March 9, 2005, 12:00 AM

Furniture retailer finds easier way to run web-based room planner

Deploying “sequence reducers” to a corporate network may sound techie and boring, but it let Raymour & Flanigan roll out a web-based room planner popular with customers and sales associates without a major network upgrade, the retailer says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Deploying “sequence reducers” to a corporate network may sound techie and boring, but it let Raymour & Flanigan roll out a web-based room planner popular with customers and sales associates without a major network upgrade that would have cost more than $250,000 a year, the retailer says.

Raymour & Flanigan, a Syracuse, NY-based retailer with more than 60 stores in the northeastern U.S., has deployed a web-based room planner application on RaymourFlanigan.com that lets customers and sales associates map out furniture placement using the retailer’s product images and specified room dimensions. But the Icovia room planner application, from Londonderry, NH-based Hookumu Inc., absorbed so much bandwidth that it would immediately block voice traffic on the same network, says Dave Foster, the retailer’s director of networks and telecommunications.

"If you were on the phone and fired up the room planner application, the call was dropped almost without failure," he says. "Yet despite its impact on voice traffic, the room planner delivered enormous value to customers and thus the company was committed to its implementation."

To accommodate both the graphics-intensive room planner and voice traffic on the retailer’s wide area network, Raymour & Flanigan considered multiple circuit upgrades that would have cost more than $250,000 annually, the company says. Instead, it deployed a series of Peribit Sequence Reducer platforms from Santa Clara, CA-based Peribit Networks, which has also let Raymour & Flanigan deliver voice over IP communications over the same network.

The sequence reducers more than double the bandwidth of the retailer’s WAN, Foster says. The retailer forecasts a return on investment within 12 months.

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