A smart network.
That is resilient and diverse.
“International peering was a key requirement as our operations are geographically spread, predominantly throughout Australasia and Asia. It was essential that having our base in New Zealand was not a limitation. Direct backhaul connectivity would allow remote staff, our international DCs and systems to communicate as if they were next door to each other.”
Group IT Manager
BCS Group may not be a household name but its products and services touch millions of people every day.
From super-sized airport baggage systems responsible for maneuvering millions of luggage items around the world, to complex material handling and sortation solutions employed by manufacturers and the freight industry, this company’s products are highly innovative, highly complex, and highly relied upon: If one of its system goes down, the resulting backlog can lead to a catastrophic domino effect bringing a manufacturing site, an airport, or a major city highway to a standstill.
How it connects its remote staff, key sites and client equipment to its main nerve centre in Auckland is a major priority for the business. So BCS Group set about finding a network provider who would truly grasp the dramatic (and financial) consequences of downtime, and who could offer a trusted solution.
BCS Group undertook extensive research, identifying where each network provider, ISP and reseller sits in the complex world of connectivity. It wanted to avoid a repeat experience from working with other providers where contention and latency increasingly became an issue. The company developed a clear brief on what it expected from its chosen supplier, outlined here by Group IT Manager, Brett Hobbs:
“We needed a technically-smart network that was resilient and diverse. If part of the network went down, what was the alternative route?”
Buying straight from the source
“We also wanted to remove the middleman and buy direct. In that way, if there were any issues, we could talk directly to engineers for an immediate response and resolution.
“Latency and contention were major drivers too. Our products demand extremely low latency and high throughput. Every day, our systems crunch huge amounts of data, providing reports that reveal information such as how quickly a plane’s luggage has been processed to the number of items in transit. Being able to access this in real time is critical: if there is a jam, we need to know immediately. For example, at Melbourne Airport alone, we’re responsible for processing approximately one million luggage items a day. There’s no room for error.
“And importantly, we wanted a supplier who would be an ideal fit in terms of size, structure and customer responsiveness. One who shared a similar set of values, and were open to ideas.”
Direct line to network engineers
The more Brett talked to other providers, understood the limitations of their infrastructure and support teams, the easier the decision became, he says. Eventually, the shortlist came down to two. The deciding factor was the accessibility and responsiveness of technical staff.
Brett says: “I asked to meet with the Vocus engineers. Straight away, I was really impressed with the depth of knowledge and ability to answer all my questions. I didn’t have to wait for a third party response or anyone to get back to me. This was a major plus, particularly as I’d encountered other providers who simply lacked in this area.”
While SLAs are nice to have (which Vocus provides) – and are essential when BCS Group is pitching for major projects – it admits to being more interested in the reality of resiliency and reliability. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to head down the road of whose fault it is. We just want a no-nonsense network that delivers on its promise, and never lets us, or our customers, down.”
Diverse, scalable access
And that’s what they got. The Vocus’ solution comprises two high bandwidth dedicated fibre circuits (for resiliency), linking its Auckland site directly into the Vocus network. Being independent, Vocus provides diversity too for the final tail via multiple carriers. This bespoke design featuring the all-important, diverse access connectivity is also highly scalable, easily matching this fast-growing company’s future data demands.
Where and how the Vocus’ international network extends into Asia provides an important benefit. For example, BCS’ data jumps on the network at Auckland, takes the shortest, fastest route direct to Singapore (or literally hundreds of other POPs throughout Asia, America and Australasia) without ever touching a third party network. For a business like BCS Group, these multiple direct connections on a network fully controlled by a single, specialist provider offers a real breakthrough in quality, service and online performance.
Furthermore, having committed, guaranteed bandwidth ensures BCS is never restricted by contention – a common and frustrating problem for businesses who discover their connection is diluted and consequently slow.
Unsurprisingly, for a company with a constant eye for progress, BCS Group has some major IT projects in the pipeline. These include a new ERP and document management system, as well as the prospect of offering software as a solution to its customers. Brett concludes, “It’s great to know that these initiatives won’t be constrained due to slow connectivity. We’re in a great position to continue to scale our business, and enjoy continued growth.”
"Our products demand extremely low latency and high throughput... There's no room for error."
Brett Hobbs, IT Manager, BCS Group.
- BCS Group Ltd specialises in the design, manufacture, installation and servicing of baggage and material handling systems throughout the world. In six years, staff numbers have increased from 70 to 350. Clients include several of the major Asian and Australian airports, plus Transit and Toll.
- Regarded as true pioneers in the airport and freight industries, one of its better known innovations include the self-check in Bag Drop system commissioned by Air New Zealand, now operating in several international airports.
- The company takes a zero tolerance to connectivity downtime; it could face SLA penalties of $200,000 per hour (for example, if an aeroplane or fleet of delivery trucks is delayed). Therefore reliance on its network is paramount.
- Headquartered in Auckland and with several offices around the world, BCS Group has multiple fibres connecting into the Vocus network throughout different points of presence, offering diversity and redundancy.