EB Games upgrades network to push more video to stores

Private IP network rollout replaces ADSL

EB Games is in the middle of upgrading network connectivity at its chain of retail stores. The games retailer is rolling out a private IP network to replace ADSL.

"One of the big things we're doing in our stores at the moment is implementing digital media," EB Games head of IT Peter Blyth said.

"Probably around about a third or a little bit more of our store network has digital media playing on TVs.

"Some stores will only have one in the front window but others will have anywhere up to 20 TVs in the store, and there might be six or seven digital media players in the store."

"As you can imagine, when you're pushing video down to stores it consumes quite a lot of data," Blyth said.

"The previous situation we had with stores was they were using ADSL services with a data cap. We now have basically an unlimited ability to move data between our head office and our stores."

The network rollout through Macquarie Telecom is scheduled to be completed in mid-October, ahead of the retailer's busy Christmas sales period.

Blyth said he is currently also in discussions with the telco about potentially ditching tape and instead using Macquarie's Sydney data centre to back up data from EB Games' Brisbane DC.

"One of the big projects that we had this year was implementing a new ERP system, which was driven by our GameStop parent company in the US," Blyth said.

The plan was to backup data in the ERP system to GameStop servers in the US, but the volume of data involved made it impractical to do in EB Games' backup window. As a result the games retailer currently relies on tape, but Blyth is considering pushing data from Brisbane to a SAN in the telco's data centre.

A potential bandwidth-on-demand offering might allow the retailer to temporarily purchase more bandwidth to ship backup data south during backup windows.

Blyth said that the relationship with Macquarie Telecom, which began four years ago, had stepped up over the last year, with EB Games migrating mobile services to the telco in August and store voice services in April.

EB Games has managed to cut telco costs by 30 per cent by switching and that Macquarie's support hub setup had reduced the time his IT team spent seeking customer support, the EB Games head of IT said. "They use a Net Promoter Score in their hub in Sydney and they have a very big focus on it," Blyth said.

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