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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.

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The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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Five Reasons to Upgrade Cisco’s CMX to MSE 8.0 Today

The highly anticipated Wireless Release 8.0 came out last week, and among the feature updates is a key set of enhancements and new modules for Cisco’s CMX solution that come with MSE 8.0.  These updates were designed to build out the breadth of location services available to organizations, as well as improve the user experience for customers working with the CMX solution. These enhancements make five great reasons to upgrade to 8.0 today and test out these new tools and features in your Wi-Fi location deployment:

1. Presence Analytics

This new feature enables the use of a single access point (AP) to determine device presence and dwell time. It provides a simplified way to leverage Wi-Fi technology to Detect, Connect, and Engage your customers. Retail stores, hotels, conference facilities, shopping malls, schools, and even city centers can greatly benefit from Presence Analytics. Unleashing this tool can help customers understand the basic, yet powerful, knowledge of the number of visitors to their space, time spent by the visitors, and frequency of visits. It can even provide a more in-depth look into the movement patterns of their visitors, while within their space, giving an understanding of which areas are most attractive to their client base.

Presence Analytics is very simple to configure by naming the entry, selecting the access point, and setting threshold values. Best of all, the majority of CMX Analytics reports are available automatically. All this allows customers to start using CMX Analytics without having to make any changes to their existing network and get immediate value from it.

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2. Enhancements to Guest Access
Those familiar with CMX Connect will know that there are two guest access solutions available to customers with Cisco CMX. The first, CMX Connect, provides organizations with a simple, secure way to provide guest Wi-Fi access. CMX Connect offers the option of custom splash pages using a zone-based captive portal.

In MSE 8.0, we have dramatically simplified how CMX Connect is configured. The administrator only needs to indicate information they’d like collected (such as, name and email), and the zones in which the template will be used. 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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#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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