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Continuant Helps an Outdoor Sport Retailer Keep Phones Running Indoors 

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With its 79-year history as the go-to place for quality outdoor gear, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) today boasts 10 million+ active members and customers worldwide who shop at one of REI Co-op’s 129 energy-efficient “brick and mortar” stores as well as its online store. Those brick and mortar locations had a unique array of technology and needed to make it work with newer equipment to keep business futureproof. 

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The Challenge

  • Old CAT3 cable infrastructure not built for new technology 
  • Reliance on discontinued Toshiba equipment 
  • Difficulty facilitating remote workers 

The Solution

  • New Cisco collaboration solution 
  • High end quick deploy meeting rooms 
  • Phybridge system to make new technology work with old infrastructure 

The Story

Formed as a cooperative in 1938 by a group of Seattle mountaineers seeking quality climbing gear, REI has grown steadily over the years in both revenues and membership numbers, giving the company a loud voice when it comes to protecting public lands and the environment. “Stewardship is a choice and a mindset,” says REI’s President and CEO, Jerry Stritzke. “It means that we look at our business differently, and we take individual responsibility for making a positive, lasting impact.” 

For years, most of REI’s retail stores relied on Toshiba telephone systemsThese systems served the stores well, but eventually Toshiba was bought out in its entirety by Mitel, and the old systems were discontinued. The disappearance of the Toshiba equipment left the REI stores with a slew of CAT3 cables, which most modern systems wouldn’t be able to use. As REI looked ahead to a potential future with Cisco systems, it seemed as though the transition would be easier said than done. 

Continuant had been maintaining REI’s Toshiba systems for many years. When REI expressed the need for a new system, Continuant was more than willing to help.

The biggest hurdle Continuant and REI had to face during the transition was the antiquated infrastructure in the retail stores. Cisco’s newer equipment couldn’t connect to the CAT3 cables that had maintained the Toshiba system it was replacing. Ordinarily, this would require taking out all the cables completely and rewiring the system from the ground up. In REI’s case, Continuant was able to use a Phybridge solution to circumvent the issue. 

REI’s new solution didn’t end with the new phones. At Continuant’s corporate headquarters, representatives from REI saw Continuant’s meeting rooms in action. With Crestron control systems, industry-leading AV, and a cloud-based collaboration solution with high-quality audio and video conferencing, it didn’t take long before the REI visitors began asking how they could get a few of their own. That same year, Continuant delivered some of its quick deploy meeting rooms to REI’s store in the Seattle South Center complete with a Crestron solution. 

As useful as quality meeting rooms are, designing and installing one can take time. Some organizations aren’t willing or able to invest the resources it takes to get one up and running. In those situations, Continuant’s quick deploy meeting room are the perfect solution.  

Quick deploy meeting rooms are based on premade designs on-hand and ready to be installed as soon as possible. For a company like REI, this simple, expedited process allowed it to drastically improve its collaboration between on-premise and remote workers. Each room comes fully equipped with the best AV technology the industry has to offer and a fully integrated Crestron control system. 

Continuant now enables both REI’s Cisco solution and its new meeting rooms in its distribution center. Even in events where people choose to stay indoors, this store for the outdoors can keep itself working for years to come. 

Learn more about Cisco Managed Services and our Meeting Room Solutions

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