With online shopping at an all-time high, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the days for UK shopping centres were numbered. But you couldn’t be more wrong, intu (formerly known as Capital Shopping Centres) always knew that shopping centres weren’t just about shopping. Like any great day out, a trip to an intu shopping centre is a fusion of shopping, eating and unique entertainment.
With 16 shopping centres (including 10 of the UK’s top 25), understanding consumer trends is a fine art that intu are embracing and carefully evolving the shopping experience to. Visionary in its approach, intu wanted to embrace the rapidly developing digital era with clear aspirations to build upon the customer experience and shape the direction of their digital interaction.
Intu’s ICT systems became more disparate as intu extended its portfolio by acquiring new centres. The fragmented systems offering varying levels of connectivity and access, coupled with the cost of maintaining multiple disparate systems led intu’s Team to look for a better alternative.
It was quickly determined that full ownership of the technical backbone and associated connectivity services was required. Bringing all operations in-house would enable intu to have far greater control and influence on the shopping experience and main areas of business value, including understanding shoppers habits, movements and trending around the centres. The right solution would enable intu to use this data to develop a truly powerful destination that propels their brand and their shoppers into a new world-class retail and leisure experience.
The end solution involved delivering a new fibre backbone, deploying the latest core, edge and PoE switching infrastructure, a significant number of upgradeable Wi-Fi access points and WLAN controllers (with guest anchor controllers) to future proof the system.
All of this was overlaid with an extensive management and analytic toolset enabling intu to learn more about the way their customers interact with the centres. Additional outsourced capabilities were also required to support the Team.
A trustworthy, dependable and innovative partner was needed to deliver such a complex solution. Such a partner also needed to share the same level of enthusiasm, eagerness and commitment that intu brought to the project. Block was chosen for its extensive experience in Wireless deployments, attention to detail and their ability to maximise new and existing technology without sacrificing the quality or scope of the project.
Since the delivery of the first four centres, there have been a number of clear changes in the way intu operate its shopping centres. Today with full ownership of the infrastructure and connectivity, as a consolidated single entity, intu has greater control of its systems and services. Day to day operational costs will be reduced by combining the CCTV and Building Management Systems (BMS) into the core architecture, unlocking tied up ongoing expenditure and deliver better value for money.
By outsourcing the service management of the system, intu has freed up their ICT Team to focus on more valuable and skills relevant tasks that require their expertise in order to deliver intu’s customer focused vision, whilst ensuring that the capabilities and resources are always available to operate the infrastructure. With new-found capabilities to better understand how visitors want to use the centres, intu can create and deliver a better customer experience, increasing the length of stay, enjoyment and most importantly, spend at intu’s centre.
For intu, the shopping centre has more than a bright future, it has a digital future.
We needed a partner who could understand our systems and the challenges of our portfolio, Block demonstrated a higher level of digital knowledge, had a strong desire to engage, has an established supply chain and could work with us to deliver a solution across our centres.Gian Fulgoni, Chief Information & Systems Officer
Having worked with Block as a customer on various requirements and challenges, their drive, understanding and positive attitude makes supplier management easy.Gian Fulgoni, Chief Information & Systems Officer