Global Retailer – Network switch and wireless access point upgrade

img_nationalThe Connectivity Group—the national/international arm of Connectivity Point Design and Installation (CPDI)—wrapped up a global project to upgrade the network switches and wireless access points for an international retailer. CPDI was hired as the implementation contractor by the retailer’s networking partner.

Switches and wireless access points were pre-configured and shipped to eighteen different sites—of which sixteen were outside the United States. CPDI used our database of qualified subcontractors and partners to identify local technicians who could perform the work required. By using local resources, CPDI could cost effectively manage multiple sites simultaneously. This strategy was also preferred over putting a U.S. based technician on a plane to each location because it provided the peace of mind knowing that we had identified a qualified resource who not only could perform the work less expensively, but could be called back to the site if follow-up support or trouble-shooting was required.

CPDI helped define the requirements of the project and directed each local contractor as needed to perform a pre-installation site survey, which was used to reality check and validate assumptions. Once the implementation plan for each site was confirmed, CPDI managed the task of swapping the switches and wireless access points.

Ryan Masse, Project Manager for CPDI, shared some advice for anyone embarking on a similar project. “Go with a pro,” says Ryan. CPDI’s experience with similar projects enabled us to set realistic expectations with the many parties involved in the project. “Time differences, shipping and customs logistics, and language barriers are the obvious challenges,” Ryan went on to say. “But it’s the unexpected things that can give you the most headaches.”

During this project, unforeseen local holidays, overzealous customs inspectors, and contractors that had limited experience with wire-transfer payments were obstacles that needed to be overcome. “Be prepared to be on the phone in the middle of the night and on weekends,” Ryan said with a sigh. He also emphasized planning (and doing that planning far in advance) and not underestimating the costs for international shipping (if required) as key learnings. “Working internationally, scheduling takes 2-3 times longer than you would think, so start early and leave yourself plenty of time.”

CPDI successfully performed the upgrades in Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany; Zhuhai, China; London, England; Hong Kong; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore, Malaysia; and additional cities in England, Canada, Vietnam, Switzerland, Italy, and of course, the United States.

The Connectivity Group does business as Connectivity Point Design and Installation and is headquartered in Auburn, Maine.

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