Reflections from the Floor at NRF 2013
After a long day of showing the Cisco BYOD Smart Solution and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences solutions at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show, I am waiting for a colleague to meet me for a well-deserved dinner. I had many, and yes there were MANY, conversations with Retail IT professionals, and nearly every conversation I had seemed to revolve around the same two problems:
- How do I allow employees and / or customers to access the network when I don’t have dedicated local IT support?
- How do I give up the control and make sure my security and compliance requirements are met?
We know almost all organizations are struggling with BYOD, but it’s now clear that the lack of local IT support adds a new dimension to the problem. With the increased adoption of mobility, there’s also the added complexity of security and compliance, and with all the connected consumers walking around, it’s becoming a growing concern in the retail space. Retail organizations want to take advantage of the promise that leveraging Wi-Fi access to engage with employees and customers, but fear the management and security of such services.
Fortunately, Cisco is addressing both these issues with its mobility solutions.
At the heart of Cisco’s BYOD solution is the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) working in conjunction with the Cisco Mobility Infrastructure. The power of having a context-based solution that understands who the user is, what device they are using, where they are located and even what time they are accessing the network speaks volumes. Cisco ISE allows employees and customers to on-board their devices with no IT intervention and enables organization to look at providing a real BYOD solution without having to have a dedicated IT person at every location. Additionally, Cisco ISE delivers a contextual policy to the end device allowing IT to feel confident that their security and compliance requirements are met.
Retail organizations are faced with tremendous pressure to allow employees and customers to gain access to the network, but they still harbor concerns about the added costs associated with adjusting their infrastructure to accommodate for BYOD. This is where Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences comes in. Too often, IT organizations see providing customer access as a challenge that doesn’t deliver direct value to the business. With Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences, organizations can leverage location-based analytics to understand shopping patterns, and then deliver targeted information to those end user mobile devices. By doing this, retail organizations can leverage the analytics to adjust their business operations to directly impact customer buying patterns. Connected Mobile Experiences allows IT to show how the investment in wireless infrastructure paves the way to more effectively drive the business towards its goals, making the associated costs easier to accept.
Employees, competition and customers are driving retail IT to rethink how they can engage their stakeholders. From our demos at NRF, it’s clear that Cisco mobility solutions deliver value through empowering businesses to help enable their employees to assist customers and improve their connected customer’s experience within their locations through their own devices.
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