Westfield CIO talks one network strategy

Summary:Westfield Sydney is one of the most expensive and most profitable shopping precincts in the world. It has been painstakingly put together over a decade at a cost of several billion dollars. Westfield's IT team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the whole facility can be managed on one network. Find out how they did it.

Westfield Sydney is one of the most expensive and most profitable shopping precincts in the world. It has been painstakingly put together over a decade at a cost of several billion dollars. A goal for Westfield's IT team was to ensure that the whole facility could be managed on one network. Find out how they did it.

Westfield Sydney

Westfield Sydney sits at the base of the iconic Sydney Tower.
(Westfield image by Jeremy Keith, CC2.0)

When it was revealed that the Westfield Sydney precinct will be built around the iconic Sydney Tower, it gave the IT team, headed up by company chief information officer (CIO) Peter Bourke, an opportunity to create one, ultra-efficient, all-encompassing network to become the backbone of the facility.

"This was a great opportunity for us to assess our technology and how we interact, how we manage the building, how we interact with our retailers, provide services to our retailers and, of course, how we help retailers interact with their customers," he said.

Bourke played it close to the chest when talking about the construction and capabilities of the network, but did say that having such a network was key to making such a large facility run smoothly.

"Building an infrastructure is very important, as it allows us to better manage the facilities. In a structure such as [Westfield Sydney], the ability to have a network focused on delivering services is [paramount]."

Bourke, speaking at the annual Broadband and Beyond Summit in Sydney this week, said that the one network strategy has been successfully executed to handle all of the facility's infrastructure.

That means that everything from doors, closed-circuit television cameras, air conditioning, media screens, communication systems and centre monitoring runs over the one network within Westfield Sydney.

The CIO said that the network is more than just ensuring the operation of the facility, it's about delivering better services and interaction between retailers and customers.

Bourke said that the network feeds all of its information back into one central control room occupied by Westfield's IT and facilities teams, and that security is a top priority for protecting the building's key systems.

"We have very significant backup systems for everything that we're doing and we still have a very significant number of physical security people to help with any situation that may arise," he said.

Westfield Sydney plays host to retail giants including Myer, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi's first concept store and the country's only Zara clothing store. The final stage of the build will see the centre play host to 300 stores over a million square feet of space.

Topics: CXO, E-Commerce

About

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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