Retail is emerging as a strong vertical for software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
VeloCloud Networks, the Mountain View, California-based networking provider, says its technology is finding a welcome place in stores. And the channel – including vendors, partners and analysts – are making similar observations.
“The needs of retail businesses reflect the needs of the WAN and store of the future,” VeloCloud CEO and Co-founder Sanjay Uppal said. “Exceptional customer quality of experience, the exploding number of connected devices, next-generation merchandising using IoT, and increasing use of high-bandwidth, real-time applications require application prioritization, assured performance and security — which is best enabled with cloud-delivered SD-WAN.”
VeloCloud cites a Frost & Sullivan study, which argues that retail stores based out of brick-and-mortar locations must use an “omnichannel sales strategy” if they want to remain competitive against online competitors. But many businesses lack the technology and operations to implement such a strategy, according to VeloCloud.
“As customers increasingly use various channels to shop – in-store, online, order online and pick-up in store, mobile devices – providing a consistent shopping experience across different platforms is important,” the company wrote in its Tuesday announcement. “While the retail industry has talked about providing excellent omnichannel customer experiences, few retailers have executed well, with many others still on that journey.”
Mike Sapien, a chief analyst for Ovum, says retail customers are outpacing other verticals in adopting new services like software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). An Ovum survey showed that 58 percent of European retailers consider SD-WAN a priority, compared to 50 percent in financial services and a mean of 32 percent for other industries. Sapien lists the need for managing point-of-sale traffic, reliable Wi-Fi, real-time inventory and digital marketing as reasons why the industry is choosing SD-WAN.
“VeloCloud has over 50 service providers who are leveraging their SD-WAN software for newly launched hybrid and SD-WAN services. Given that the retail vertical [is] among early adopters of this new service, VeloCloud is in a strong position to take advantage of this early adoption wave,” Sapien told Channel Partners. “Retailers are under intense pressure to transform their business, which includes a need for a more flexible, responsive connectivity solution. VeloCloud, having the large set of service-provider partners, is able to ride this wave earlier than most other software vendors.”
MetTel is one of the companies that uses VeloCloud’s SD-WAN offering to improve the operations of retail stores.
“Retailers are being driven to modernize the network and in-store IT infrastructure to provide consumers a seamless shopping experience while trying to reduce complexity and skyrocketing costs,” said Ed Fox, vice president of network services for MetTel. “With a VeloCloud-Powered SD-WAN, MetTel helps retail IT teams automate branch networks with centralized management and business policy enforcement, while delivering performance, reliability and security.”
For an additional perspective on partner opportunities in the retail sector, read what RingCentral and Google Cloud had to say at Channel Partners Evolution.