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Indoor Wi-Fi Location and Beacons: Better Together Part 2

wifibeaconLocation-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.

What types of beacons are there?

Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.

Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound -- they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.

Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon -- the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.

Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. Read More »

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Indoor WiFi Location and Beacons: Better Together

wifibeaconIn just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.

Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:

How do beacons work?

Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags.  These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.

I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »

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Finding More Time through Better Collaboration

January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm PST

“Time is an illusion.”

―Albert Einstein

Time is an illusion. And an obsession. And apparently time is endangered because everyone is trying to save time, find more time, use time more wisely, or just plain stop time.

Time is of the essence, after all. And in the wonderful world of business, it always seems that we’re trying to find ways that let us move faster. We want to reduce the time it takes us to do what we do, whether it’s responding to customers, making decisions, adjusting to market trends, or getting the latest-greatest whatever-it-is to market.

You can’t reduce an illusion, but you can find ways to be more effective and make better use of the time you have.

Executives and managers consistently believe they need at least 20% higher performance from employees to meet their business goals, according The Corporate Executive Board, in its report “The Future of Corporate IT, 2013–2017.”

That’s a tough number to hear from the employee side of that equation. Maybe I spend time with the wrong crowd, but I don’t know too many people who consider their performance to be only 80% of their potential. So where does that additional 20% come from? Is it an illusion too? Read More »

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Big Business from Big Data

“Dad, how many mobile phones were sold last year in the whole world?”

“Is this a trick question? Well, there are about 7 billion human beings on earth. Assuming every…”

“No, no—give me a number.”

“Well, I am not 100 percent sure. How many do you think were sold?”

“1.75 billion.”

“How do you know?”

“Dad—it’s on the Internet!”

My 10-year-old daughter left the room, triumphantly. I looked after her—admittedly feeling a little bit jealous. I wanted to be 10 years old again, too. I’d like to grow up with access to any information, available at any time, at the touch of a button. And this is only the beginning. Soon, tailored information will be provided to us proactively, before we even know what to ask for.

It’s easy to forget how incredibly rapid technological development has been. The true uptake of the Internet happened only about 15 years ago. Think about what would happen if your family had to spend an entire week without being connected to the Internet and the constant global interactions to which we have grown accustomed. The next ”big thing” is always around the corner, waiting to disrupt everything we take for granted today.

So what will be the next big thing in technology? This is a topic of endless debate on the Internet, at dinners with friends, and in the trade press, with the discussion often descending deep into the weeds of architectures, capabilities, protocols, and standards. However, for a business executive, the only thing that really matters is the business impact. The only relevant business question is ultimately, “How can I improve my business performance enabled by technology?”

Big Business from Big Data - FINAL

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New Study Shows Value of Internet on Retail

October 2, 2013 at 5:03 am PST

For that last few years, Cisco has been watching the impact of the Internet on transforming the retail industry. As more people, processes and things are connecting to the Internet, retailers can capture more data to better predict when and where consumers will want to buy and capture more revenues.

Today, Cisco released Internet of Everything research that equates to $81 billion globally in 2013. But this represents only 45% of the opportunity that could be gained by the Internet of Everything. Retailers could have realized an additional $99 billion this year if they were more connected across their operations.  The good news is that retail IT executives are confident that can capture this value.  On average, retail IT executives rated their ability to capture Internet of Everything at 7.2, on a scale of 1 to 10.

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