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Indoor GPS: How We’re Personalizing the Mobile App Experience

Kenny Chen

We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience at Cisco tradeshows and other events. There’s free Wi-Fi. And attendees can download the Cisco Events app (powered by GenieConnect by Lanyon) for information about all global events. This includes conference agendas, surveys, interactive maps, a network connection, speaker and exhibitor listings, and more.

We’ve just taken another big step, with indoor wayfinding. The debut was at a Cisco sales event in London, held November 12-14, 2014. Attendees could see their current location on the app’s interactive event map, making it easier to find their way around. They also learned about upcoming sessions, games, and other news from banner ads that the events team swapped out throughout the day, without any involvement from the IT team. Read More »

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Three Dimensions that Influence Location Quality

Since the earliest maps, location accuracy has always been important. Just one degree off on the high seas and the seafaring navigator could be landing in Cuba instead of Florida. As we progress from GPS to indoor location, the quality of location accuracy is no less critical.

To define the quality of location, we really need to understand the variables that influence location. This is especially true with mobile devices in the mix.

Quality of location accuracy has three dimensions:

  1. Location precision
  2. Refresh rate
  3. System latency

These three vectors are functions of how well the infrastructure is engineered and how the Read More »

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Indoor Wi-Fi Location and Beacons: Better Together Part 2

wifibeaconLocation-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.

What types of beacons are there?

Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.

Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound – they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.

Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon – the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.

Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. 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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In Case of Emergency, Location Accuracy Matters

emergencyGoing to NENA next week? Join us in Booth 515.

The ability to summon emergency assistance by using a phone to call 9-1-1 has been ingrained in our society for more than 40 years.  For a successful emergency response, it is critical that the responders receive accurate location information.  Traditional wired-line telephony is able to use the location of the physical wires as a source of information for caller location, whereas wireless technologies require more exotic mechanisms to locate a 9-1-1 caller.

Current trends expose risks in the emergency response system as we know it:

  • More and more 9-1-1 calls being made with mobile devices that are not mapped to a physical phone tied to a physical location in a venue.
  • Limited GPS location capability indoors can make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of a 9-1-1 caller in a multistory building.

Accurate caller location within a building is vital for a timely response to an emergency. With more people using cell phones while indoors, the delays that can occur when emergency responders must rely on outdoor location technologies used inside a building are becoming all too common.  This challenge can be compounded in large buildings with many floors and many rooms on each floor.

TCS and Cisco meet this challenge by using the Wi-Fi network to make emergency response faster and more efficient with:

  • Seamlessly connection of the cellular and Wi-Fi location control planes, providing results within a few meters of accuracy
  • Visibility for accurate mobile 9-1-1 caller location with wireless location mapping specific to the venue

Next week, TCS and Cisco will be presenting this innovation solution at the National Emergency Number Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Come see how we’re disrupting the emergency response space at booth 515. Join us for one of our Buzz Sessions in the NENA Exhibit Hall:

  • Monday, 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

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