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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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Apple iOS 8 and MAC Randomization: What It means for Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) Solution

As you may have read, Apple’s iOS 8 will come with some changes to the way MAC addresses are exposed in Wi-Fi probe requests. Apple’s intent was to provide an additional layer of privacy for consumers and target those companies that offer analytics without providing any value to the end consumer. We’ve been getting some questions about what this means and how it impacts our Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX)  solution, so we wanted to clear this up for our customers.

What does this mean for you? 

First and foremost, Cisco has always been dedicated to privacy for our customers and their end-users. There are four aspects of privacy that are built into our CMX solution:

1. Anonymous Aggregate Information: All analytics are based on aggregate, anonymized location data.

2. Permission-based: Users have to opt-in to join a Wi-Fi network or download an app

3. MAC Address Hash: Users’ MAC addresses can be hashed before exposing to 3rd party apps

4. Opt Out: End-users are always presented with the option to opt out of location-based services

The true value of CMX analytics for organizations is in aggregate location data to be used for business analysis to improve the customer experience for end-users. Providing customers with high performing Wi-Fi not only keeps always-on mobile users happy and opens the doors to delighting customers with more personalized experiences, but also helps provide more granularity to those aggregate trends to feed back into the experience creation machine. Win-win.

What does this mean for our CMX value proposition? Read More »

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Indoor WiFi Location and Beacons: Better Together

wifibeaconIn just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.

Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:

How do beacons work?

Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags.  These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.

I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »

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#HITEC Higlight: How Cisco’s CMX is Delivering Profitable Outcomes to the Hotel Industry

hitec14.1HITEC 2014 takes place this week in Los Angeles, where the brightest minds and hottest technology in the Hospitality industry congregate in one place, with over 300 companies displaying the latest technology solutions to the industry.

CMX is featured at the HITEC Convention in both the Cisco booth and as a part of the Hyatt keynote address.

Cisco CMX @ HITEC

Cisco’s CMX solution was on display at the Cisco Booth and also running at the event venue the Los Angeles Convention Centre.

The following screen shots show some examples of the analytics in action at the show.

This is a heat map of devices during the early part of the morning when the exhibition flow first opened, and the delegates can be seen streaming in the front entrance and then spreading out across the show floor. We can also see that over 3000 devices have already been detected at the venue.

hitec14.2 Read More »

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Are you up for the CMX topcoder Challenge?

topcoderdevx8_300x250[5]Cisco CMX Mobility Developer Challenge is under way at topcoder. CMX Mobile Application SDK can be leveraged in a mobile application to provide indoor location and navigation for users. The SDK will connect with the CMX Mobile App Server to determine a user’s location, downloading maps, venues, point of interests, and determine routes for a selected point of interest. The CMX Mobile Application SDK can also receive a mobile push notification when application is not running. When notified, the application can be launched and include message how to join the customer network when first initiated. The core feature is the indoor location which displays current location of device on the map. The location updated as a user moves through a venue and can help navigate the user to some defined location.

topcoder1

The topcoder challenge is to use the CMX Mobile Server SDK to create a new app using a simulated environment for a meeting host to automatically launch a WebEx conference, based on the location of the conference room where the meeting is scheduled.

The SDK is composed of several modules to allow for varying types of application integration. The CMXClient is the core module for getting client and venue information. Read More »

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