Over the past few years, location-based services such as Google Maps, Yelp, or OpenTable have become pervasive in our lives. In fact, 70 percent of smart phone customers now use location-based services. But similar, location-based services in the enterprise have lagged behind—despite its potential to transform the customer experience across industries such as healthcare, retail, and marketing.
Today Cisco is announcing innovative new technologies that will help bridge that gap and move high-location accuracy services from niche to mainstream in the enterprise. Cisco CMX – our Connected Mobile Experience – is introducing two solutions that deliver on the promise of high-accuracy indoor location for the enterprise.
The first solution, Cisco Beacon Point, uses virtual Bluetooth Low Energy beacons for indoor location services. The solution consists of a single appliance that can generate up to eight virtual beacons, a Cloud-based management dashboard, and SDK that uses the virtual beacons to determine location.
The second solution consists of Cisco Hyperlocation Solution and a client-side application. The enhanced Hyperlocation module and antenna plug into certain Cisco Aironet access points for improved location accuracy. The new client-side application augments that accuracy by leveraging the sensors on the mobile device for Wi-Fi high accuracy and near-real time refresh.
Why indoor location has lagged
If the potential of indoor location based services is so obvious, then why has the enterprise lagged behind consumer technology?
The answer is actually quite simple. While technologies might seem the same on the surface, under the hood they the consumer and enterprise space differs greatly.
Historically, the adoption of enterprise-grade indoor location based services has been slow because they were seen as too expensive, they lacked expected accuracy, and the refresh rate lagged. Deployment was seen as complex because indoor location accuracy required an equally accurate infrastructure. And , the expectations of customers often outstripped the abilities of the technology.
Closing the gap
Now, with our combination of virtual beacon and Wi-Fi technologies, we’re helping to overcome these issues and close the gap between consumer and enterprise grade services.
This duo of technologies provides some key benefits. First, our virtual beacon solution overcomes the many management challenges of physical BLE beacons, including dead batteries, lost beacons, and complicated placement. Cisco Virtual Beacon Solution beacons are as easily deployed as dropping a pin on a Google map.
Second, no single technology is right for all high accuracy location use cases. Wi-Fi is optimal for analytics while virtual beacons are excellent for applications, such as proximity marketing, that require faster refresh rates.
Using Cisco’s advanced CMX capabilities, the solutions deliver highly accurate location services for the customer’s preferred technology, be it virtual beacon or Wi-FI giving it an edge over competitors.
We believe that with today’s announcement Cisco will make high-accuracy services a reality for the enterprise. The technology can finally move from niche to mainstream and become as ubiquitous as outdoor GPS location.
Let us know what you think? Could you use location-based services to reinvent how your business operates? We’re all ears.