Retail Solutions - Kookai takes off with VPN saving

Kookai has upgraded its IT network to reduce cost and give staff faster access to e-mail and other applications.

The company had used ISDN to hook up 52 stores, the warehouse and its head office. ISDN works on a dial-up basis and is charged using pay-as-you-go. The new virtual private network (VPN) is based on ADSL broadband, with a fixed cost.

A VPN uses public telephone lines, where the provider guarantees a level of reliability, connectivity and security. The network resembles a system of privately-owned lines, but without the cost.

'VPNs are usually a costly project to undertake,' said Kookai network manager Lee Roper, '(up to now) ISDN was always cheaper.'

He claims that the VPN from Corporate Communications will be 35 per cent cheaper than the ISDN network, when it is completed in November.

Staff will benefit from faster connection speeds. They had been complaining that it took too long to pick up e-mail under the old system.

Future plans for the network include giving staff access to stock data in real time.