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Automated Systems Consulting
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Case Study:

St. Louis Equipment Auction

Saint Louis Equipment Auction was started in May of 2007, as a division of Missouri Auto Auction. This public auction company offers vehicles and equipment to individuals and businesses. One of their IT requirements was that the facility be fully automated – from checking in vehicles to running the auction on sale day. We discovered a number of technical difficulties related to starting a new auction in a remote location that had to be overcome.

First, the auction was located 100 miles from their main auction and they wanted to run it on the same mainframe they use in Columbia. This would enable them to consolidate reporting and save a large sum of money by eliminating the need for a second mainframe. We accomplished this by creating a secure internet connection between Columbia and St. Louis. This connection extends the network in Columbia to the network in St. Louis. It enables St. Louis users to access resources in Columbia, as if they were in the Columbia office. These resources include the mainframe computer, email and other shared data.

Next, the auction block was to be located 500 feet from the office in Saint Louis, across a parking lot. There was no way to run a cable. And therefore, no way to connect the auction block to the St. Louis network. Several computers needed to be used the day of the auction on the block. So, we solved this problem by creating a wireless bridge from the auction block to the St. Louis office. This enabled users to process the live auction in real time and all data went to the mainframe in Columbia. 

Finally, they were required to run the online auction with live bidding on the internet, as part of their operation. This required the auctioneer's voice to be broadcasted on the internet, showing the current bids online and receiving bids from online bidders in real time. The auctioneer's voice required an audio streamer to broadcast audio on the internet for logged on bidders. It also required an “online clerk” to update bids on the website and receive bids from online bidders. All of this had to be accomplished with a minimum of downtime. Our solution to provide a robust Cisco wireless solution on the block to handle the streaming, in addition to the clerks usage, proved to be a very reliable configuration.