IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer, with 328 branches in 28 countries – a company that proves extremely difficult to run. That’s why the Swedish retailer turns to technology to ensure its smooth running, with the IKEA Service Centre in Belgium having recently installed a Black Box Coalesce Wireless Presentation system to share financial data quickly and easily on a big screen using PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and videos.

Management was looking to roll-out wireless, software-based solutions to nine of its conference rooms and various huddle spaces, with the company having tested and researched various different options. IKEA eventually settled on Black Box’s Coalesce as it met many of their needs – including ease of use and cost.

“The more technology that  is present in the room, the more risk of it disappearing or breaking,” says Dries Roggeman, country and local IT manager for IKEA Belgium.

IKEA decided to avoid using dongles, which would require every PC user to connect to the system. This solution also turned out to be a lot more costly than a networked solution such as Coalesce where the user  can access the system through the existing infrastructure. Meeting participants can use Coalesce client software on a standard USB stick  for their laptops, or an application for iOS or Android tablets and smartphones, instead of a hardware dongle.

The company preferred not to install any software on individual PCs. IKEA has a strict software policy, employees do not hold administrator rights, and nothing beyond the standard list of software may be installed. Deviating from this software list as an individual country within the international IKEA Group proved impossible.

After assessing the technology, ease of use  and cost, Coalesce proved to be the ideal solution with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). “Coalesce was actively tested by our staff for two weeks in one of the conference rooms. A short manual was sufficient to inform users about the operation,” says Dries. “Moreover, it is easy for our IT department to manage all our Coalesce systems via the Coalesce Central platform.”

To maintain the security of the network, visitors are given the software via USB or app, after  which they can connect to the specified SSID. With the built-in firewall between the wired and wireless interface, it is possible to ensure security on the network, while visitors can still access the internet.

“Coalesce works seamlessly. We don’t even notice the presence of technology in the conference room, and Coalesce complies fully with our expectations. The solution is now being examined by the Retail division  within the IKEA group, and could also  be rolled-out to other  countries, in addition to Belgium.” concludes Dries.

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