August 19, 2008
InMotion Taps New Edge for ‘Transparent’ MPLS Network Linking Airport Stores
InMotion Entertainment, the largest entertainment and electronics airport retailer in the United States, has turned to New Edge Networks to build and manage a private wide area network that it does not want to know is there.
"We want our network to be transparent and do what it is supposed to do; we don't want to have to pay attention to it. Our customers have to catch planes," said Allan Ghelerter, director of IT for the specialty retail chain that operates 55 stores in about 30 major airports around the country.
InMotion awarded New Edge Networks, the business communications unit of EarthLink Inc. (NASDAQ:ELNK), a three-year contract valued at nearly $1 million to build and manage a private network based on Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology. Network installation is underway.
Jacksonville, Florida-based InMotion selected MPLS so that it can integrate multiple existing legacy networks into one that can prioritize communications traffic. This will help optimize use of available network bandwidth, and enable improved performance of latency-sensitive applications used to operate online business functions. MPLS also makes it easy and quick to add and move stores on the network.
"Our new MPLS network is the centerpiece of InMotion's strategic initiative for investing in technology so we can both grow and offer an excellent customer experience," Ghelerter said.
A principal driver for InMotion's migration to an MPLS network is the company's new strategic initiative for offering fast digital downloads of music and movies through an in-store kiosk called PlayPoint. The self-serve kiosk lets customers browse music or movie titles and play trailers before they swipe a credit card to purchase and quickly download their selections from a server based in Seattle, Wash.
Credit card transactions are routed from individual stores to InMotion's payment processor, ChasePaymentech, through a direct network connection that New Edge Networks already has in place. A private network that does not traverse the public Internet provides added security and makes it easier for the retailer to achieve and maintain compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards imposed by credit card companies.
In addition to PlayPoint, which is currently available in about half of the stores, InMotion intends to use the new network to power a new point-of-sale and inventory management system, in-store camera systems with digital video recording, secure Internet access and corporate email.
The MPLS network can prioritize data traffic based on the customer's preference. This helps InMotion optimize use of available bandwidth yet ensures applications perform at customers' expectations.
"By managing InMotion's private network, New Edge Networks becomes an extension of InMotion's IT staff," said Kevin Flaherty, vice president of sales for New Edge Networks. "This frees them to focus on other strategic IT activities for supporting a business that spreads across four time zones."
With a managed network, InMotion's IT staff gets access to an online dashboard that allows them to see near-live network performance results, make appropriate decisions and take necessary action. The online portal allows InMotion to check status of orders, see technician notes on trouble tickets, and more.
"One of the reasons we selected New Edge Networks is because they seem to better understand the nuances of dealing with airports and their security restrictions," Ghelerter said. "Installers can't just walk through security check points with screwdrivers and expect to get in and get out quickly. It's a tough environment to work in."
InMotion is a division of Gate Petroleum, a diversified private company that also operates more than 200 convenience stores and service stations in the Southeast, eight concrete plants in six states, four private resorts and various real estate holdings.
About New Edge Networks
New Edge Networks builds and manages private IP-based wide area networks that do not use the public Internet. Connecting business sites at virtually any address in the United States, New Edge Networks allows businesses to choose any blend of available access technologies - from DSL and T1 lines to fiber-optic connections - for building private and secure MPLS networks with performance guarantees. A wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based EarthLink Inc., (NASDAQ:ELNK), New Edge Networks is based in Vancouver, Wash. For more information visit www.newedgenetworks.com or call 1-360-693-9009.