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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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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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