Rocky Mountaineer Vacations Takes Aim at a Moving Target With Cisco SMB Wireless Solution

— October 04, 2006


Rocky Mountaineer Vacations (RMV), an award-winning Canadian provider of premiere travel, is boosting efficiency with a wireless solution from Cisco Systems with enhanced security features. The Cisco solution – providing wireless security capabilities, management, mobility and connectivity to data and business applications – was implemented by Compugen Inc.

As part of the Armstrong Hospitality Group Ltd., RMV offers rail and motor coach services, sightseeing tours and hotel accommodations. The company ' s rail travel operation transports 140,000 travelers during the April-to-October vacation season, throughout British Columbia and Alberta. The company is undergoing major growth, expanding its rail routes and exploring new technologies, including wireless solutions, for its business processes and travel customer offerings.

In addition to vacation packages, RMV draws significant revenue from food, beverage and souvenir sales. These services are facilitated by a point-of-sale (POS) solution located in train cars and rail stations that captures and stores data while the train is in motion until it can be transmitted from a wireless access point. RMV received slow, unreliable service from its previous wireless solution – sometimes waiting up to four days to receive data – impeding business processes.

In spring 2006, the company turned to Compugen, a Cisco Silver Certified and Wireless LAN Specialized Partner, to explore larger-scale wireless solutions that would provide a reliable infrastructure for its POS solution.

“ We knew there was major potential for success with wireless, ” said Ben Guanzon, director of IT for Rocky Mountaineer Vacations. “ When we approached Compugen for a reliable, highly secure solution with high availability and a proven reputation, their response was, ‘ You have to go with Cisco. ' ”

After undertaking a full survey with Cisco wireless-site survey equipment, Compugen implemented a Cisco wireless network solution (802.11b), including Cisco Aironet ® 1300 Series access points with integrated antennas. This was an ideal equipment choice as it is configurable for access point roles, offers enhanced security mechanisms, and is optimized for harsh outdoor environments with extended operating temperature range.

Despite facing a tight deadline in the midst of RMV ' s travel season, Compugen successfully completed the first-of-its-kind deployment at each RMV site.

“The rugged terrain and openness of Rocky Mountaineer Vacations ' train station environments made this one of the most complex wireless implementations we ' ve ever undertaken, ” said Terry Mirza, senior client executive at Compugen. “ Despite challenging environmental factors and tight deployment timelines, we ' ve proven what amazing things can be accomplished through strong partnership and best-in-class technology. ”

“ When most people think about business uses for wireless technology, they think in terms of a traditional office environment, ” said David De Abreu, vice president of commercial operations at Cisco Systems. “ The Rocky Mountaineer Vacations implementation is a great example of what a little creative thinking and openness to new technologies can do for any business from an operational and customer service point of view. ”

Compugen continues to work with RMV to help ensure coverage saturation and expand the capabilities of its solution, including offering wireless connectivity for both staff and guests during travel.

“Our growth has taught us we need to be flexible and open-minded about every area of our business, particularly when it comes to technology, ” said Guanzon. “ Compugen is a company that shares that philosophy and Cisco is the perfect partner to help us accomplish our goals. ”

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