When you’re looking for a particular store in a shopping center that spans over 5.6 million square feet, it can be a complicated endeavor. The people at the United States’ largest retail and entertainment complex, Mall of America (MOA) located in Bloomington, MN, understood that this can be an issue for many of their 40 million annual visitors, many of whom are visiting the destination for the first time.
To give you an idea of just how many people visit MOA every year, that 40 million is seven times the population of the entire state of Minnesota.
So, yeah, it’s big and it’s busy. What Mall of America executives needed was a solution that allowed people to get around their shopping plaza in the most expedient way possible. What they needed was Cisco.
In order to implement the solution that Mall of America desired, a new infrastructure needed to be deployed. The hardware infrastructure starts with the Cisco Aironet 3700 Series Access Points and Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series network switches. The Aironet 3700 comes with Cisco High Density Experience (HDX) built into the AP. This feature is important because it works to minimize network strain when large numbers of devices connect to the network.
In addition to the faster hardware, Mall of America wanted to make sure that their visitors were able to figure out where they were when walking around the property. To do that Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) was deployed through the access points and were used in conjunction with Cisco Hyperlocation modules that are positioned throughout MOA. These modules are plugged into the access points and make use of multiple Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacons.
What this means is that when a mall visitor downloads the Mall of America app, all of these Cisco solutions work together to provide the user with real-time location updates. And it’s accurate too, as the solution delivers accuracy within three to five-meters. Not only are MOA visitors using the solution on their mobile devices, but MOA IT experts are working to integrate it with signage and other MOA systems.
“Ultimately, Cisco wireless lets us ensure that each guest has a positive experience every time they visit the property,” said Janette Smrcka, the Information Technological Direct for Mall of America.
To learn more about the Mall of America case study, please click here.
Thanks for sharing information on the mix of technologies deployed at MoA. The combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in conjunction with the CMX and customer apps highlight how technology can solve a thorny location challenge.
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