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Omnichannel Is Changing How You Do Business – Sort Of

This is the final installment of a series on how retailers can address the challenges of becoming an omnichannel business. I’d like to wrap up by talking about a deceptively simple stumbling block – accepting that being an omnichannel seller changes how people work.  I spend much of my time talking to retailers, and this really is a big issue.

For example, I have seen stores install – and then turn off – Wi-Fi deployments because they worry that associates will waste time surfing the web. And, yes, some might. But consider the cost compared to customers knowing more than your salesforce because they’ve been doing online research. It makes your team look uninformed, lowers the quality of service, and impacts sales. Obviously, you don’t want workers to play games all day. Instead, train them to find and use online product information, social media, and reviews that will help improve response to customers – and deal appropriately with the exceptions.

Related to this are issues around Wi-Fi access for customers. If you provide it for employees, please just go ahead and extend this to shoppers. Universal store access allows you to optimize your brand with both employees and customers (and enables far more effective analytics). I guarantee that you will lose relevance over time as consumers learn your store is one of the few without mobile service.

As well, I’ve met retailers who won’t add Wi-Fi because they are convinced that the only outcome will be showrooming and ultimate desertion. It’s time to shed the fear of this increasingly common customer practice. Instead, leverage it as a new marketing tool. You can drive sales by being part of the customer’s social media experience, delivering your own identity, branding, and incentives. A recent Accenture study shows that younger consumers still want the in-store experience, but they also expect retailers to integrate personalized shopping across all channels.

Let’s talk more about this at the NRF Big Idea Sessions in New York, where I and Jon Stine, Lisa Fretwell, and Kathryn Howe will be speaking on Jan. 13 and 14.  Visit Cisco’s NRF website to learn more about these popular seminars, and stop by Cisco Booth #1954 to say hello.

The idea of omnichannel selling can be daunting, and getting the benefit may entail learning to manage a certain amount of risk. But you know – it’s just retail. The environment is becoming more device-driven and the way stores look is changing. But giving consumers what they want; interacting with, understanding, and nurturing them: It’s still the business of retail. And you know how to do that.

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Summary: Transforming Child Safety through Mobility

New innovations in mobility are transforming our daily lives and the safety of our loved ones. As the growth of mobility enables more wearable devices and applications that include GPS and Wi-Fi features, it is becoming increasingly easier for parents to remotely monitor their children’s safety while managing their own daily tasks.

Gartner predicts that wearable electronics will be a $10 billion industry. This opens up many opportunities for organizations that can successfully respond to the rapidly changing mobile landscape by bridging enterprise and service provider networks through an architectural approach to mobility.

How will this increase in mobile data impact your infrastructure and security? Two common concerns that must be addressed are the issue of bandwidth and the potential for malware attacks. It is important that IT leaders consider how a stable and secure network can significantly impact the future of mobility.

Read the full Transforming Child Safety through Mobility blog to learn more.

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What Next-Generation Wi-Fi Models Could Mean for Secure Mobility

With the adoption of the Internet of Things and Internet of Everything, advances in mobility and next-generation Wi-Fi are driving faster speeds, higher signal quality and more reliable connectivity. With the upcoming ratification of the two waves of the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, how are emerging Wi-Fi models creating new security features that are defining the next-generation Wi-Fi experience?

Next Generation Wi-Fi Models

Migration to the 5 GHz-only 802.11ac is quickly becoming a reality. In a recent article by Lisa Phifer, Chris Spain, Vice President of Product Marketing for Cisco’s Wireless Networking Group, discusses more about how this migration will drive a shift in mobile device support for 5 GHz. “An increasing percentage of new mobile devices provide dual-band capability, and they generally prefer the less congested 5 GHz band,” Spain said. New Wi-Fi models, like those listed below, can help drive mobile devices to the 5GHz band:

Read More »

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Transforming Child Safety through Mobility

How fascinating is it that in today’s world, a parent can connect to an office network and still remain linked to a child via mobile device?

I recently came across a New York Times article that discussed how mobility is transforming our daily lives and the safety of ourChild Safety blog image loved ones. According to the article, new innovations such as Filip Technologies’ watch and Trax, can help monitor the whereabouts of young children and pets.

As the growth of mobility enables more wearable devices and applications that include GPS and Wi-Fi features, it is becoming increasingly easier for us to remotely monitor our children’s safety while managing daily tasks. Any parent would consider this a win-win.

In light of the capabilities of this type of technology, Gartner predicts that wearable electronics will be a $10 billion dollar industry. There is significant value at stake for organizations that can successfully respond to our rapidly changing mobile landscape by bridging enterprise and service provider networks through an architectural approach to mobility.

Read More »

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Cisco Battery Control

We are all witnessing the continued proliferation of mobile devices on our networks. This device explosion has led to an increase in wireless service discovery and announcements protocols like Bonjour, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), and UPnP  (Universal Plug and Play). For example, Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) service records. Bonjour is built-in with Apple’s operating system including iOS and available on Windows as a common plugin while DLNA and UPnP are built in with Android and Windows operating system respectively.

The usage of these protocols comes with a big price: an increase in Multicast traffic because they are all inherently sent as a broadcast transmissions in Wi-Fi networks.

But why is an increase in Multicast traffic bad for users?

The answer is simple: multicast traffic increases mobile device battery consumption by forcing the device host processor to wake-up more often than required.

Have you ever wondered a drop in battery percentage while your mobile device is sitting idle of hours in your pocket? If yes, then you are probably on a network with a high percentage of multicast traffic emanating from every mobile device that is part of it.

So how can we save battery drop taxes on our mobile device without losing the ability to support these protocols? Read More »

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