Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G Ready wireless edge solutions, announced new machine learning capabilities for its NetCloud Service, just ahead of January’s National Retail Federation (NRF) 2020 Vision: Retail’s Big Show, the world’s largest retail expo.
Designed to assist retail, enterprise and government customers in managing large and distributed wireless WANs, the technology enables NetCloud to learn data usage patterns on wireless links to accurately project future usage and potential overages. As a result, organizations can virtually eliminate the risk of overages by proactively managing their cellular data plans across one or more mobile operators.
Retailers are connecting more people, places and things as they deliver new customer experiences within and beyond their brick-and-mortar stores. This includes next-generation display, marketing, shopping and loss prevention technologies as well as deployment of pop-up stores, kiosks and even mobile showrooms. These innovations are driving more cellular WAN endpoints, making it challenging for IT managers to plan and monitor data consumption. Cradlepoint’s first implementation of machine learning within its NetCloud Service provides data plan consumption insights and intelligence that would be difficult to discover manually.
Cradlepoint is a major provider of 5G Ready wireless edge networking for LTE in the retail space and currently serves 75% of the world’s top retailers, including David’s Bridal and PANDORA Jewelry.
Evolving to Wireless SD-WAN for Retail
The integration of machine learning capabilities underlines Cradlepoint’s leadership in evolving SD-WAN technology for a wireless world. The retail market, in particular, is poised to make the shift to a more wireless WAN for the following reasons:
Increase in network scale. The growth of IoT devices within retail networks and more network-connected, nontraditional locations such as kiosks and pop-up store locations are driving growth in LTE connections; this only accelerates with 5G. With more endpoints and locations come more management challenges that will benefit from increased WAN automation and intelligence.
Uniformity of WAN access. As more activity and applications are deployed across retail outlets to improve customer experience, the need for more agile, reliable and bigger WAN access links at every location is required. Achieving customer experience uniformity in towns large and small requires uniformity of WAN access that only cellular can provide, driving adoption of advanced and Gigabit-Class LTE — and eventually 5G — as the primary WAN access link.
Microsegmentation using wireless. Bringing in IoT can be a security risk, and wireless offers an easy way to create an air-gapped, segmented network that implicitly isolates IoT devices and traffic from the corporate WAN. But managing multiple networks or network vendors can make this difficult from an IT perspective, especially for leaner retail IT organizations. SD-WAN needs to evolve beyond the branch to support different endpoints and device networks from a single pane of glass.
Beyond zero-touch deployment, zero-touch networks. With the addition of machine learning intelligence, orchestration and automation, networks are quickly evolving to require less human involvement to deploy, operate and optimize. 5G will extend this paradigm across the cellular network with capabilities like network slicing. As these technologies advance, the machines that make up the network will be able to learn and take over more mundane tasks. This will result in improved uptime, reduced human capital costs and better end-user experiences.
- 5G is transformational. The ongoing national rollout of 5G cellular networks, as well as today’s Gigabit-Class LTE networks, will enable retailers to confidently implement innovative applications that have the potential to transform their business models and customer experiences, such as recommendation engines, sensor-embedded shelves and aisle robots for inventory management, pop-up stores anywhere, immersive kiosks and virtual changing rooms – as well as other personalized shopping experiences. Therefore, all companies – especially retailers – that are in the process of upgrading or planning to upgrade their enterprise WAN need to have a “Pathway to 5G” baked into the design and economics.
“Over 75% of the world’s top retailers rely on Cradlepoint today to extend the reach and improve the reliability of their WAN at the store level and beyond,” explained Todd Krautkremer, CMO, Cradlepoint. “We are committed to enabling their digital and customer experience transformation journeys. Our NetCloud Service and wireless edge routers combine software-defined networking and new machine learning functionality to unlock the full potential of LTE and 5G cellular networks and help our retail customers evolve to a wireless WAN future, faster.”
Cradlepoint is a global leader in cloud-delivered wireless edge solutions for branch, mobile, and IoT networks. The Cradlepoint NetCloud Service — based on the Elastic Edge™ architecture — delivers an agile, pervasive and software-defined wireless edge that connects people, places and things everywhere over LTE and 5G cellular networks with resiliency, security and control. More than 18,000 active enterprise and government organizations around the world, including 75 percent of the world’s top retailers, 50 percent of the Fortune 100, and first responder agencies in 25 of the largest U.S. cities, rely on Cradlepoint to keep critical branches, points of commerce, field forces, vehicles, and IoT devices always connected and protected. Major service providers use Cradlepoint wireless solutions as the foundation for innovative managed network services. Founded in 2006, Cradlepoint is a privately held company headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with a development center in Silicon Valley and international offices in the UK and Australia.