accuracy for each of the device configurations. The team would be sent to a single location in cities like Portland, Phoenix, and San Francisco, where they would post up, un-box, and start configuring.

List of devices to configure during a Router Party in 2013.

List of devices to configure during a Router Party in 2013.

There was always a large number of devices being configured for hundreds of sites, which meant the team was usually up “configuring boxes until 2 AM,” as Haan described it. But that’s what needed to be done. At the end of each Router Party, Haan and his team would re-box and ship them to each location.

Then one day, someone brought in a Cisco Meraki wireless AP. “It was cute and nice, but we were a full shop with the previous vendor at the time, and we weren’t willing to change that,” explained Haan. However, after they experienced a “catastrophic failure” of their network infrastructure, Haan decided to give Meraki a try.

Since then, everything has changed. By introducing Meraki, Haan not only changed the network infrastructure of the Western Region, but he also changed the philosophy and mindset with his team about what IT management meant, and how simplicity does not have to mean less powerful technology.

Today, The Salvation Army is a full Meraki shop with MX security appliances, MR wireless APs, and MS switches. They’re also trialing Systems Manager for enterprise mobility management, as well as MV security cameras. Watch our webinar from March 22nd at 11 AM PT, to hear from Haan about the unique challenges The Salvation Army faced, and how they use Meraki to build a reliable infrastructure and positively impact the business

 

Inspiring science & technology with the help of Meraki Switches

TELUS World of Science - Edmonton- Planetarium

TELUS World of Science – Edmonton is a non-profit organization in Edmonton, Canada, focused on bringing science education to their community. The center houses one of the largest IMAX theaters in all of Canada, as well as a planetarium theater (pictured above) for lectures, events, and science presentations.

The growing organization is dedicated to its mission of fostering wonder and excitement for children and adults around science and technology in ways that advance and strengthen the community. Yet, as a non-profit, funding and costs are spread quite thin across the entire organization. When it comes to IT infrastructure, Robert Litchfield, Director of IT, leads a lean team of 2, including himself.

On March 1, 2017 at 11AM PT, Litchfield joined us in a live webinar to share some of the greatest challenges managing and monitoring the TELUS network, and how Cisco Meraki has helped advance their organizational mission, cut costs, and create opportunities for additional revenue.

Litchfield shared:

  • How his lean team manages everything from Wi-Fi, desktop support, server maintenance, data security, and application and network management
  • How the center has supported a network of hundreds of guests and devices each day, before and after Meraki
  • What the rip and replacement looked like, as well as the deployment of Meraki switches
  • Some of the unique use cases, challenges, and needs a science center faces, and how a solid network infrastructure plays a part in its success

Register today for the chance to hear directly from Litchfield on how TELUS World of Science overcame their networking challenges with Meraki to continue educating and inspiring their community.

The webinar recording can be viewed here

*free switch rules

How One Retailer Took Over the Nation with Meraki

A Wireless Map

When Stephen Stanton, VP of IT at A Wireless, was told about upcoming plans to acquire 370 stores across the United States, he didn’t think it would be possible. Stanton knew the company would not be able to scale at that rate with their legacy networking solution. But that was four years ago. Today, A Wireless, a full-service Authorized Verizon Retailer, has about 1,170 stores across 46 states—an almost tenfold increase in store locations.

On Thursday, February 9th at 10 AM PT, Stanton will join us in a live conversation to share how A Wireless evaluated and decided on Cisco Meraki as their solution of choice for national expansion.

As A Wireless acquired new stores, they also acquired a mix of IT networking solutions and vendor products. They found themselves with a network built on varying technologies, configurations, and management systems. Implementing a standardized network and centralized management was essential for their continued success. 

Over a 3-year period, A Wireless have saved in excess of 80% in the total cost of ownership of the network, compared to a more traditional networking solution.

A Wireless TCO Cost Savings

A Wireless TCO Cost Savings

Over 670 stores already fitted with a full suite of Meraki solutions, including MX Security Appliances, MR Access Points, MS Switches, and even a few MC Phones. Now, Stanton and his team are ready to deploy the next 500 locations with the same products and by the final deployment, all 1,170 stores will be full Meraki shops without any other network vendor solutions.

View a recording of this webinar, A Wireless, A Verizon Premium Retailer: Scaling Nationally with Meraki, here: [Link]

 

How One Company Slashed IT Costs With SD-WAN

Liberty Behavioral Management

Liberty Behavioral Management operates both inpatient and outpatient facilities across New York state, providing rehabilitation and behavioral health services to adults and adolescents. In a special Meraki webinar on December 7th at 11AM PT, Chris Smith, CTO, shared his experience managing an entire network across 13 different sites with a lean IT team of two.

Over time, Liberty Behavioral Management’s network infrastructure became insufficient for their basic business needs. Smith would receive complaints that the Internet was too slow for web surfing or file sharing, or that there wasn’t enough bandwidth for hosted medical information systems. It was time to either increase their MPLS network speed or find an alternative solution. And when Smith was notified that increasing their MPLS usage would drive up costs, he knew he had to find a different option.

Smith looked for ease-of-use, data security features, and ways to improve site-to-site connectivity without increasing internet costs. Meraki fit the bill.

With Meraki MX Security Appliances, SD-WAN (that’s “software-defined WAN” for those who haven’t come across this acronym) enhanced existing internet connectivity at each of the branches by dynamically sending traffic between locations based on set policies, defined types of traffic, and optimal performance. By leveraging MPLS at the main hospitals and the MX SD-WAN capabilities for the branch sites, Liberty Behavioral management saved $1,127,170, or 76% of costs, over five years.

Savings with SD-WAN

Stay tuned for a complete TCO Analysis and case study to learn how Liberty Behavioral Management deployed and saved with Meraki cloud-based solutions.