UK's Largest Brewer and Pub Improves Service with Nationwide Wireless Upgrade
Marston’s PLC, one of the UK’s leading brewers and pub operators, and the world’s largest brewer of cask ale, has selected Ruckus Wireless, Inc. to supply Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi equipment for use within its pubs and restaurants nationwide.
With more than 2,000 locations across the UK, Marston’s wanted to better leverage Wi-Fi to improve the customer experience and increase the efficiency of its operations. Pubs, restaurants and retail outlets of all kinds are looking for new ways to attract customers, keep customers more engaged and leverage Wi-Fi analytics that could provide insight into innovative new services.
Customer use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets in UK retail environments continues to increase rapidly. In a recent survey by eConsultancy, 43% of respondents in the UK said they had used their mobile devices to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping, up from 19% in 2011. And according to an OnDevice Research survey, 74% of respondents in the UK would be happy for a retailer to send a text or email with promotions while they’re using in-store Wi-Fi.
To improve service efficiency and guest access, Marston’s is installing Ruckus ZoneFlex dual-band 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi access points (APs) both indoors and outdoors.
These Smart Wi-Fi products support line of business applications such as in-store electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) systems that staff access using tablet devices to provide a more flexible way to take orders, settle bills and provide a greater level of service.
Previously Marston’s had installed in its pubs a single Wi-Fi access point based on conventional Wi-Fi technology. But recently, the demand for Wi-Fi access has increased as more users armed with more devices try to simultaneously access the network. This raised concerns over capacity, coverage and performance.
Marston’s evaluated a number of Wi-Fi products, including cloud-based offerings, but found dramatic differences in price and feature/functionality. With few to no IT staff in each pub, an easy to deploy and simple to manage Wi-Fi system was required. In turn, Marston’s initially believed that a cloud-based solution would work best.
Marston’s ultimately tested and selected the Ruckus ZoneFlex solutions and began its Smart Wi-Fi rollout. The Ruckus kit gave Marston’s the flexibility to deploy standalone APs or multiple APs with local controllers – all of which could be centrally managed.
Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi access points integrate patented BeamFlex adaptive antenna array technology that directs radio frequency (RF) energy toward each client, continually picking the fastest path for each packet. This provides greater coverage and the ability to deliver stronger Wi-Fi signals to users, even as environmental conditions change. Ruckus adaptive antenna arrays also support dual-polarization, allowing signals to be transmitted and received at different angles. This enables more consistent Wi-Fi connectivity to devices such as tablets that are constantly changing orientations.
In its Wi-Fi testing with Ruckus gear, after two days of deployment, Marston’s found that over half of its transactions were going through staff tablets along with a significant increase in client Wi-Fi connectivity.
Marston’s is deploying single or multiple Ruckus ZoneFlex 7363 APs inside its pubs and restaurants along with outdoor Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762 APs in garden areas. Wi-Fi management is performed remotely by accessing local ZoneDirector Controllers or standalone APs, and the Ruckus FlexMaster Centralized Wi-Fi Management System enables all these environments to be managed from a single location.