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Stride Rite Deploys iPass Retail Office and Broadband Wireless Connectivity to Reduce Costs and Improve Efficiency in More Than 350 Locations Nationwide

4/6/09 - iPass, Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS) announced that Stride Rite has standardized on iPass Retail Office and Broadband Wireless Primary Service options throughout its more than 350 U.S. stores. The Retail Office service gives Stride Rite complete managed network access -- enabling its locations to be Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant -- and provides seamless connectivity while controlling wide-area network (WAN) expenses. The Wireless Primary Service option allows Stride Rite to stay connected through iPass-provided 3G connectivity.

For more than 85 years, Stride Rite has been designing and selling affordable footwear that stands up to the rough-and-tumble ways of active kids. The company maintains several factories in China, two distribution centers in the U.S. and one in Europe. Before adopting iPass Retail Office, the company used dial-up connections for all of its locations, which limited the types of applications it could deploy, adversely affecting customer service and increasing costs. The company selected iPass to increase employee productivity and reduce communication expenses across its locations, while ensuring that critical applications, information and customer transactions were protected.

"We evaluated several solutions based on security, price and coverage, and iPass was by far the best," said Liz Napier, manager of retail store systems, Stride Rite. "To be PCI compliant, there are an overwhelming number of rules regarding service monitoring, exception handling, quarterly reporting and other tasks. If we had to do it ourselves, it would've taken a large dedicated team at Stride Rite. But iPass takes care of everything PCI-related for us."

Stride Rite is using iPass to support its point of sale (POS) system, and conduct credit and debit transactions. iPass Retail Office is PCI compliant, giving Stride Rite the confidence that its customers' confidential information is secure. Additionally, the service has helped streamline the company's inventory process and improve the customer experience by providing access to customer relationship management (CRM) applications and other corporate resources. Like all iPass retail customers, Stride Rite has access to iPass' Managed Network Services portal, which provides a dashboard display of all the company's store connectivity. At a glance, managers can see which stores are fully operational, which are on backup and if any are down.

"At iPass, our goal is to make remote and mobile connectivity simple so that our retail customers, like Stride Rite, can focus on delivering high customer satisfaction and operational excellence rather than managing hundreds of connections from numerous providers of DSL, 3G, cable, T1 and wireless services," said Chris Linden, director of managed network services at iPass. "iPass Retail Office unifies the underlying multi-carrier infrastructure into a reliable and secure service."

iPass Retail Office aggregates hundreds of cable and DSL provider networks into the most complete high-speed broadband network in North America. The service provides retailers with always-on access in a secure and well-managed environment compliant with PCI regulations. iPass Retail Office also provides a full suite of managed services, including qualification and provisioning, 24/7 proactive network monitoring and management, regular vulnerability testing and automatic trouble ticketing and email alerts.

iPass has installed all required infrastructure in each store to ensure a successful deployment of the service. In addition, Stride Rite plans to deploy iPass in all future stores.

By Robert Hoskins

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