Yas Mall Enhances Retail Experience for Shoppers with Mall-Wide Public Wi-Fi Based on Aruba Wireless Technologies
Customer satisfaction is at the heart of Yas Mall’s strategy and Yas Mall Management knew that with the increasing usage of smartphones by shoppers, fast and easy access to Wi-Fi would be a significant contributor to a positive retail experience.
“Yas Mall is proud to welcome thousands of visitors every day and so consequentially it’s crucial that our bandwidth capacity can tender to all of the guests without disruptions. Through our advanced wireless services, Yas Mall delivers to its customers the ability to maintain seamless communications and share their experiences with their friends and family,” said Feras, the IT Manager of Yas Mall.
High-Density, Ease-of-Use & Reliability are Top Criteria
Thousands of shoppers visiting Yas Mall rely on mobile apps to communicate, share their experiences on social media, and browse the internet. The Mall also has an official app that offers information on stores, entertainment, events and other important details at the mall.
To ensure that the wireless solution met the requirements of its customers, while also serving as a platform for future innovation, Feras and his team decided to leverage 802.11ac technology. It was Aruba’s leadership in this domain that made it a clear choice for the project.
Ease of access and reliability were also major criteria for selection and Aruba’s solutions checked these boxes as well. “Aruba is a market leader in providing wireless solutions and we were keen to partner with them in improving our customers’ journey,” said Feras.
Wi-Fi Connectivity, Simplified Management and More
Aruba provided a fully integrated solution; including the APs, controllers, guest management, and reporting and monitoring tools. This simplified every stage of the project as no third party was involved.
Feras Al Atari, IT Manager at Yas Mall
To support the high-density of simultaneous connections, Aruba’s ultra-fast 220-series 802.11ac APs were selected. For the mall, a standout feature of these APs was the inbuilt ClientMatch technology that automatically shifts client devices to the best AP, giving users a consistently high quality of coverage as they roam through the expanse of the property.
With an area of over 2.5 million square feet, the incredibly large size of the mall meant it would be impractical for the IT team to manually set up, configure and maintain the Access Points (APs). And thanks to the mall’s impressively high daily visitor footfall, such manual intervention would no doubt cause inconvenience to shoppers.
To overcome this, the team decided to utilize Aruba’s 7200 series Mobility Controller which not only eliminates manual configuration of individual APs, but also automates software updates of all APs on the network.
Guided by Aruba, Feras also chose to implement Aruba's AirWave Network Management platform as it would give administrators detailed metrics and complete insight into the Wi-Fi network, thus allowing them to proactively plan for capacity, visualize client performance and troubleshoot application issues.
Seamless deployment of an ‘all in one’ solution
Aruba’s best-in-class wireless solutions were expertly installed by MDS Systems Integration, a UAE-based SI partner of Aruba, and the company took care to ensured that the entire system was configured for optimal performance.
The deployment was streamlined by the fact that Aruba was capable of meeting the end-to-end wireless requirements of Yas Mall. “Aruba provided a fully integrated solution including the APs, controllers, guest management, and reporting and monitoring tools. This simplified every stage of the project as no third party was involved,” said Feras.
Visitors Connect and Share with Ease
The main priority- the Wi-Fi connectivity for shoppers- was successfully achieved with the deployment. “The solution has enabled us to continue enhancing our visitor services. They can easily stay connected and share their positive experiences at Yas Mall,” said Feras.
The new system provides an impressive capacity of 1.3 Gbps which more than meets shoppers’ requirements and expectations. Because of ClientMatch, they also have the ability to roam through the massive property without facing any drop in coverage or performance.
The speed and ease of use has made the free Wi-Fi service extremely popular. “We believe that Aruba’s solution has enabled more people to use our public Wi-Fi. It has also allowed Yas Mall to deliver new features and capabilities to our customers and retailers,” noted Feras.
Aruba’s solution has ‘IT’ all sorted out
Although visitors have benefitted from the solution, it is the mall’s IT team that is most aware and appreciative of its features and functionality. According to Feras, the centralized nature makes the solution extremely user friendly.
As with any retail establishment, security is critical and this too is addressed by the solution. “The controller’s intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI) enables administrators to make rapid changes to the network and its security settings, which affords a high degree of customization,” he stated.
Feras believes that Aruba’s value extends well beyond the superior capabilities of its technology. “Working with Aruba has been smooth and productive as the company consistently meets our needs. The technology is upgraded as and when required and we receive truly world-class support,” he said.
Mitigating issues with powerful monitoring and control
The Aruba controllers have also eliminated the need to manually configure and manage the APs, while AirWave plays a critical role in maintaining overall WLAN health.
AirWave’s granular visibility into each AP, including real-time and historical connection information has meant the team can preempt and resolve connectivity issues before visitors are affected. “These features take the load off our administrators and free up our IT team to focus on more pressing issues,” said Feras.
Looking Forward to Innovation Ahead
As mobile engagement continues to evolve and play an increasingly significant role in the retail industry, Yas Mall is keen to stay ahead of the curve. Central to this strategy will be Aruba’s WLAN solution which Feras calls a “platform for innovation”.
“We are already working with Aruba on the next phase which is a unique project that will be implemented for the first time in Abu Dhabi. It involves the integration of social media platforms with our wireless technology,” said Feras.
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