US Grocery Retailer
One of the largest US grocery retailers chooses Sangoma for their inventory data reporting systems
The grocery retailer has an inventory system which automatically stocks its store shelves. It works by sending product distributors to the required locations when inventory data from headquarters reports low stock. Inventory detail is collected from the cash registers upon customer checkouts, and mobile scanners carried by workers, then that data is relayed to headquarters over a T1 connection from the telco, which is setup at each location. Since this retailer has existed for over 100 years, some of the infrastructure is quite old. The only method of transferring all this large amount of data, in real-time, was dependant on a T1 connection, as opposed to current fiber-based technology.
A crucial component to this inventory system is the method in which inventory information is sent to headquarters. Each location has a small router appliance which connects the store’s internal LAN network and the local telco T1 connection. These routers are responsible for translating the collected inventory information residing on the internal LAN of each store and sending it over the T1 cable connection as raw data. Recently the supplier of the router appliance announced the discontinuation of their product as well as their support and maintenance for the product. This placed the grocer in a difficult situation as they would no longer be able to rely on their supplier for future support or product purchases. They were faced with a decision to find an alternative router solution or they would be forced to replace their entire infrastructure with a complete fiber-based solution for all of their 2500 locations.
Solutions from Sangoma
The grocery retailer approached Sangoma Technologies since they had a long history of providing data networking and PSTN connectivity solutions for SMBs and enterprises. Sangoma offers a line of telephony cards, called the A-series cards, which are designed to connect to T1 networks, enabling the transmission of voice, but also raw data. They are compatible with most commercially available servers and come with an advanced driver and API suite, perfect for custom integration. The grocery retailer was pleased with the flexibility of the A-series cards in which they could be easily configured to transmit raw data, dedicating all the channels of the T1 connection to pass the data in the format they needed. This would mean they could pass 1.544Mbps of data through each T1 connection up to headquarters, which met their requirements. They adopted the A-series cards as part of their new solution and created their own router appliance to replace the currently deployed solution. Each router appliance was comprised of 1 x Sangoma A-series cards inside a third-party commercial server, Linux OS, and a customized WebGUI. They deployed one instance of each appliance for each retail location and simply swapping the cabling from the original solution to this new one.
The grocery retailer was very pleased with the performance of the new solution and high compatibility of the A-series cards with their infrastructure. Deployment was made rapid due to the pre-configured installation options of the Sangoma A-series card drivers and easy to use API to interface with their WebGUI. The grocery retailer is continuing to adopt the Sangoma A-series cards also for their new store locations as a backup solution where fiber-based inventory systems are installed. Ultimately, Sangoma offered the best value-based solution for the customer’s needs.