Rapid scale enabled by streamlined deployment blueprints and standardization of networking equipment, smart cameras, and environmental sensors
Intuitive, centralized management allows a 2 person IT team to remotely support hundreds of locations via the cloud-based Meraki dashboard
Improved store security and loss prevention with integrated smart cameras and sensors that automate real-time notifications
$500,000 in savings over five years by replacing legacy network video recorders (NVRs)
230 retail locations deployed in less than three months
200 store networks and 1,100 cameras and sensors managed by 2 IT employees
MobileOne is one of the largest independent retail dealers of T-Mobile U.S. Operating under the T-Mobile banner, MobileOne has 200 locations in 14 states in the south central, southwestern, and western regions of the U.S., adhering to specific requirements for store layouts, displays, and security.
Founded in 2008 with a single store and four employees, MobileOne has grown and now employs 1,500 people. After T-Mobile’s 2020 mega-merger with Sprint Corporation, MobileOne acquired seven other retail dealers, quickly expanding to more than 300 locations at one point before consolidating.
When MobileOne hired Kade Clifton in June 2020, he became the first and only full-time IT employee. His primary responsibility was looking after the networks at 126 geographically dispersed locations, including the aging network video recorder (NVR) systems that each store leased to watch over their inventory of high-value mobile devices and electronics. He quickly saw that the status quo was not tenable. For instance, to enable remote viewing of video footage, he would manually configure network ports through the firewall and individually code IP addresses into the phones of regional managers.
To support everything in our company without many people, I needed automated updates and configurations that could be set once and applied across our networks. Meraki did that for us.
IT Manager, MobileOne
Clifton needed to simplify management of MobileOne’s stores quickly to lay the groundwork for the company’s aggressive growth plans following the Sprint merger. Clifton sought a templated deployment model that could swiftly replace the hodgepodge of networks and cameras at newly acquired stores with highly scalable, automated technology. A standardized package of network hardware, cameras, and environmental sensors was essential—and as a one-person IT shop, intuitive, centralized management of everything would be critical.
Clifton was already familiar with Cisco Meraki network equipment from previously deploying it on school campuses. His on-site trials of competitive systems at MobileOne stores confirmed Meraki as the best fit. In late 2020, MobileOne turned to Cisco Meraki partner Stratus Information Systems to help scope its specific requirements and placements for Meraki MV smart-cameras and procure all Meraki hardware.
MobileOne also delegated Stratus to complete on-site installation across 230 stores. Thanks to the plug-and-play nature of Meraki solutions, Stratus completed the task in less than three months . Clifton and the Stratus team established a streamlined workflow, collaborating daily on a spreadsheet in the cloud, and Clifton provided blueprints of where to place the switches, access points, cameras, and sensors in each store. From his location in San Diego, he used the cloud-based Meraki dashboard to quickly identify the networks as they came online and connected them to specific Internet of things (IoT) security devices.
Standard deployment included four Meraki MV smart-cameras: two directional cameras for a high-value display and the back room inventory vault and two fisheye cameras for a general overview of the sales floor. And with on-device storage and Cloud Archive, MobileOne eliminated the risk of losing video evidence due to a thief disabling an on-site NVR.
MobileOne also installed a Meraki MT indoor open/close sensor on each store’s inventory safe and linked the back room camera to it, offering further protection with real-time alerts. Should the door be left open, the regional manager and the loss prevention team receive automatic notifications, eliminating requirements for constant monitoring and streamlining investigations.
Today, Clifton manages all 200 networks—one for each remaining store—and 1,100 IoT devices from the Meraki dashboard. For anyone who needs to remotely monitor video, Clifton provides them with personalized views on the Meraki Vision Portal web app, and he can add any camera within the organization to a single customized display of multiple live feeds.
With cloud-based networking I can now troubleshoot from anywhere. I have fixed many issues remotely, even from a golf course on a cellular-enabled tablet.
IT Manager, MobileOne
Clifton creates Meraki Vision Portals for various use cases. Regional managers, for instance, use a laptop or mobile device to view real-time video of their stores to ensure they open on time each morning. Similarly, area directors get access to feeds from all stores across their regions. At MobileOne corporate headquarters, large displays cycle through store video feeds, allowing executives to instantly understand store traffic levels and monitor the customer experience.
Smart processing features like object detection and motion searching add additional value for MobileOne. For example, if a speaker gets stolen off a wall display, the loss prevention team simply places motion sensing on that portion of the video feed to quickly identify when it went missing. In addition to more advanced analytics, such as traffic counting and heat mapping that can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, the fisheye MV cameras also include a de-warping feature so managers can focus on certain areas of the sales floor.
Supported by favorable financing rates from Cisco Capital, the upfront investment in Meraki networking and IoT devices is already paying for itself. By replacing expensive monthly leases on NVR devices, MobileOne estimates it will save nearly $500,000 over five years. After that, Clifton expects only occasional hardware replacement costs and an annual licensing fee, further contributing to overall savings.
But for MobileOne, the real advantages of its Meraki solution are scale and simplicity. As the retail chain eyes further expansion, Meraki provides the automation and operational efficiency that will enable Clifton to manage it all.