Eliminated the need for on-site troubleshooting with remote management
Improved in-store Wi-Fi experience for customers and retail associates
Provided support for innovative use cases beyond physical security
740 retail and clinical locations in 40 states
The Meraki MV is an impressive camera that lets you see every inch of the store. You can almost zoom in and read the labels on the glasses that are 25 feet away.
JASON WITTMER Director, Infrastructure and IT Operations
Visionworks is a leading provider of eye care services in the U.S., sitting at the intersection of healthcare and retail. The company is passionate about flawless vision and wants every person who visits its stores and affiliated doctors to have an incredible experience in an unexpectedly simple way.
Visionworks brings healthcare expertise backed with a network of optometrists and technicians, as well as retail associates, ready to fulfill vision prescription needs, including glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses.
Visionworks is constantly on the lookout for innovative technology solutions that will help streamline business operations, reduce costs, and—most importantly—enhance the customer experience.
As the company dealt with lockdowns and other restrictions during the pandemic, the Visionworks IT team, led by Jason Wittmer, Director of Infrastructure and IT operations, accelerated the implementation of key technology initiatives that were instrumental in enabling the business to move forward with minimal disruption.
As retail and clinical locations began to reopen, empowering them with networking capabilities that exceed the expectations of customers, patients, and retail associates was a top priority. With a customer base that has grown accustomed to Wi-Fi connectivity in retail spaces, and the rollout of a new cloud-based point-of-sale system, the IT team needed to ensure that all of its locations were equipped with a secure, high-performance Wi-Fi networking solution.
Along with enhancing Wi-Fi capabilities, the company wanted to modernize its existing networking and security infrastructure to improve performance, simplify IT operations, and continue to realize operational efficiencies.
In early 2020, Visionworks began deploying cloud-managed access points in all of its retail outlets. The Cisco Meraki MR access points give retail associates the flexibility to use their new tablet-based point-of-sale system to receive payment from customers wherever they are in the store. And with their guest Wi-Fi capabilities, access points make it simple for Visionworks’ customers and patients to securely connect their mobile devices to the internet while they’re in the store.
Visionworks is also deploying cloud-managed Meraki switches to its retail locations as part of its network infrastructure modernization initiative, and is installing Meraki smart cameras for improved physical security and theft prevention. While many of the company’s locations were already equipped with security cameras, these devices used outdated technology, provided poor resolution, and required an on-site technician for configuration and maintenance. The Meraki MV cameras provide unmatched in-store visibility and their remote management capabilities give the IT team superior control.
The deployment of Meraki products in retail locations has dramatically streamlined day-to-day maintenance and operations for Jason and his team. With the Meraki dashboard, the IT team now has 24/7 visibility into the status of switches, access points, and smart cameras across all of the company’s sites. This has proven to be an enormous advantage by substantially reducing costs and effort and freeing up the IT team to pursue other important initiatives.
Troubleshooting, in particular, is an area where Visionworks has seen significant operational improvements. Instead of sending a technician to a retail site to diagnose and correct a technical issue, his team can now perform a remote packet capture on Meraki switches, allowing them to quickly pinpoint and resolve issues to limit the impact on business operations. With the addition of Meraki access points, associates and customers now enjoy a superior in-store Wi-Fi experience, and the Meraki smart cameras are providing enhanced security. Not only that, with their immersive 360-degree view, the cameras have paved the way for the company to explore a variety of additional beneficial use cases for the technology. For example, the Visionworks marketing team is using the cameras to quickly and remotely examine in-store signage and collateral and evaluate the need to refresh messaging to support new campaigns. Looking ahead, Visionworks sees the Meraki solution, with its flexibility, ease of use, and scalability, as a strong fit for its technology vision of quickly addressing new business requirements without the need to re-architect the network. With Meraki, Visionworks can continue to provide its customers and associates with a user experience that is second to none.