Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (HPE), announced that Ingles Market, a grocer with nearly 200 stores across six Southeastern states, is doing network upgrade that will modernize its operations and, in some locations.
Ingles began an upgrade and replacement of its Cisco infrastructure two years ago, swapping out Cisco access points (APs) with Aruba’s in its stores. Ingles recognized that upgrading the full Aruba wireless infrastructure, as well as increasing the density, would help the grocer modernize and future-proof its network design.
Because Aruba’s new generation of Wi-Fi 6 APs interoperate with the older models Ingles had deployed, upgrading the network became much simpler and more cost-effective than it would have been with other vendors that often require a “rip and replace” to upgrade.
“We initially built our network to support limited wireless devices and didn’t anticipate some of the changes that our business would encounter,” said Marty Riedling, director of Systems Engineering for Ingles Markets.
“With an increase in wireless IoT devices being used throughout our stores for inventory ordering and management, meat, deli and produce scales, and digital signage, it became clear that we had to build a more forward-looking foundation.”
According to Gartner, by 2024, 80 percent of ordering and replenishment will be touchless for most organizations, so retail and grocery stores like Ingles are wise to begin enabling these capabilities now, if they haven’t already.
Ingles began a network upgrade, installing additional Aruba Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 APs, access switches, and ClearPass Policy Manager for secure authentication of devices onto the wireless network.
Ingles has updated 10 of its 200 stores, keeping inventory systems online, enabling quick price updates for the stores’ meat, deli and produce scales.
The network overhaul has allowed Ingles to address curbside pick-up in an efficient and cost-effective way. To facilitate its “click and collect” fulfillment process, Ingles’ handheld devices such as the Zebra scanners they use for ordering and fulfillment must have reliable and continuous connectivity to keep curbside service running.
With the additional performance and coverage afforded by its upgraded Aruba network – coupled with the fact that Aruba and Zebra are strategic partners so their solutions work seamlessly together – Ingles is now providing curbside service in four of its stores and expects to bring more stores online rapidly, given the strong demand.