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Learning Opportunities This Week With Cisco Experts on IWAN and CMX

This week we have two opportunities for you to learn about Cisco technologies from company experts as well as our technology partners.

The first webinar, How Smarter Branches Lower Costs,  is on Wednesday, December 11 at 8am Pacific and discusses how Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) along with Akamai’s Unified Performance solution can help your branch offices can realistically utilize Internet as WAN for a cost-effective, reliable, and secure option.

A preview for this webinar is a quick video we did with Akamai in October!

Read More »

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Deep Dive: Mobility Services APIs (with Sample Code!)

Last week, my colleague Rajiv walked you through an overview of how our Mobility Services API now supports REST based APIs. As a developer for the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) team, I am very excited about this update because it means that it will be easier for developers to create apps using the MS-API, which hopefully means that more and more organizations will be able to take advantage of the location-based services and functionalities of the MSE. I’m going use this blog to walk you through some of the more technical aspects of the change.

The Basics

The REST API is now widely used in the field of API based web applications. The REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is an architecture that is based on set of six rules, and APIs that support REST follow all those rules, making them RESTful.

Compared to SOAP, REST has better performance, scalability, simplicity, modifiability, visibility, portability, and reliability. For secured REST API transactions, HTTPS is recommended.

RESTful Mobility Services API

7.5 applications, including features from the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution such as Browser Engage and CMX Analytics, are now supporting REST APIs in addition to the existing SOAP APIs previous releases (backward compatibility).

CMX utilizes the basic authentication scheme to authenticate each REST API request. It utilizes the Authorization header in the HTTP packet. The Authorization header is composed as follows:

- Username and password are combined into a string “username:password”.
- The resulting string literal is then encoded using Base64.
- The authorization method, a space and the string “Basic” is then put before the encoded string.

The API credentials can be accessed from Prime Infrastructure (PI), which manages CMX (page is located under Mobility Services > Specific MSE > System > Users).

As Rajiv mentioned last week, the Mobility Services REST APIs can be grouped in the following way:

-          MAP APIs

-          Real time location APIs

-          Location history APIs

-          Notification APIs

Let’s break them down with use cases to get a better picture of when you’d use which. Read More »

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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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