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The Key to Success in Tracking Mobile Devices: Symbiosis, Not Espionage

As a shopper enters a store, the retailer uses Wi-Fi to track her movements, interests, and shopping habits, providing a treasure trove of insight valuable to merchandising and product development alike.

And as advances in Wi-Fi promise increasing location precision and beacons promise pinpoint location based services, the future appears to be smooth sailing, right?

Well, not exactly.

Tracking the position of mobile devices accurately and correlating to personal data has been one of the most sought after Big Data objectives. And not just for retailers — the potential wealth of business value from data has drawn piqued interest across nearly all industries.

Yet in the real world, issues arise from both technology challenges and privacy concerns alike.

Technology challenges include:

  • Typical Wi-Fi accuracies in the 7-to-10 meter range (though Angle of Arrival and improved location analytics promise dramatic improvements)
  • Infrequent mobile device probing to conserve battery power
  • Interference from metal shelves & fixtures, water in products (and people!)

Privacy qualms speak to the heart of transformation in the Internet of Everything (IoE) age. IoE, after all, is the explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things — and promises to be one of the most impactful periods of change in our history. And the people element is in some ways the whole point — to make our lives better, healthier, more efficient, and so forth. But the people issues will be just as challenging as those that arise around technology. Read More »

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Small Business Profile: Auto Union Tuning

July 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm PST

Hello all,

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Out here in Southern California, in a town called Huntington Beach, is a growing Auto Shop called Auto Union Tuning.

It is a special place where the owners, Dave and Raz specialize in car care, maintenance and tuning of VW, Audi and Porsche automobiles. On any day, you will find a combination of these three car makes on the lifts and in the garages. From quick VAG-com checks to complete engine rebuilds, you name it, this shop can take care of most work.

There is one specific car they specialize in is the Audi B5 S4. This particular model is sought after by Audi enthusiasts for the tuning potential. This S4 was manufactured between 1997 and 2002, which sported a twin-turbocharged 2.7 liter inline 6 cylinder engine. Some key upgrades can make a 10+ year old car beat new Nissan GTR’s, Supercharged BMW M3′s, Supercharged Corvette’s, Vipers, Shelby’s etc. down a quarter mile.

But alas, that is another story.

I first met Raz back when I was in search of someone to work on my own B7 Audi S4 Avant. Thankfully, I met Raz and he worked on my baby until I sold her to a gentleman that flew out from Salt Lake City and bought my Audi S4 site unseen. This largely because of a conversation I recommended my buyer to have with AUT. Yes, AUT did a good job not only maintaining and caring for my then car. But it is the countless other AUT customers who told others about their experience in how AUT handled their customers and their customers cars. Simply, the they did a great job in running a great business. In the few years I have known the owners, I have seen their business being born, move into a small shop, expand into neighboring units, then move into their current facility, which I must say, is impressive.

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The Office

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The Lifts

With all of this growth, Raz and Dave has seen their network needs and requirements evolve. At first, basic network connectivity using a consumer all-in-one router did it’s job obediently for the first few years, but once they moved into the new facility, things had to change. Simply, the networking strategy had to grow up.

Fast Forward to today, there’s now a total of two new mechanics, office employees, three new workstations and a new ticket writing software that needs to be available on multiple workstations. No doubt new employees and more requirements on their network will be coming in the future.

Yes, Raz and Dave have planned for growth. The new waiting room and front office now houses new couches and a TV. New wheel displays are set-up, vendor banners are hung, and the walls are newly painted.There is a bunch of exhaust and performance parts displayed around the room.

But this planning also included a new need for wireless guest access and of course a secure network where Auto Union Tuning Employees can access secure files and applications, such as the new ticket software. With some discussion, and some assistance, Team AUT procured new Cisco Small Business product, including one of Ivor’s 300 Series PoE Managed Switches, and a pair of Nasser’s WAP551 wireless access points. All of the workstations are hard-lined into the 300 Series Switch, and the WAP551′s are set-up and deployed with a guest network and secure internal network and they are now providing blazing performance in the office and garage workspaces. The entire deployment was said to be under 30 minutes. Much of the time savings was due to the WAP551′s Single Point Setup. The team has some cleanup work, cable management, mounting the wireless access points, but most of the heavy lifting work is complete. The AUT Team is happy with the new network and greeting new customers every day.

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Auto Union Tuning’s Owners: Raz and Dave

Auto Union Tuning is but one example of how a small business can literally take off from day one and transform and evolve into a growing, thriving business. With honest, good old fashioned hard work comes success and growth. With this growth comes the necessity for it’s networking infrastructure to be flexible and scalable.

We think you will find that the Cisco Small Business portfolio fits this model rather well.

For more information on our portfolio of networking products -- click on these links: switching, wireless, routing.

Thanks for the read.

Marc

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Is your Business ready for 802.11ac?

June 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm PST

This week we finished our biggest product announcement in recent memory.The various teams worked hard to bring out to our partners and customers products that delivered maximum quality, flexibility and value.

One of the products included was the new Cisco Small Business WAP371 Wireless Access Point. This Access Point is the first 802.11ac model in the portfolio representing a paradigm shift in the way you as a business owner can improve wireless performance for your business. This new model has a dual radio, includes a Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE) LAN port and has the ever-popular Single Point Set-up capability. The WAP371 also features Captive Portal for guests, and like the rest of the wireless portfolio, offers simple set-up and deployment with an intuitive user interface and set-up wizards.

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But this release raises the question regarding exactly why you should think about upgrading your small business wireless network.

Nasser Tarazi, Product Manager for the Cisco Small Business Wireless Access Points, talks about reasons why to take a look at the all-new WAP371.

“Right now is a good time for Small Businesses to consider upgrading their wireless networks from older 802.11 technologies to 802.11ac. First-off, 802.11ac is three times faster than it’s predecessor, 802.11n. The use of Multiple-Antenna, Multiple-in, Multiple-out technology (MIMO) reliably delivers this boost in performance providing for a much better user experience.”

Nasser goes on, “We expect over 70% of mobile devices will be 11ac-enabled by 2016. Like mentioned before, 11ac is three times faster than 11n, so from business-critical to social media applications, improved wireless high-speed performance will ensure your applications will run smoothly, reliably. Also, range is better, even for 11n enabled devices.”

“Security is on every business owner’s mind. 802.11ac is more secure than 11n. And in fact, 11ac is also more power efficient, which can result in a 30% improvement in battery life for your wireless devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Finally, 11ac provides for greatly improved client density, so high-client use cases such as schools, churches, and other organizations will greatly benefit from the upgrade to 11ac.”

Check out our FAQ and the WAP371 product page for more information.

Thanks for your time!

Marc and Nasser

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Small Business Team Update: Friday the 13th

June 13, 2014 at 9:41 am PST

It is Friday the 13th and we have a full moon, perfect time to provide a quick update from the Cisco SMB Team.

First off, we have posted a Teaser Announcement providing a quick view of some new products that are coming out later this month. The entire Cisco SMB Team has been working hard on this new launch so look for more information that will be coming out.

220 Smart Plus Series

220 Smart Plus Series

The Switching Team currently has a cisco.com for the new 220 Smart Plus Series.

Ivor Diedricks posted a new Blog earlier this month called Understanding the different types of Ethernet Switches. He explains the differences between fixed and modular switches, and goes into the details of what makes an Unmanaged, Smart and Fully Managed models. It is a good read, if you haven’t already, please take a look.

Finally, I have a new RV325 emulator on our Cisco Emulator Page. These emulators provide you the chance to take a test drive through our device user interface. You can take a look at our easy-to-use configuration wizards, configure features such as VLAN’s, Single-Point-Setup on our Wireless Access Points, and even configure VPN’s on the routers.

Make it a safe Friday the 13th!

 

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How the Shift to Mobility & Location-Based Services is Changing Hospitality & Guest Services.

Mobility trend in Hospitality

A recent TripAdvisor survey found that over 40% of travelers use their smart phones to plan a trip and over 46% use their smart phones to enhance their trip while traveling.

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No longer is it just an idea or an aspiration for the hospitality industry to use innovative methods to engage with their guests, for example Marriott Hotels, just this year, announced the addition of mobile checkout to its industry-leading Marriott Mobile app for smartphones. Clearly mobile check-out is just the latest innovation from the brand as a new service designed for today’s connected travelers. Read More »

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