Lulu Mall, located in Edappally, Kochi, Kerala, is one of the largest shopping centers in India. The shopping center covers 17 acres, with a total built-up area of 1,850,000 square feet and a retail space of 731,946 square feet. There are around 300 establishments on the property including restaurants, family entertainment areas, a multiplex, an ice rink, a gaming area, salons, a toy train ride, and a bowling alley. The shopping center is one of the most frequented locations in Kerala, with more than 80,000 visitors on a daily average. Eight years after its debut in 2021, 150 million visitors will have visited LuLu Mall Kochi.
With the Lulu Mall being the most visited mall in India, the shopping center required a stable internet connection for visitors and employees. The routers encountered several challenges due to the unique environment and high bandwidth demands of a large space. Many of the stores faced interference in loading their sale promotions online, especially during the holiday time. Visitors would have constant delays with the internet connection causing them to miss out on online coupons throughout the large building.
Having an unstable Wi-Fi connection was no longer an option and a strong internet connection was an urgent requirement as the mall continued to grow. The shopping center needed a solution that had a larger bandwidth to withstand the amount of people in order to keep up with the growth year over year.
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LuLu International Shopping Mall needed a reliable Wi-Fi solution for the following reasons:
Customer Experience: While in a shopping center, customers use their cellphones to check product reviews, compare pricing, and use shopping apps. Customers’ ability to access these services quickly and effectively is ensured by a powerful Wi-Fi connection, which improves their whole shopping experience.
Location-Based Services: Retail centers use Wi-Fi to provide clients with location-based services. For instance, they increase marketing and sales efforts by notifying customers about special offers or promotions when they are close to particular stores.
Mobile Payments: Many consumers favor using contactless or mobile banking, Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or other mobile payment options. To handle these transactions swiftly and securely, a robust Wi-Fi connection is essential.
Digital Signage: Shopping centers frequently use interactive kiosks and digital signage to tell customers about products, sales, and events. For the delivery of real-time updates and content, these displays depend on a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Inventory Management: To maintain track of stock levels, update price data, and manage orders, inventory management systems rely on Wi-Fi connectivity for the effective of establishments inside the complex.
Marketing and Analytics: Using Wi-Fi analytics, shopping centers can gather important information about consumer behavior, foot traffic, and purchasing preferences. Making informed company decisions and customizing marketing techniques can both benefit from this data.
Customer Loyalty Programs: Many shopping centers provide discounts and rewards for members of their customer loyalty programs. Customers of these programs are frequently required to connect to Wi-Fi, in order to receive exclusive discounts and promotions.
Tenant and Staff Co nnectivity: Shops and staff at the mall also rely on Wi-Fi for a variety of operational requirements, including handling transactions, getting in touch with management, and obtaining stock and sales information.
Emergency Communications: In an emergency, a reliable Wi-Fi connection can be essential for facilitating coordination and communication among security personnel, first responders, and management. The Lulu International Mall needed to have a reliable solution that would not disconnect during any emergency calls.
Along with Grandstream, a few other competitors also proposed their solutions to the shopping center. Other competitors who tried to pro-vide solutions were Cisco, Juniper Mist, Unibiquit. However, they chose Grandstream’s solutions due to the brand being well-known, reliable, and scalable.
Lulu International Mall considered many factors when choosing a solution that would meet their requirements as stated below.
Reliability/Coverage: Grandstream is well known for manufacturing reliable networking solutions. In a crowded place like Lulu’s mall, reliability is crucial to maintaining continual Wi-Fi connectivity for both customers and employees. Grandstream access points provide excellent performance and coverage, which are essential for delivering a strong and reliable Wi-Fi connection across the mall, particularly in open spaces and individual retailers.
Scalability/Cost: Wi-Fi solutions for shopping centers have to be able to accommodate a large number of concurrent users and devices. Grandstreams GWN7630LR and GWN7630 access points are made to handle a large amount of users. Cost-effectiveness is a continual aspect in networking hardware pricing. The GWN solutions provided a reasonably priced alternative that adheres to the mall’s budgetary constraints.
Management and Configuration: Grandstreams Free GWN Management option was a selling point for the mall’s IT employees, to manage and maintain the Wi-Fi network.
Integration: Grandstream’s access points are compatible with other Grandstream solutions along with other third-party systems, including management software, VoIP phones, and security cameras. Having a solution in place has helped the IT team save time in managing these software solutions.
Security: To preserve safety and deter theft in shopping centers, Wi-Fi cameras and security systems are essential. Being able to provide real-time video surveillance and data transfers requires a robust and secure Wi-Fi connection. Grandstream’s access points have a variety of security options to help protect the data while providing a strong security system for the mall.
Warranty: When deploying a large new solution, it was important for Lulu International Mall to have a warranty in place. Grandstream offers a three-year warranty for all GWN products from the date of purchase.
Customization: Grandstream provides customizable features that can change based on different requirements, such as splash page modification, internal and external landing pages, and multiple authentication systems as needed by the user.
Reviews: Grandstream stood out from the networking industry with the amount of information provided on their website. Grandstream publishes case studies, newsletters, and blogs that showcase their award winning solutions. Overall, this helped the Lulu International Mall in making the decision.
GWN Controller: Cloud configuration and management of Grandstream’s Wi-Fi access points throughout the mall was a key feature that the mall's IT team required. The Access Points were deployed using Grandstream’s free GWN.Cloud controller, a cloud-based management and configuration tool for all Grandstream’s GWN networking solutions. GWN.Cloud makes deployment and management of Grandstream access points easy, which is vital to ensure the staff can easily manage the newly deployed network setup.
The Lulu International Shopping Center is very pleased with the performance and security features that Grandstream’s GWN Access Points and GWN.Cloud controller offer. The administration team has enjoyed the GWN.Cloud controller option to manage multiple Grandstream GWN series access points from a single, cloud-based dashboard. Due to access points being installed throughout the large property, having a centralized management option has helped simplify administration tasks. Also, administrators are now able to configure and monitor access points, view real-time statistics, and troubleshoot network issues from the cloud interface. The controller facilitates the management of firmware updates for access points, ensuring that they are running the latest software for security and performance. Therefore, the controller has helped optimize performance for users to maintain a strong connection who are using the Wi-Fi network throughout the property.
Grandstream’s GWN management tool allows the setup and management of guest networks, which is useful for providing internet access to visitors while keeping the main network secure. The administration team utilizes the network analytics and reporting features that the GWN.Cloud controller offers, as it provides insight into network usage, user behavior, and performance trends. Having these analytics has tremendously helped the shopping center improve its network as it receives more visitors each year. The Lulu International Shopping Center believes Grandstreams solutions was truly the best choice for them.