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Whatever IT Takes for the Holidays

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Preparing Networks for Holiday-Sized Crowds thumbnail

Tradition and the holidays go hand in hand. It's a time to go back to our roots, to celebrate family and fellowship. For one candy shop company in particular, it's a time to share family traditions with the community. From festive decorations, to daily samples of decadent candies and chocolates, the holidays have always been integral to this major manufacturer and retailer of candy. Their shops are a sweet stop during the holiday hustle.

From their famous black and white stores to their famous kiosks in your favorite local shopping center, this candy retailer has been bringing joy to America for almost 100 years. As a nod to their corner store roots and the close relationship they've always had with their customers, this candy store retailer expands on their 250+ locations by implementing about 160 pop-up kiosks throughout the U.S. each year from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day. 

Standing up over 160 new retail kiosks is a daunting task under any circumstances. Doing so in a matter of weeks and getting those sites fully integrated into the existing business systems so they operate seamlessly as an extension of the brick and mortar stores requires a robust and highly sophisticated network solution, so they called on Hughes, their longtime network partner, to configure, deploy, and maintain the network at each site. Not only does each kiosk requiring a preconfigured network solution that's fully functional out of the box, but each year the equipment must be reconfigured and updated to integrate into the current retailer's business ecosystem. 

Normally, it would be very difficult, even impossible in some circumstances, to find any provider willing to support a partial year deployment like this, especially in a compressed timeline. At Hughes, we saw these kinds of challenges on the daily: It’s kind of our thing. 

Hughes preconfigured over 160 unique devices, pre-staging all the equipment with this retailer's IT team on a precise schedule. Then, the team adds in the other IT components and ships to the location so they can be deployed and operational on their critical launch dates.

Getting the kiosk launched is just the start of the work for Hughes. Once operational, Hughes works with local service providers in the background to ensure a seamless integration for the site and to ensure proper provisioning and performance. Our work from here on out is to make sure the kiosks operate flawlessly: optimizing performance, monitoring resources, and providing any needed technical support for the duration of the holiday season. 

This candy retailer has always seen itself as part of their communities, serving their customers directly one piece of exceptional candy at a time. From their shops, to their delivery vans and motorcycles, to their holiday kiosks, they continue their tradition of focusing on their customers, and like the holidays, the kiosks eventually come to a bittersweet end and need to be packed up. 

Just as we did with the deployment of the kiosk, Hughes works to a very tight schedule to shut them down. As they close, we terminate the temporary network circuits and reset all port and security parameters to ensure there is no unintended network access. Soon thereafter, we start receiving the network equipment back from the retailer’s IT team. We verify the condition of the equipment, repair or replace any needed items, reset it all back to factory condition, and store it again for use next year. In just a matter of weeks, everything is put away, and this retailer is returned to their usual operating conditions. At Hughes, we're proud to go the extra mile and be a part of this amazing annual transformation. This major manufacturer and retailer of candy is able to make the holidays a little brighter for their customers, a little sweeter for the young and the young at heart, and a little merrier for everyone who walks past one of their shops or kiosks. We are so happy to partner with our customer to deliver on this holiday initiative, supporting this solution year after year so they can focus on making the season a little more enjoyable for all.