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Deep Dive: Mobility Services APIs (with Sample Code!)

Last week, my colleague Rajiv walked you through an overview of how our Mobility Services API now supports REST based APIs. As a developer for the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) team, I am very excited about this update because it means that it will be easier for developers to create apps using the MS-API, which hopefully means that more and more organizations will be able to take advantage of the location-based services and functionalities of the MSE. I’m going use this blog to walk you through some of the more technical aspects of the change.

The Basics

The REST API is now widely used in the field of API based web applications. The REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is an architecture that is based on set of six rules, and APIs that support REST follow all those rules, making them RESTful.

Compared to SOAP, REST has better performance, scalability, simplicity, modifiability, visibility, portability, and reliability. For secured REST API transactions, HTTPS is recommended.

RESTful Mobility Services API

7.5 applications, including features from the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution such as Browser Engage and CMX Analytics, are now supporting REST APIs in addition to the existing SOAP APIs previous releases (backward compatibility).

CMX utilizes the basic authentication scheme to authenticate each REST API request. It utilizes the Authorization header in the HTTP packet. The Authorization header is composed as follows:

- Username and password are combined into a string “username:password”.
- The resulting string literal is then encoded using Base64.
- The authorization method, a space and the string “Basic” is then put before the encoded string.

The API credentials can be accessed from Prime Infrastructure (PI), which manages CMX (page is located under Mobility Services > Specific MSE > System > Users).

As Rajiv mentioned last week, the Mobility Services REST APIs can be grouped in the following way:

-          MAP APIs

-          Real time location APIs

-          Location history APIs

-          Notification APIs

Let’s break them down with use cases to get a better picture of when you’d use which. Read More »

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Cisco Mobility Services APIs go RESTful

As a product manager, I am happy and excited to tell you that Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) now supports REST based APIs. Why am I happy and excited you ask? MSE’s REST based APIs allow web app developers to rapidly develop location aware apps with ease.  Let me walk you through this new feature at a high level, and my colleague will take you through a closer look feature blog next week.

Mobility Services Engine and API support

For readers who are not familiar with the Cisco Mobility Service Engine and the APIs, here’s the gist:

-          Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) works in conjunction with Cisco Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) and Cisco Aironet Access Points (APs) and computes real time location for all Wi-Fi end-points using RSSI based triangulation algorithms.

-          MSE stores real time and historical location of Wi-Fi clients in its database making it a gold mine of data for indoor location. (Remember that GPS technology is not effective for indoor location)

-          This rich store of indoor location data is now available to app developers to query through a REST based API over a secure HTTPS connection.

What can I do with MSE REST APIs?

MSE REST APIs allow web developers to query MSE location database using the HTTP(S) GET method. HTTP response payload can be received in XML or JSON format. Here is a list of resources that are accessible over the REST API. Read More »

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Advanced Wireless Functionality for a Fraction of the Price

Since launching Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) – Cisco’s innovative solution that turns the network into a platform for delivering location-aware, in-venue services – customers have been intrigued. However, CMX could not exist without the Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE), a location-aware network appliance to provide location-aware capabilities as well as deep wireless security.

Before I get into the new pricing details, here’s a quick recap of what the MSE can do:

The MSE is a network appliance that takes your wireless network and turns into a platform for delivering cool and innovative location-based services that provide unique business value through online, onsite and social analytics. For example, you can now leverage your wireless network to see how many customers are visiting your store? Are they new or repeat customers? Are long wait times at checkout hurting my business? With the MSE, organizations can even communicate directly with visitors in their venue through their mobile devices. You can now provide wayfinding (indoor GPS) and push relevant content such as offers or coupons directly to your visitors, which in turn can drive revenue gains for the venue.

The MSE does more than location based services – it also has a rich set of network security tools (known collectively as wIPS – wireless intrusion prevention system) that help protect the network from all kinds of attacks.  The MSE can not only tell you that there is an attack taking place, but it will tell you which type of attack (“honeypot”), where the attack is coming from, and will also enable the network fight back against the attack (“flood the attacking device with traffic making it impossible for him to do anything”).

We wanted to make this great functionality more accessible and affordable for our customers, so I am happy to announce that we are offering a new pricing promotion for MSE licenses starting now until April 2014.

Here are the basics of the promotion: Read More »

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Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences at Cisco Live Orlando 2013

Orlando 2013 being Cisco Live’s largest event yet with over 20000 delegates was where CMX was shown to be a very key part of Cisco’s strategic business solutions offering and was shown right throughout the show from Key note addresses to booth demos, to focussed presentations to whisper suites even to deep customer on to one discussions.

Cisco Chairman & CEO, John Chambers in his keynote address to all the assembled delegates both live and via video link, where he outlined the the vision for tomorrow  by exploring new opportunities and the amazing things that can happen when you connect the previously unconnected, demo’ed the key component that CMX plays in delivering enormous insights and business value to the retail industry.

keynote 1

Taking things a little deeper and more specific in the Hospitality Industry, SVP Enterprise Networking Group, Rob Soderbery in his Keynote, demonstrated a very compelling scenario using CMX to deliver incredible guest experience in a hotel. He showed how CMX can recognize the customer on arrival, wake up the hotel app, offer virtual concierge services, enable automatic checkin, navigation to the room, keyless entry and highly targeted offers. Read More »

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Location Based Analytics and Services – Retail – What are the practical uses?

Nobody can question that location-based services are hot these days--especially in the retail space.

Retail in general is under increasing competition and pressure to maintain its revenues and profitability, especially physical retailers who are threatened by online businesses, ranging from one person outfits to global giants.

Physical retailers big and small are all facing the same phenomenon: smartphone users walking around their stores (inside and out). Google and Nielson recently reported that shopping queries are two times as likely to be in store. So people are actively on their smartphones in stores. The significance of this statistic to retail is that there is a huge opportunity here to optimize dollars, be it marketing funds or operational savings–all of which can be enabled by location-based services.

iStock retail

Cisco’s location based services using the Mobility Services Engine and the Connected Mobile Experiences solutions is market leading and generates a lot of interest among customers and I get the privilege of speaking with many retail business executives on a global basis.

In retail, the two big rocks are revenue and loyalty.  The Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution helps line of business leaders reach those goals by aligning with the mobility trend. Armed with the location-based services of CMX, you can captivate your customers by creating personalized, context-based engagement to boost loyalty, while generating location analytics data on customer movement patterns and behavior for optimizing operational costs. Read More »

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