Article

Protecting retail businesses through ultra-resilient cellular connectivity

Paul Bullock, Head of MNVO, outlines how ultra-high availability SIMs provide the reliable connectivity many consumer services depend on.

Head of MVNO

As consumers, we have become accustomed to an ‘everything now’ society in which goods and services are ordered and delivered quickly and conveniently. Companies competing to meet our high expectations of speed and simplicity need reliable connectivity for their online services. Without it, they may lose orders and revenue; potentially even suffer damage to brand reputation.

Ultra-high availability SIMs bring resilience to cellular connections supporting businesses in sectors that include food order and delivery services, parcel lockers and vending machines.

An increase in food deliveries, online shopping and card payments is driving a growing need for resilient online connections. Let’s consider these scenarios in turn:

Food deliveries

The pandemic prompted an increase in spending on takeaways with a rise in the UK’s average spend per person of 42 per cent 2019 to 2021, according to research by KPMG. A compelling 60 per cent of consumers surveyed in the research said they would order the same amount of takeaways over the next 12 months, indicating this rise reflects sustained growth in the market.

Food deliveries have been transformed by online services and these depend on reliable connectivity to function. Just consider the number of online interactions that can be involved in a food order and delivery service. Firstly, an online ordering platform conveys orders to restaurant partners. Then, a series of communications between delivery drivers and restaurants arrange and confirm pick-up and delivery details. Whilst en route, GPS enables customers to track the progress of their deliveries.

It is a slick, seamless operation made possible by the rapid exchange of up-to-date information. Communication failures could result in missed orders, failed deliveries or customers chasing updates. Such outcomes make for bad customer experiences, potentially lost revenue and even long-term brand damage.

Online shopping

Shop closures during lockdowns, together with a general growing appetite for online shopping seen over recent years, has sparked a huge increase in parcel deliveries. So much so, that according to industry regulator Ofcom, parcel volumes in the UK rose by almost 50 per cent to 4.2 billion items in the financial year ending March 2021.

Secure lockers offer a convenient way for online shoppers to take delivery of their ordered goods. Instead of arranging deliveries to home or work addresses, many opt to collect their parcels from locker hubs. These can be located at retailers’ own sites or pick-up points at locations such as train stations.

At the lockers, customers enter their details by scanning barcodes or entering PINs contained within their delivery confirmations. These activate the appropriate locker doors to open so that customers can simply take their parcels and go.

Locker hubs must have 24/7 connections to exchange data on delivered and collected items and to verify information from collecting customers. If they lose service, customers will be disappointed when they attempt to pick up their parcels and may reconsider using the service in the future.

Card payments

There were 2 billion debit and credit card transactions in the UK in December 2021, 19.6 per cent more than in the same month of the previous year, according to trade association UK Finance. The vending machine industry is one that is adapting to the cashless trend. In its 2020 annual census of operators within the UK, the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) revealed an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in cashless vending technology and more than double the purchase value of cashless payments during the pandemic period.

Vending machines, like all point-of-sale terminals that process card payments, depend on resilient connectivity to take payments. Without this, there is a high risk of revenue loss should customers be unable to pay using their preferred method.

All these scenarios, and many more in the ‘everything now’ society we live in, depend on reliable and continuous online access. Without this, companies risk consumers giving up on current, or future, transactions and taking their business elsewhere.

What is an ultra-high availability SIM?

An ultra-high availability SIM is a multi-network roaming SIM that brings resilience to IoT applications. It works through an on-SIM application that continuously monitors network connectivity. If connectivity fails, the application automatically switches SIM profile to connect to an alternate network.

This failover to an alternative radio and core network infrastructure mitigates the impact of network performance issues for companies like those in the food delivery, secure locker and vending machine business.

Choosing an IoT solution with built-in resilience

Traditional mobile networks were not built with the IoT in mind; they were built to deliver consumer services. This is a big risk for IoT devices and the businesses that depend on them for their revenues and customer satisfaction.

A cellular solution, like Wireless Logic’s Conexa that is built for the IoT, factors in resilience through ultra-high availability SIMs serving the needs of businesses providing consumer services that depend on reliable connectivity.

This is the direction of travel for many businesses competing in an ‘everything now’ society where consumers expect services to be available at the click of a button, ordered goods to arrive conveniently, and status updates to be instantly accessible and up to date. Cellular connectivity services must adapt to provide ultra-high availability to meet this accelerating demand. Recognising this, Wireless Logic’s Conexa, which has a dual redundant core network with automatic failover provides the resilience, flexibility and automation needed to protect revenues and reputation for IoT businesses.

For information on Wireless Logic’s built-for-IoT network, take a look at Conexa.

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