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2022 Networking Predictions for Retail & Restaurant Markets

Interface Security Systems, a managed service provider, has shared its networking predictions for the restaurant and retail markets.

Network Transformation Will Gain Ground

Retail and restaurant brands were forced to pivot their business models and customer engagement strategies to tackle the disruptions during the pandemic. Brands that embraced digital transformation by revamping network infrastructure and implementing pervasive connectivity solutions, such as software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and wireless WAN, regained growth faster, according to Interface.

Supply chain bottlenecks have delayed plans for procuring new equipment. Enterprises may be forced to leverage multi-vendor infrastructure due to an inadequate supply of devices for large networks, shortage of Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches and specialty wireless access points (WAPs). Interface expects supply chain issues to ease up in Q2 2022, and that businesses will be redoubling their efforts to accelerate network transformation.

SASE Will Become Mainstream

Data security is a key concern for restaurants and retail chains that now rely on buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) or curbside pickup and e-commerce to serve a big chunk of their customer base.

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Even as customers are returning to stores and starting to dine-in again, their expectations for accessing products and services from anywhere are here to stay, says Interface. The rise in sophisticated e-commerce and BOPIS frauds presents a big threat for retailers and restaurant chains. The company expects to see increased adoption of holistic security architectures such as SASE to secure cloud applications, customers, and branch operations.

Physical and Network Security Will Converge

Security cameras, alarm systems, and access control systems that traditionally secured physical locations in a silo are now expected to serve as intelligent, integrated systems that heavily rely on the underlying network infrastructure.

Connected security devices with remote diagnostics and troubleshooting capabilities have proved their worth during the pandemic when travel was challenging. While Interface expects loss prevention teams to double down on connected security devices, the approach to designing and implementing physical security solutions is now closely tied to network capacity, traffic management capabilities, network security, and the availability of failover systems.

The company says it is already seeing a greater urgency among multi-location enterprises to switch to unified or blended security architecture and work with vendors that offer a broader set of capabilities to tackle complex physical and network security challenges.

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Convergence has also unlocked opportunities for business insights as data streams from diverse systems can be combined. For example, Interface is seeing a big uptick in customers leveraging security cameras and layering in video analytics solutions. Video analytics can uncover valuable insights to optimize store design, understand customer behavior, and identify opportunities to improve compliance and maximize sales.

Employee Experience Will Become a Competitive Advantage

Most customer-facing industries, including restaurants and retail chains, are finding it difficult to hire and retain frontline employees.

In addition to HR policies and building an enabling work culture, employers should implement a suite of technology solutions to improve working conditions. Interface expects to see retail and restaurant brands focus on implementing three core solutions to boost employee experience:

  1. Better security at the workplace through sophisticated remote video monitoring, video verified alarm services, and connected alarm/access control solutions that can offer employees the peace of mind and reassurance they need.
  2. Upgraded network infrastructure to offer reliable connectivity for critical applications such as point-of-sale can eliminate the need for employees to engage in frustrating or unproductive troubleshooting tasks and avoid loss of business.
  3. Easy access to business insights or business intelligence tools to empower employees, maximize their productivity, and serve customers better is great for employee morale and for the business.

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