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Walmart AMP deploys Juniper Networks’ AI-driven networking

Walmart AMP deploys Juniper Networks’ AI-driven networking

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Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion implements Juniper Networks’ AI-driven networking to provide exceptional experiences for its artists, patrons and staff.

Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, has announced that the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion (AMP), an 11,000-capacity open-air performance venue and top destination in Northwest Arkansas, chose Juniper’s AI-driven networking to improve the technology experience for its artists, guests and staff.

Juniper Wireless Access Points and Juniper EX4400 Multigigabit Switches have been deployed in conjunction with the Juniper Mist Cloud and Mist AI to deliver predictable, reliable and measurable connectivity across the Walmart AMP.

Heightened density and mobility requirements in entertainment venues like the Walmart AMP make it particularly challenging to deliver great Wi-Fi. Its Wi-Fi network covers 185,000 square feet, including a 12,000-square-foot covered seating area, an expansive lawn, concession stands and walkways, with additional Wi-Fi coverage in the backstage areas.

Jon Downey, Director of IT, Walmart AMP and Walton Arts Center

Walmart AMP employees use the network for staffing, inventory and other administrative tasks, while artists and the touring production companies run their jobs from the venue, so a reliable network is essential for tour management. Mist AI optimizes the Wi-Fi RF settings in real time, enabling artists and guests to experience seamless wireless connectivity throughout the venue. Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance and Wired Assurance streamline network operations and speed troubleshooting.

“As a non-profit, we’ll never have an army of network engineers,” said Jon Downey, Director of IT, Walmart AMP and Walton Arts Center. “Learning about Juniper and Mist AI opened my eyes that the network, with AI-driven radio resource management and self-healing capabilities, can be my army. Juniper not only provides me the full picture of my network so I can proactively ensure it’s running optimally before a concert, but I can also be more efficient troubleshooting any issues with the amount of data I have at my fingers.”

“We want our customers to have the fastest deployment they have ever had across all Wi-Fi vendors and technology generations, the fastest mean-time-to-resolution of problems and, overall, the simplest and easiest operations ever,” said Sudheer Matta, Group Vice President of Product Management for the AI-driven Enterprise, Juniper Networks. “While these are ambitious outcomes, the even bolder part is when we achieve these with large customers like Walmart AMP.”

“We are using data to improve operations, and the network will be able to tell us where people are in the venue to optimize entry points and help them find the services that are the closest to them,” said Downey. “Not only can we get 1,000 people through the gates in 10 minutes, but the entire guest experience has also been transformed from the moment a patron’s ticket is scanned.”

We asked Jon Downey, Director of IT, Walmart AMP and Walton Arts Center, further questions to find out more.

Why is it challenging for entertainment venues to deliver effective Wi-Fi?

The two main challenges for entertainment venues implementing Wi-Fi are capacity and coverage. The number of patrons in the venue is just as important as the number of devices on the network, which is our capacity. Coverage is also a challenge as patrons, staff and visiting performers expect to have connectivity wherever they are on the property. This is especially difficult when you run an outdoor amphitheater entertainment venue. 

Can you explain why a reliable network is essential for both staff and performers?

A reliable network for any entertainment venue is your backbone to daily operations. In an industry driven by digital systems and data, your network is what brings all that together. For venue staff, the network is used to coordinate hundreds of staff – each with different roles and responsibilities – to deliver a successful event for thousands of patrons.

For the performers and their touring crew, they use the venue and its network to drive their business forward and the event for that day, so it is important their experience is seamless from the time they land at the venue.

How has Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance and Wired Assurance facilitated the streamlining of network operations and increased the speed of troubleshooting?

Our IT mantra here at the Walton Arts Center and Walmart AMP is ‘know about the issue before the business and fix it before they even care’.

Before Juniper, we had zero visibility to our network which resulted in the IT staff being stuck in ‘firefighting’ mode and the business waiting on IT to resume business. Juniper Mist brought end-to-end visibility to our entire network, allowing IT staff to move into a proactive focus.

With automated event correlation, proactive anomaly detection and self-driving network operations, our IT staff have been able to resolve all issues before any event. We also have data and troubleshooting steps at our fingertips, resulting in resolution before businesses even know there was a problem.

What is the single most beneficial aspect of having better visibility into your network?

Trust. The visibility Juniper Mist provides has assisted in building trust between IT and the business. IT uses enhanced visibility to deliver an optimal network with high availability which allows the business to stop waiting on IT and simply focus on what they are great at.

Can you elaborate on how the deployment has benefited visitors to Walmart AMP?

Whether it is our patrons who show up early to see their favorite artist or the thousands who watch and enjoy great music, they all now have great connectivity to access the Internet and livestream their experience. This deployment supported our move to becoming a cashless venue. Getting patrons through the gates faster has opened many doors for our company to pursue innovative customer experiences in the future. 

Why did you choose to work with Juniper Networks?

After researching network providers, it was clear Juniper was a leader in the space with Artificial Intelligence and computer vision additive features to create a platform that would work for our company. As a non-profit, we’ll never have an army of network engineers. Learning about Juniper and Mist AI opened my eyes that the network – with AI-driven radio resource management and self-healing capabilities – can be my army. 

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