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An Architectural Approach to Mobility

When it comes to mobility, everyone is learning fast in order to keep up. With what seems like daily advances in mobile technology and rapid consumer adoption, it is not getting any easier for organizations to break the cycle of reactive IT decision making. For many of our customers, enterprise mobility happened to them and the initial supporting architecture was built at light speed to respond to the demands of the business. While this approach was necessary to stop the deluge, it didn’t put all of the pieces in place to enable organizations to adapt the continuous change and emerging new realities of mobility. For instance:

  • Users now connect to the network with three or more mobile/WLAN devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, resulting in complex wireless infrastructures and network bottlenecks.
  • Inconsistent management tools and policies across the wired and wireless segments of the network increase the burden for network managers and drive up management costs and complexity.
  • Employees demand access from devices not only within the corporation, but also beyond the firewall.
  • Risk management dictates that corporate data must remain protected.

The need to balance productivity with security and coordinate business justification with the various line of business (LOB) owners has never been greater. IT leaders who want to break out of the reactive cycle of just keeping up must take a step back to evaluate what’s coming next. What changes are on the horizon? How will it impact my network? How can my network help me adapt to the changing needs of my employees?

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Create Mobile Web Campaigns with CMX Browser Engage

In the last MSE blog, Reddy Babu talked about the new Location Aware Guest Captive Portal powered by the Mobility Services Engine (MSE). The MSE was first introduced to provide location based information as a core service to the network, but has since built out a suite of location-based services that take the location-based data from the wireless network to the next level. These services are collectively known as the Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution. As you read in Dr. Brendan O’Brien’s blog last week, we have been introducing more and more features to the CMX solution.

Today I will expand on one of these new features offered by the Connected Mobile Experiences solution: Browser Engage -- which is our new network based location and context aware orchestration platform.

Browser Engage allows organizations to customize the web browsing experience for mobile users in their venue by offering various context-aware value added services. These services, such as indoor navigation and search, are available to the mobile user throughout their mobile web browsing experience. Browser Engage also helps organizations setup their content and serve them to the users based on device location. For example, an organization can deliver coupons or deals to mobile users based on their location within the venue—making the offerings much more relevant to the mobile end user.  Imagine yourself in a mall and a deal shows up on your phone right around lunchtime that is valid at a food court right around the corner.

So, how does it work? Read More »

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A Powerful Network Simplifies Adoption of New Mobile Devices

It’s a critical time for enterprise IT as new mobile devices from Apple, Samsung and Google enter the market and operating systems are updated almost weekly. Apart from the new color and form factor options, this round of new technology features new operating systems and a proliferation of app updates, which IT leaders must be prepared to meet head on.

It’s an exciting time for mobile technology, but it’s also an important time for enterprises to look at not only meet the demands of today’s mobile-enabled workforce, but tomorrow’s as well. Basic mobility functionality is not and will not be enough, and a solid framework must be put in place to support the growth.

In this inaugural post of a four-part Network Matters blog series, I’ll be discussing how IT leaders can rely on a network, built for all kinds of devices, to simplify the process of onboarding new mobile technology and free up precious IT resources. I would like to provide you with a deeper look at how having the right network in place can help ease the challenges of tomorrow that will be presented to IT departments due to device evolution and enable a culture of self-service for employee-owned devices.

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CMX Connect – An Innovative, Location Aware Guest Captive Portal

connect1With the explosion of smart mobile devices, consumers expect to have Wi-Fi access at pubic venues everywhere they go. Venue owners are under pressure to provide reliable Wi-Fi guest access in a simple and easy way. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that AND extract some value out of your investment in setting up the Wi-Fi network as well? Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) is an industry leading solution provides just that: an easy, customizable and location-aware way to onboard guests using CMX Connect, an ability to gain insights into guest behaviors using CMX Location Analytics and an opportunity to engage guests in meaningful ways using CMX Browser Engage.

With MSE Release 7.6 coming out later this year, we wanted to give you a closer look at new feature CMX Connect.  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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