Everything about the American Dream complex is wildly ambitious including its massive connectivity needs. To solve them the cutting-edge megamall is pioneering a brand new wireless technology that promises to be a game changer.
The goal of using new wireless technology, like everything else at American Dream Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is to deliver outstanding customer service through state-of-the-art innovation, explains Jeff Sheckter, COO of American Dream Meadowlands.
Sheckter is also the general manager of the American Dream retail and entertainment complex, which means he supervises a complex that includes 450 stores, 15 entertainment attractions and 100 places to eat in three million square feet of space that is also home to a water park, ice skating rink, ski slope, two roller coasters, an aquarium, Ferris wheel, and much more.
“We have 97 systems operating simultaneously that cover the full spectrum of wireless, wired, audio visual, background music, events, POS and more,” says Sheckter. “If we loaded everything onto a standard wired and wireless system it would have meant parsing out connectivity when and where it was needed and customer service would suffer. That is not good enough.”
Instead, the American Dream complex team decided to become a pioneer in using the OnGo LTE-based wireless technology that operates in the 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum. This is a new technology that was born out of an industry alliance of 150 companies that includes Cisco, Google, Intel, CTIA, Microsoft and many others.
Another important factor for choosing this cutting-edge technology is that it became available for commercial use in September, which is just in time for American Dream’s scheduled opening on October 25.
New Era of Wireless Connectivity
Adding to the complexity of American Dream’s connectivity requirements is an advanced traffic management system designed to service 40 million visitors annually. This system includes digital parking signage, video cameras, wayfinding signs, traffic integration systems, traffic analytics to manage flow in real time, and digital signs for customer ingress and egress.
“Because of our networking needs we were facing a multi-million dollar fiber optic implementation that would take six to eight months to complete,” says Mark Rewers, director of IT at the American Dream Meadowlands. “So instead we went with OnGo technology, which cut it down to a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the implementation time.”
One of the unique things about OnGo technology, which was developed by the CBRS Alliance, is that the American Dream complex actually owns free and clear the segment of wireless spectrum it was granted.
This means that American Dream’s 3.5 GHz spectrum license enables it to create an exclusive wireless network within its facility that is managed by a controller and based on geolocation parameters. Since American Dream owns the spectrum free and clear it can continue to modify and innovate its network infrastructure as other cutting-edge technologies such as LTE and 5G evolve.
This is an important factor for Sheckter, who wants the American Dream complex to be an example of “what the future of retail will become.” And not just today, but for many years to come.