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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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Enhancing the MSE User Experience: Backup & Restore, Menu-based Device Setup

Following the last MSE blog on CleanAir, today I wish to explain how we prioritize the Mobility Service Engine’s user experience.

Listening to customers and implementing changes/features based on customer feedback has been a great strength of Cisco products. We from the Mobility Services Engine team strongly believe in this principle and make sure that we reach out to each and every customer who has provided a feedback on Cisco MSE and take their experience with MSE into consideration when designing future features and enhancements.

After analyzing the feedback we received during the MSE 7.4 release, I am pleased to announce that we have decided to implement the following two features as part of series of enhancements that we believe will improve the customer’s user experience with MSE.

Convenient Backup and Restore

Until the 7.4 release, MSE users had limited options in backing up their MSE data. The only supported option was to use the NCS FTP server as the destination for MSE data backups. Due to the limited disk capacity on NCS, as well as sharing of the disk space with other network elements, disk space limitations prevented MSE users from regularly backing up their data. If you are one of those users who always wished you could regularly backup MSE data without running into NCS disk space limitation, or if you wish you could back up your MSE data to non-NCS devices, we have some good news for you.

In the latest MSE 7.5 release, we have added the option to backup and restore your MSE data on remote FTP servers, provided there is connectivity between the MSE and the FTP server.  Similar to NCS Backups, MSE data can be backed up to configured repositories (internal or external FTP servers).  Love the command shell? We will also be coming up with CLI to backup MSE data. You can now start MSE backup using just a single command.

msecsat1 Read More »

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Announcing Cisco Wireless Release 7.5

With the prevalence of mobile devices connecting people and things today, we are seeing a base expectation for uncompromised wireless connectivity. There is no doubt that the trend for high performance, pervasive wireless is on the rise and will continue for the foreseeable future. We at Cisco strive to help organizations get ahead of these trends with solutions that can be deployed with confidence today.  That’s why I am proud to announce the latest Cisco Wireless Release 7.5, the third feature-rich release we’ve had in the last 12 months.

Release 7.5 enables mission critical wireless deployments with sub-second stateful failover for wireless clients, wire-like Gigabit performance with the 802.11ac Module, and a bevy of other features.

Key Features in 7.5:

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Location Based Analytics and Services – Retail – What are the practical uses?

Nobody can question that location-based services are hot these days--especially in the retail space.

Retail in general is under increasing competition and pressure to maintain its revenues and profitability, especially physical retailers who are threatened by online businesses, ranging from one person outfits to global giants.

Physical retailers big and small are all facing the same phenomenon: smartphone users walking around their stores (inside and out). Google and Nielson recently reported that shopping queries are two times as likely to be in store. So people are actively on their smartphones in stores. The significance of this statistic to retail is that there is a huge opportunity here to optimize dollars, be it marketing funds or operational savings–all of which can be enabled by location-based services.

iStock retail

Cisco’s location based services using the Mobility Services Engine and the Connected Mobile Experiences solutions is market leading and generates a lot of interest among customers and I get the privilege of speaking with many retail business executives on a global basis.

In retail, the two big rocks are revenue and loyalty.  The Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution helps line of business leaders reach those goals by aligning with the mobility trend. Armed with the location-based services of CMX, you can captivate your customers by creating personalized, context-based engagement to boost loyalty, while generating location analytics data on customer movement patterns and behavior for optimizing operational costs. Read More »

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