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Discover What Consumers Want from Wi-Fi and Mobile

Consumers have a true love of mobile devices, as evidenced by recent Cisco mobile consumer research.  Significant percentages of respondents reported using everything from laptops, smartphones, and tablets to eReaders and mobile gaming devices. Americans now own an average of three mobile devices each, up from 2.6 devices in the 2012 Cisco mobile consumer study.  Perhaps more significant, our findings show that the number of smartphone users has grown by 21 percent in just one year, now reaching 68 percent of the population, at the expense of basic phones. Most remarkable is that the number of tablet owners has expanded by over 90 percent in just one year, with close to four out of ten consumers possessing one of these new devices.

The insatiable demand for mobile devices and new applications that use large amounts of bandwidth is generating staggering volumes of mobile data. In parallel, the use of Wi-Fi for Internet access is exploding, as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers. Many service providers are now constructing extensive networks of public Wi-Fi hotspots for use by their mobile or home broadband customers. The networks allow mobile offload and help enhance and differentiate their offerings. In addition, service providers are struggling to understand new business models for making money from Wi-Fi.  However, very little is currently known about how consumers are actually using public Wi-Fi and how they view the overall experience. Nor is there much information about mobile users’ appetite for these new services, their willingness to use them, or their privacy or security concerns surrounding these data-based services.

To learn more, Cisco conducted a survey of 620 U.S. mobile users to understand their needs and behaviors, use of devices, applications and mobile access technologies, and how they have changed since our 2012 mobile consumer study.

Top 10 Research Findings Read More »

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Mobility in the Store – More Dollars, Less Intrusive

We’re rapidly closing in on the NRF trade show being held in New York on Jan. 12-15. Cisco is at the expo on Jan. 13-14, and will be featuring several company speakers at the popular annual Big Idea sessions. I am honored this year to be one of these speakers, and am pleased to be joined by Bob Friday, Cisco’s vice president/CTO for Enterprise Networking -- Mobility. Bob manages strategic wireless initiatives for Enterprise Wi-Fi, and we’ll be discussing the critical business issues of implementing mobile solutions in your store.

So what are the hot topics right now around mobility?

Retailers are going in some interesting directions here. Location awareness of customers is of course hot, hot, hot. Retailers want to learn from shopper behavior how they can best improve opportunities for sales. But, how can we do this without getting into the “creepy factor” of essentially stalking our customers down the aisles?

And, of course, every retailer wants to find shortcuts to ROI and monetization of the mobile platform. Part of this lies around the organization itself: It is common to see companies where IT and lines of business are simply not working together closely enough to get real value out of new technology. For example, I remember one store that was required by management to implement Wi-Fi. This was all well and good, but they didn’t implement any analytics for the new network. The result was that they have a cool technology but no idea of how to use it to engage shoppers, or even to identify how it is benefiting them.

In our session, Bob and I will discuss how you can use your Wi-Fi as a strategic asset – not just as the next awesome thing, but as a critical part of your engagement with shoppers. I’d like to also cover ideas on personalization vs. contextualization: This gets into how we can gather information without being intrusive. And we’ll talk about how to achieve ROI for your wireless investment and turn it into a new revenue driver. Please join us!

Time and Place:

 “Detect, Connect, Engage: Enhance Your Customer Experience with Mobility,” with me and Bob Friday takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 9:15-10:00 am, in Room 4 on Level 3 of the Expo Hall. For those who can’t be there, a recording of the session will be available after the show. Visit Cisco’s NRF website to learn more, and do take the time to stop by Cisco booth #1954.

I’ll see you at NRF!

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Unlocking Wi-Fi Enabled Value-Added Services

Competing with the virtual, e-commerce world is becoming increasingly challenging for real-world businesses. Traditional retailers have long envied the massive amounts of valuable data that online retailers have available to help them better understand customer behavior and implement winning marketing tactics. Online retailers know valuable information such as how frequently customers return, how long they spend on their sites, what the customers looked at but didn’t buy, and where they went before and after coming to the site. Businesses as diverse as hotels, banks, stadiums, airports, and large public venues are all looking for ways to get similar detailed data on customer activities in their facilities, so they can improve the customer experience and their bottom lines. The data and insights have not been available to bricks-and-mortar facilities, until now.

That situation is changing through the growing availability of Wi-Fi in business locations. Many retailers, hotels, and other businesses are increasingly offering Wi-Fi as a service that allows their customers to connect mobile devices to the Internet. Hidden in this valuable service is a vast amount of information and insight, which retailers and others can use to deliver tangible value to their bottom lines. Hypersensitive location information, device details, identification of returning customers, and sophisticated path analysis are just some of the customer data captured by Wi-Fi networks. Businesses are now realizing that the data and capabilities offer new ways to improve the customer experience and support a range of market-leading monetization models.

For many businesses, these new location-based experiences and Read More »

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The Next Generation of Wi-Fi Debuts in Beijing

I recently had the honor to speak at the Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing. As evident by the more than 400 people in attendance, the importance and relevance of Wi-Fi continues to grow.  The Wireless Broadband Alliance now has over 100 members, a doubling in less than 2 years.  The membership includes a mix of leading Wi-Fi, mobile, and broadband network operators; global service providers and media players; as well as technology providers and partners.

I took away six key messages from this exciting conference:

  1. Next Generation Hotspots is Alive and Well.  One of the most exciting things at the conference was the launch of the live NGH Experience with China Mobile as the host operator and Cisco as the network infrastructure provider.  Attendees with a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone 5 could experience the first ever opportunity to seamlessly and automatically connect to the venue Wi-Fi.  Participants also received valuable conference information and services seamlessly delivered to their mobile device through NGH.  This is just the beginning.  With 15 major carriers (and growing) signed up to deploy NGH, mobile users throughout the world will be able to experience the next generation of Wi-Fi early in 2014.
  2.  Wi-Fi Roaming is Becoming a Reality.  Several speakers described roaming as being where cellular roaming was 15 to 20 years ago.  However, with the successful launch and upcoming deployment of NGH, seamless roaming amongst carriers is now becoming a reality.  Indeed, the GSM Association recently approved a Wi-Fi Roaming Annex that will make it easy for mobile operators to support this.  As such, the WBA expects roaming to be fully automated across more than 80% of public Wi-Fi networks by 2018.
  3.  Wi-Fi is an Important Part of the Mobile Network.  The world’s largest mobile operator, Read More »

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Location-Based Services & Monetization for Service Providers

Location Based Services in the Service Provider (SP) world is a very hot topic at present, with many SP’s looking for monetization opportunities for Wi-Fi.

Cisco has been working with our service provider customers to help deliver monetization capabilities; one way of opening new revenue opportunities is by using our new Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) Solution.

Dr. Brendan O’Brien, Director of Product Marketing for Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences, continues his thought leadership blog series to tackle the trend towards location-based services in the Service Provider space. Brendan takes a brief look at some of the drivers for Wi-Fi in the SP world and some steps along the value chain, then dives into the emerging models where SP’s are beginning to focus their attentions on monetization and new, additional revenue opportunities. Read more at http://blogs.cisco.com/sp/location-based-services-monetization-for-service-providers 

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