60 Second Interview

High-street homewares and furnishings retailer The Pier recently deployed Sarian's mobile routing technology to provide back-up connections to support online chip-and-pin transactions at all 35 of its stores. Alex Meek, head of information systems at The Pier, tells us about the project.

The nationwide rollout involved equipping each of The Pier's outlets with Sarian HR4110 routers, which provide back-up data communications links over new high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) mobile networks. 

Alex Meek, head of information systems at The Pier, tells us about the project.

How/why did the idea of the mobile back-up system come about?

The idea for a mobile back-up system was formulated on the back of a nationwide chip-and-pin upgrade. Chip-and-pin may provide much greater protection against fraud, but its reliance on sometimes unpredictable broadband links could have potentially left us in an offline mode, causing delays in processing transactions, as we could no longer fall back to signature slips for credit/debit transactions. Given this increased pressure in terms of uptime, it made sense to look for some form of mobile backup.

You opted for a Sarian Systems solution - why?

The HR4110 product was right for the task, Sarian was happy to let us evaluate the product before rolling out, and in terms of performance, it met all of our expectations.

What are the benefits for you and your customers?

The solution brings improved security, as chip-and-pin can always authenticate. It is also about improved customer service. If the broadband fails, our authorisation requests are automatically and seamlessly rerouted via mobile - our in-store staff and customers notice no difference [to response]. Finally, in phase two of the project, the solution provides a fall-back for store to head office communications as well.

What are your hobbies away from the IT environment?

I go into the garage and tinker with something that runs on petrol! Though, as I am a new father, this is going to get exchanged for more domestic items, I expect!

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