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MSE 10 at Cisco Live! Milan 2015

Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution leverages information from the Wi-Fi network to collect aggregate location data from mobile devices. This can be used to tease out behavioral patterns and trends, which in turn can help businesses make informed decisions on how to improve the visitor experience and boost customer service.

The Mobility Services Engine (MSE) forms the core of the CMX solution. Cisco Live! Milan was an exciting milestone for the MSE development team, as the new version of MSE, 10.0, was officially announced. Among its enhancements are improved scalability and robustness, as well as better monitoring tools. In this blog, we’ll show some real-world examples of what information MSE 10 can provide, as was captured during Cisco Live!.

The New Analytics Dashboard

One of the visible improvements is the redesign of the Analytics dashboard. The dashboard provides reporting capabilities, in which each page can be scheduled at specified intervals to run as a report and be sent to interested parties. Because of this new capability, we now refer to the pages on dashboard as “Reports”.

Each report can have any number of “widgets” – essentially little boxes of information – such as the device count within a certain area, the time spent there, or the number of devices moving between areas. The widgets can be configured to show a set of numbers (ie number of devices detected, new devices vs. repeat visitors, etc.), a graph of specified information broken down by time/place, or data tables.

The most basic and fundamental piece of information CMX can provide is visitor count. In Figure 1 you can see the number of detected devices during one just one of the show days. The dashboard gives not only a very clear overview of detected devices, it also shows a comparison of those devices and where and when they’ve been detected throughout the conference.

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Figure 1 Visitor count for one of the days

Beyond the fundamental data of total visitors, this information can be shown broken down by building, floor, or zone. Figure 2 shows 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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Top Coders Win Cisco CMX Mobility Challenge

Over 30 registrants competed in an online global Cisco developer challenge to use the CMX Mobility Services API and CMX in a new app using a simulated environment for a meeting host to automatically launch a WebEx conference, based on the location of the conference room where the meeting is scheduled.  Guidance was provided in a previous blog post, which you too can use to develop innovative applications to create your own Connected Mobile Experience.

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Numerous impressive submissions demonstrated how straightforward it was to create a new mobile application using the CMX APIs and SDK.  The winning entries submitted code, a video demo, and a read me file, which together conveyed their work using real-time location updates to trigger a context-aware push notification.

First place entry from a brand new TopCoder member “gitsIndonesia” received a check for $1500. It included very clean Android Java code which was well-designed and easy to follow, while applying object-oriented practices. It provided a great example of how to build a new location app from the ground up using the CMX APIs with no changes required for the server simulator since the client (the app) was used for location polling. Read More »

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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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