Networking a Doddle for click and collect businesses

17 July 2018


Doddle’s aim is to make click and collect the preferred delivery choice for consumers, retailers and carriers. The company has already partnered with more than 100 retailers, including  Amazon, ASOS, eBay, amongst others, to offer what it claims is the “best” parcel collection and returns service.

With ambitious expansion plans, Doddle needed the ability to deploy and remotely operate its network across a large number of dispersed sites. It has more than 80 stores in train stations, universities, shopping centres and business parks, and many sites are in confined or restricted spaces. The company therefore needs to operate an efficient and reliable network without cumbersome and space-intensive hardware.

Doddle turned to Cradlepoint for help to design and deploy a cost-effective, robust solution that would not require a fixed cable or hardware cabinet. The vendor’s AER1600 all-in-one network solution was chosen to replace legacy equipment across 50 stores and is now the technology model for ongoing expansion. 

Cradlepoint says it was able to offer a flexible solution with cloud-managed networking and built-in connectivity for DSL, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi with dual-modem, multi-carrier cellular support. Doddle can run multiple handheld computers, label printers, tablets and payment devices alongside the AER1600. The platform is then supported by Enterprise Cloud Manager, the network management service available in Cradlepoint’s NetCloud platform.

Doddle CTO Gary O’Connor adds that Cradlepoint has enabled his company to shrink the space taken up by hardware, freeing-up more square inches for parcel storage. As a result of the deployment, it’s claimed Doddle can now have a shop up and running within hours and operate from even the smallest places with a minimal footprint.

Cradlepoint says the firm can operate sites from a single in-store connection, bringing together routing, multi-WAN support, advanced security, private network support, and high-performance Wi-Fi in a platform that it can deploy, manage, and optimise via the cloud.

The platform has also helped overcome another challenge Doddle faced – the company only has a small IT team supporting its employees and resources shared with retail partners. O’Connor says cloud management capability is a big support to the team, allowing them to remotely provision hundreds of devices around the country and isolate and address any issues without having to go into the field. “If we have to validate and switch a connection from wired to mobile, it’s easily done.”