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Data Analytics, Targeted Advertising, and Privacy Go Riding in a Connected Car

I put a Zubie in my car today. I really wish that NPR’s “Car Talk” radio program was still on the air, so I could call in and say that sentence to Tom (sadly, deceased this week) and Ray Magliozzi, aka the “Click and Clack Brothers.” They’d have a lot fun with that.

After seeing so many interesting connected transportation solutions from Cisco and others at the recent ITS World Congress in Detroit, I felt inspired to get my own car connected! Zubie is one of a several available apps and services that allow you to “manage” your car from a mobile app, e.g., perform a car “health check,” see how well you drive, create geofences to track your car, for example, when your newly-licensed teenage child borrows it for the night.

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I signed up for Zubie even though I know they’re going to make money from the car-sourced analytics that they get from my car (beyond subscription fees, waived for the 1st year). According to their privacy policy, they will gather data about my vehicle usage over time, which includes speed, braking, acceleration, and the geolocation of the Zubie key that I plugged into my car’s OBD-II port. This data Read More »

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Wi-Fi Value-Added Services Improve the Retail Bottom-line

Retailing has always been a tough business.  But, the move to online shopping, the challenging economy and changes in shopper’s behavior has placed even more pressure on traditional retail margins.  Retailers are constantly looking for ways to get more people in to their store and to spend more.  Traditional retailers have long envied the massive amounts of valuable data that online retailers have available to help them better understand customer behavior and implement winning marketing tactics.  Online retailers know such valuable information as: how frequently customers return, how long they spend on the site, what they looked at but didn’t buy and where they went before and after coming to the site.  With this information, online retailers are able to rapidly adjust prices, promote certain items, and re-configure the layout of the site in almost real-time in order to increase the probability and value of a sale.  None of these data and insights has been available to bricks-and-mortar retailers -- until now.  The increasing availability of Wi-Fi in retail locations is changing all of that.

Shopping malls and retailers are increasingly offering Wi-Fi to their customers as a service to connect their mobile devices to the Internet.  Hidden in this Read More »

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Unlocking the Business Value in Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi networks seem to now be everywhere.  Once primarily confined to the home or office, we now expect Wi-Fi access in coffee shops, hotels, airports, stores and even in sport stadiums.  Not only are these Wi-Fi networks providing valuable Internet access to appreciative mobile users, they are collecting massive amounts of useful information.  Innovative businesses and operators are now learning how to unlock this valuable information to turn Wi-Fi networks into key enablers of business value.  We have identified eight technical characteristics of Wi-Fi networks that can help to deliver real value to the bottom-line:

 1.     Recognizes All Wi-Fi Enabled Devices

Recent research by Cisco IBSG shows that consumers have an average of 2.6 mobile devices, most of which are now Wi-Fi enabled.  These devices are constantly signaling of their existence to Wi-Fi networks.  As a result, Wi-Fi access points are constantly collecting information on these devices and the movements of their owners without users having to authenticate on the network.  This means that venues are collecting information on a large number of people at an – effectively anyone who enters with a Wi-Fi activated mobile device in his pocket.  However, this does not raise personal privacy issues because only the MAC address of the device is collected and the information is aggregated across all users.

2.     Hyper-Sensitive Location Read More »

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Foundational Network Traffic Collection and Analysis Setup

This introductory post explains how one of Cisco’s security research groups established a network data collection capability for large amounts of network traffic. This capability was necessary to support research into selected aspects of the Domain Name Service (DNS), but it can be adapted for other purposes.

DNS exploitation is frequently the means by which malicious actors seek to disrupt the normal operation of networks. This can include DNS Cache Poisoning, DNS Amplification Attacks and many others. A quick search at cisco.com/security yields a lot of content published, indicating both the criticality and exposures associated with DNS.

Our research required the ability to collect DNS data and extract DNS attributes for various analytical purposes. For this post, I’ll focus on collection capabilities regarding DNS data. Read More »

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Wi-Fi: From ‘Poor Cousin’ to Preferred Partner

For much of Wi-Fi’s history, technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications. Today, all that is changing with the explosive demand for mobile data, the proliferation of new and powerful devices, and shifts in customer behavior and usage.  Increasingly, Wi-Fi is seen by technologists and consumers alike as a partner to licensed mobile, enabling expanded wireless access.

Based on research and engagements with leading operators throughout the globe, the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group has identified six important trends that we believe are redefining this new world of Wi-Fi:

 1.     Predominance of Wi-Fi for Wireless Access Read More »

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