Swedish group IKEA has 328 branches in 28 countries and is the largest furniture retailer in the world. The company is well known for their self-assembly furniture and household items. In Belgium there are eight stores, a distribution centre and an IKEA Service Centre. The Service Centre, which employs fifty people, supports the branches and manages the financial transactions between the different departments. During meetings it is necessary to share financial data quickly and easily on a big screen using PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and videos. To meet these needs, IKEA was looking for a wireless, software-based solution for their nine conference rooms and huddle spaces.
IKEA management researched and tested various solutions including Black Box’s Coalesce. Their focus was on the technology, ease of use and cost. They also wanted to keep the number of devices needed in each conference room to a minimum. “The more technology that is present in the room, the more risk of it disappearing or breaking” says Dries Roggeman, Country & Local IT Manager for IKEA Belgium. They decided to avoid using dongles, which would require every PC user to connect to the system. This solution also turned out to be a lot more costly than a networked solution such as Coalesce where the user can access the system through the existing infrastructure. Meeting participants can use Coalesce client software on a standard USB stick for their laptops, or an application for iOS or Android tablets and smart phones, instead of a hardware dongle. The company preferred not to install any software on individual PCs. IKEA has a strict software policy, employees do not hold administrator rights, and nothing beyond the standard list of software may be installed. Deviating from this software list as an individual country within the international IKEA Group proved impossible.
After assessing the technology, ease of use and cost, Coalesce proved to be the ideal solution with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). “Coalesce was actively tested by our staff for two weeks in one of the conference rooms. A short manual was sufficient to inform users about the operation” says Dries Roggeman, “Moreover, it is easy for our IT department to manage all our Coalesce systems via the Coalesce Central platform.”
To maintain the security of the network, visitors are given the software via USB or app, after which they can connect to the specified SSID. With the built-in firewall between the wired and wireless interface, it is possible to ensure security on the network, while visitors can still access the internet.
“Coalesce works seamlessly. We don’t even notice the presence of technology in the conference room, and Coalesce complies fully with our expectations. The solution is now being examined by the Retail division within the IKEA group, and could also be rolled-out to other countries, in addition to Belgium.” says Dries Roggeman.