Founded in 2012, SwipeStation is a unique award-winning food and beverage ordering system for use by consumers at major sporting and entertainment events. Initially focusing on rugby and football stadia, SwipeStation’s technology typically decreases order/serving time from over 50 seconds to less than 15 seconds. A tailored downloadable app onto a user’s smartphone enables users to place an order from the stadia bar’s menu, which in turn generates a QR code. When the QR code is presented to a SwipeStation located next to the bar, a paper order is generated, and the user presents it and collects the drinks or food via a fasttrack queue. Recent deployments include Sunderland FC and Leicester Tigers RUFC.
The smart thinking behind SwipeStation factors in a number of key features which benefit both the user journey and the beverage provider:– the consumer app works ‘offline’ generating the QR code whether the smart phone has connectivity or not, the presentation of the QR code to the SwipeStation ordering terminal performs a secure online transaction without the need for human intervention, and the resulting order presented to the bar staff means that there is no need for a financial transaction and related training, thus speeding up the entire process.
Each SwipeStation terminal requires resilient connectivity to enable a seamless online transaction, together with the gathering of rich user data which can be used to optimise the commercial activities of each stadia’s catering and beverage activities. Whilst using an ADSL connection is the primary route for SwipeStation’s installation strategy, a conveniently placed terminal close to each bar is seldom possible. Coupled with the costs and logistics of creating new fixed line networks within often challenging built-environments, SwipeStation looked to a more flexible and immediate solution to enable reliable connectivity without punitive costs.
SwipeStation approached IoT connectivity platform provider Wireless Logic Group to explore the possibilities of cellular connectivity. With concerns from SwipeStation over signal strength, reliability and costs, both organisations set about a test programme to evaluate the viability of 4G mobile connectivity as a realistic alternative to fixed line. Addressing each concern, Wireless Logic were able to develop a bespoke solution to meet SwipeStation’s connectivity requirements:
Using a ‘non-steered’ roaming SIM from the KPN network, each located SwipeStation automatically connects to the strongest mobile network to ensure optimum data speeds and throughput. If at any point a mobile network fails, the KPN SIM immediately reconnects to the next best provider.
Addressing reliability, Wireless Logic have delivered a ‘one-stop’ fully configured solution providing router hardware with SIM as an end-to-end solution. This gives total peace of mind to SwipeStation with the knowledge of a fully operational connected solution being installed within each terminal.
From a cost management perspective, field tests were able to prove likely data thresholds for each terminal placement, particularly during busy periods such as half time. Armed with this information, Wireless Logic determined suitable monthly usage levels with appropriate tariffs to ensure best ROI within the contracts agreed. For multiple deployments, cost management has been further optimised by ‘aggregating’ data usage across the entire SIM estate, so that busier terminals utilise the unused data of quieter locations within each stadium’s network. The entire connectivity operation is managed and controlled by Wireless Logic’s SIM management platform ‘SIMPro’ which gives complete visibility and accountability across the entire SIM estate.
To keep the SwipeStation’s data secure, each terminal is assigned a fixed IP with private APN across Wireless Logic’s private infrastructure. With further security overlays from SwipeStation’s cloud, encrypted data remains highly secure with 99.79% uptime ensuring the entire transaction is seamless, rapid and reliable.
With a focus initially on sporting stadia, SwipeStation is already being used in both the UK’s football and rugby union premierships. The organisation recognises the benefits of utilising both fixed line and secure mobile as primary solutions, with mobile giving the ‘quick to market’ flexibility for rapid rollout requirements. Using the Wireless Logic platform, new connectivity requirements, particularly across international settings may require alternative networks to the KPN roaming tariff. The big advantage for SwipeStation given this scenario is the ability to utilise the SIMPro SIM management platform across multiple networks giving total control and visibility over every deployed terminal, whether UK-based or overseas.
Adam King, CEO SwipeStation comments: “We’ve soon realised that connecting our solution via cellular is fundamental to successful deployments where fixed line is not available as the primary. In Wireless Logic, their advice, guidance and connected infrastructure have given us a resilience and flexibility for our roll-out programmes moving forward.”
As someone who has queued on endless occasions for half-time match drinks, SwipeStation is providing a brilliant service to make the entire visitor experience more enjoyable. This is smart and innovative technology at work, utilising a range of our connectivity services to deliver ‘always-on’ data solutions for the ordering stations. We look forward to the relationship growing.