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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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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month, we are marking the tenth anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The goal is to raise awareness and educate Americans about the importance of cyber security. Agencies and organizations are holding events and driving initiatives to engage Americans in a discussion about how to establish safer practices.

NCSAM sheds light on the most pressing topics in security, including mobility, education, cyber crime and critical infrastructure.  In alignment with NCSAM’s mission, we are sharing our own cyber security best practices, advice and resources.

Read More »

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Small Cells Summit in Dubai: 5 things you should know

lgarzaBy Lisa Garza, Service Provider Mobility Marketing Manger

The annual Small Cells event for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) took place this week. It featured regional innovators like Saudi Telecom, Etisalat, Zain and du, in addition to the global small cell pioneers like AT&T and SoftBank. Here’s what we took from the event

1. Mobile data growth and reducing cost-per-bit is a global challenge
The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) shows that mobile IP traffic in MENA region is set to grow 10x over the next four years. Revenues are not set to grow at anything like this pace.  Service providers are responding to the capacity challenge by augmenting macro networks, by adding new spectrum and by introducing more efficient cellular technologies like LTE.  But these steps alone will not povide all of the capacity required, and some, like LTE introduction, will accelerate data usage by encouraging video consumption. The big capacity gains come from reusing cellular spectrum and by offloading to Wi-Fi – that’s what small cells are all about, and they’re a hot topic because the capacity they add comes at a fraction of the cost-per-bit of traditional radio technologies.1

2. Small cells are becoming central to network transformation strategies
These small cells conferences are a barometer of service provider, analyst and vendor thinking.  This year, Read More »

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As Mobile Social Usage and Constant Connectivity Increases, Security A Top Concern

Survey results from an IDC study recently revealed that people are relying more and more on their smart mobile device as their primary tool for communication and connecting.

The study, sponsored by Facebook, highlights some compelling insights about mobility including:

  • Half of the total US population uses smartphones
  • A “sense of being connected” is the strongest sentiment for driving mobile social usage
  • The most popular activities on smartphones are email (78%), Web browsing (73%) and Facebook (70%)

alwaysconnectedEveryday we are seamlessly integrating mobility features into our daily lives. We use mobile devices for tasks such as email, mobile shopping and making social connections. According to the IDC study, nearly 80 percent of us reach for our phone within 15 minutes of waking up for the day – I am part of this statistic!

It’s clear that mobility and the increasing use of social media creates new ways for us to interact and connect, but it’s also creating new security concerns. With the influx of personal data on our social media news feeds and our purchasing habits sitting in our smartphone’s browsing history, how can we make sure our personal information is secure? In addition, as the lines between personal and work devices blur, how can enterprises make sure employee-owned social networks aren’t opening the door for the latest network threat? An essential part of our mobile future will depend on enterprises and individuals developing a comprehensive approach to protecting sensitive data and privacy. Read More »

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How the Heck Do You Omnichannel?

The buzz in retail these days is “omnichannel” – we see slogans such as “Engage with Today’s Omnichannel Consumers,” “Develop Your Omnichannel Business” frequently. Cisco itself uses this word often. But in all honesty, I don’t think many people fully grasp the concept and its potential. And I don’t know of any retailer that has a complete approach to it. That’s right: None. 

Omnichannel retailing is about opening the store, its products, and services to shoppers in an immersive way that drives customer interaction across any point of access, at any time. “Omnichannel” is not just about connecting existing systems, it’s a transformational way to look at how you conduct business.

Becoming an omnichannel retailer is a broad undertaking, and many retailers are creating new executive positions to lead this strategy. However, I think these companies may be missing the boat. When thinking about omnichannel strategies, consider three key points:

First, a customer-centric strategy cuts across all organizations in the business – it can’t be sidelined into one business function such as IT. I often consult with retailers who experiment with different capabilities in a disconnected way; essentially, they throw technologies at the wall and wait to see what sticks. Instead, why not start by asking, “What does my customer want? How can I build a loyal relationship with them?” It’s all too easy to assume that showrooming is the enemy. But, really, why, for example, is Amazon successful? It’s not because they are available on a mobile phone. It’s because they are easy to do business with, offer good pricing, and deliver quickly. It’s about the way they address customer needs.

Next, I think stores often try to do too much at once (see wall-sticking, above). Instead, I recommend a phased approach that starts with the low-hanging fruit – projects that have the highest probability of effectiveness and can be measured against business targets as a whole. Every store has its niche, and one size does not fit all. By achieving rapid successes up front, retailers gain funding for the next piece of the strategy, building from success to success.

Finally, accept the fact that an omnichannel business will change how people work. Are you avoiding Internet access because you think associates will waste time surfing the web? Some may – but your good salespeople will be able to leverage online information to help them serve shoppers. Concerned that showrooming on the floor will drive customers away as they find lower prices online? Build your own identity, brand, and incentives into the online environment to drive sales. Worried that an online storefront or call center will undercut in-store sales? Run the numbers on losses over time as consumers find your store is the only one without convenient mobile customer support.

Omnichannel is not about the technology. Rather, it’s about finding the best outcome for you and your shoppers. To achieve success, IT and business must work together to solve customer problems for the store as a whole – there’s no other way to do it with complete success. Check out this great blog by Cara Waters, Five Lessons in Retail Trends.

I love retail trivia! Comment below if you know the answer to this question: What is the oldest US retail company?

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