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Validating Retail Tech Part 1: Is Your In-Store Technology Working Flawlessly?

July 24, 2015 by Ixia Blog Team

If you have been to a retail store lately, it’s likely that you’ve seen more touch screens and self-service terminals, and more likely than not, Wi-Fi is available.

Retail is highly competitive and, save for some, most have razor-thin margins. So when technology is introduced as a way to improve the experience and grab a larger share of sales, it should work well all the time. Having unreliable networks is one thing, but not knowing about it ahead of the customer is another.

This is where passive monitoring tools fall short of proactively knowing the in-store network issues or outages, even if they’re brief or transient. What is passive monitoring you ask? In the context of a retail store environment, network monitoring tools rely on actual usage of systems, networks to “see” user traffic in order to understand the network quality, and even the experience a store rep may have when making a voice over IP call or searching for inventory at another store from a terminal. One small problem. No user traffic or store rep VoIP call, no traffic. No traffic, no visibility into that store’s network, and all the way back the ERP systems, VoIP, and anything else (which nowadays is “everything”) that needs network access

This is where active monitoring complements all the existing passive monitoring tools, either in networks, applications, servers, or cloud. Active monitoring takes advantage of placing small compute devices or simple software agents in each of the retail stores, perhaps every floor of the department store, or a large service area. The point? The “endpoint” actively models and injects traffic into the network from its location towards ERP servers, other locations in the same store, across the WAN to the corporate data center.

Unlike with passive monitoring, there is no need to wait for 9am to come around and for service reps to tell you there is a problem (or customers complaining, which may or not may make it from the store up to the network ops team)… Instead, active monitoring runs 24/7 on an automated schedule with traffic injection so if there is a problem at 5.45am, the IT guy or gal (you!) will know it then. Good, right?

This will allow you plenty of time to raise the alarm, take remediation steps, and verify once again that in fact the problem is resolved. 9am crisis adverted. For today...

The benefit of having good, solid network connectivity in each and every store cannot be overstated. So too are the benefits reaped from more customers happily browsing either your web site from their smartphone, or store catalogs from your smart self-service terminals.

What’s the catch? No catch. IxChariot Pro is a simple-to-use proactive network monitoring platform. It complements existing passive tools and it integrates with existing remediation alert systems. If you’re interested in knowing more, follow the links at the end of this blog.

 

This is part 1 of a multi-part blog on why retailers need proactive monitoring and how they can best accomplish it, so check back soon to read more.

Additional Resources

IxChariot Pro Web Portal