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Apple iOS 8 and MAC Randomization: What It means for Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) Solution

As you may have read, Apple’s iOS 8 will come with some changes to the way MAC addresses are exposed in Wi-Fi probe requests. Apple’s intent was to provide an additional layer of privacy for consumers and target those companies that offer analytics without providing any value to the end consumer. We’ve been getting some questions about what this means and how it impacts our Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX)  solution, so we wanted to clear this up for our customers.

What does this mean for you? 

First and foremost, Cisco has always been dedicated to privacy for our customers and their end-users. There are four aspects of privacy that are built into our CMX solution:

1. Anonymous Aggregate Information: All analytics are based on aggregate, anonymized location data.

2. Permission-based: Users have to opt-in to join a Wi-Fi network or download an app

3. MAC Address Hash: Users’ MAC addresses can be hashed before exposing to 3rd party apps

4. Opt Out: End-users are always presented with the option to opt out of location-based services

The true value of CMX analytics for organizations is in aggregate location data to be used for business analysis to improve the customer experience for end-users. Providing customers with high performing Wi-Fi not only keeps always-on mobile users happy and opens the doors to delighting customers with more personalized experiences, but also helps provide more granularity to those aggregate trends to feed back into the experience creation machine. Win-win.

What does this mean for our CMX value proposition? Read More »

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Increasing Demand for Higher Location Data Resolution

Cisco has been playing a critical part for retail, healthcare, hospitality and transportation organizations to gain an understanding of how end-users move throughout an organization’s physical location. This is done through our Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution.

With all the valuable information CMX provides, the demand for even more accurate data has been growing. Location accuracy has been a hot developing field and, as I mentioned in announcing our Best of Interop Finalist status in the wireless category last week, Cisco’s taken the lead in redefining how this location-based data is acquired.

In the past many solutions have relied on the probing performed by the mobile device to acquire location-based data.  In recent months this approach has shown diminishing returns. The underlying issue is that this data is reliant on how frequently the mobile device probes an access point. A couple issues that arise include:

-       Mobile device manufacturers are reducing the frequency of device probing to conserve battery. This reduces the number of data points collected and impacts the accuracy of the data

-       Different manufacturers probe the access point with varying frequency so some devices deliver more accurate information than others skewing the location analytics data.

At Cisco’s annual Partner Summit event we are revealing some key areas of focus for the upcoming Cisco v8.0 release. Although the list is not inclusive of all new functionality, I would like to highlight some steps we are taking to bring CMX to meet the ever-evolving demand for location-based data.

Step 1: Increasing Data Resolution Read More »

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Cisco Mobility Services Engine with Enhanced Wi-Fi Location Accuracy and Analytics: Best of Interop 2014 Finalist

Cisco has been placing a lot of emphasis on delivering solutions that provide insights and understanding on how customers, patients, visitors and communities interact with their physical environments. Mobility and leveraging mobile devices in the environment has revealed itself as a very powerful way to gather critical business intelligence. This business intelligence is highly impacted by the resolution of the location-data and the demand to improve resolution and accuracy is increasing quickly.  Apparently, this has not been missed by UBM. This year Cisco is honored to be selected as a Best of Interop Finalist for the Wireless award category for our innovations in improving location data resolution calculations.

best of interop 2014

It’s an honor to be recognized for our innovation and technological advancements in wireless, and we wanted to share a bit more about our submission with you.

What are Location Data Resolution Calculations?

Many systems acquire location analytics by relying solely on the probing that occurs from a mobile device to an access point. Unfortunately, this approach is delivering diminishing returns. It puts location analytics at the mercy of the mobile device vendors. What I mean by this is that as mobile device manufacturers look to improve mobile devices in regards to OS, drivers and battery life they are reducing the frequency of the probing from the mobile device. In addition, different mobile device manufacturer use different probing intervals. The need to do this makes sense from the mobile device manufacturer perspective, but it has an impact on the accuracy of the data acquired when representing movement of end users in the physical environment. If a user is recognized when they walk in the environment and then is identified a minute later, there is a lot of movement that can occur in that time.  But the analytics only sees two data points and draws a straight line. Not a very accurate representation.

Cisco is leveraging what we know best, the network, to supplement the device probing. Bringing in network data allows us to gather higher data resolution regarding mobile device movement, equating to a more accurate representations of end user movement in the environment.

Why is This Important? Read More »

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