Canary Wharf in London is far more than just the world-renowned landmark of the One Canada Square tower. As well as housing numerous offices in this vibrant financial district, it also offers five shopping malls containing over 300 stores. These include high-end fashion outlets, banks, services, stylish wine bars and restaurants, amid the splendour of the rejuvenated Docklands.
Canary Wharf’s retail centre’s mixture of public areas, storage facilities, private staff-only areas and various amenities inevitably means it has complex organisational and operational needs. A key ingredient to its ongoing success is undoubtedly the implementation of excellent communication between the retailers and the facilities estate management team.
Canary Wharf Group had been using a proprietary communications network across the site. Whilst it had worked well when it was installed, it had become obsolete, with a dated interface and potentially presented a single point of failure. With limited backup options, there were also questions over ongoing maintenance.
The site requires a fully integrated solution to communicate essential information (including specific opening times and maintenance schedules), along with co-ordinating responses to shoplifting, security alerts or even potentially managing an emergency situation or evacuation.
It is vital that any communications solution can cope with the variety of facilities and sheer size of the site. Additionally, the right solution needs to reliably utilise the Wi-Fi network throughout the retail centre and ensure the entire facility has full communications coverage.
The Canary Wharf estate management team put together a detailed requirement specification for a new system and began the search for the ideal provider. Having carefully examined the options, Multitone Electronics was chosen for its expert communications knowledge, proven track record and heritage in providing highly reliable, and secure solutions for large and complex facilities. The Multitone i-Message provides a powerful unified messaging solution, which brings together mass notification, staff safety and alarm centralisation, all within one system.
Peter Lomax, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Multitone, commented, “i-Message has been tried and tested across various vertical sectors for mission critical communications, wherever large groups of people meet. The Canary Wharf ‘Estate Alert’ application provides unique benefits for a retail environment, ensuring the right messages reach the right people, on the right devices.”
i-Message provides high levels of communications availability for retailers using the Estate Alert interface, which has been supplied to each tenant. This encompasses media-rich content including pictures and video, along with text messaging. It is simple to share everyday messages (such as opening times, fire alarm tests or maintenance requests) using the seamless touchscreen interface, but equally, emergency messages as well.
Whilst tenants use the robust Estate Alert devices, the security teams are alerted via smart devices (including smart watches). As with Estate Alert, security teams have full access to media-rich content and two-way communications, so messages can be accepted, responded and tracked. Additionally, a real-time map board shows the location of alarms and can be used to assist in a lock-down or evacuation.
The Multitone solution has now been deployed across all the stores, locations and public areas. Stores can now work directly with security teams in the event of a crime or lost child. CCTV images of the person of interest can be lifted and sent to the Estate Alert devices, or smart watches of the security team.
Vitally, the Multitone i-Message now provides Canary Wharf with a platform that can evolve with the needs of the facilities. Additional systems can easily be added to the network for rapid upgrades (such as fire or safety alarms or tenant’s freezers/refrigerators for example) if required. To help ensure continuation of service, the fixed Estate Alert units are tamper-proof and use Power over Ethernet (PoE) for service stability. If the system is disconnected for any reason an alarm is raised.
Lee England at Canary Wharf Shopping summed up the success of the project, “The Estate Alert solution is ideal for our communication needs. The system has scope far beyond that which we are utilising initially. We look forward to the benefits of a long-term partnership with Multitone.”