As a product manager, I am happy and excited to tell you that Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) now supports REST based APIs. Why am I happy and excited you ask? MSE’s REST based APIs allow web app developers to rapidly develop location aware apps with ease.  Let me walk you through this new feature at a high level, and my colleague will take you through a closer look feature blog next week.

Mobility Services Engine and API support

For readers who are not familiar with the Cisco Mobility Service Engine and the APIs, here’s the gist:

–          Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE) works in conjunction with Cisco Wireless LAN Controller (WLC) and Cisco Aironet Access Points (APs) and computes real time location for all Wi-Fi end-points using RSSI based triangulation algorithms.

–          MSE stores real time and historical location of Wi-Fi clients in its database making it a gold mine of data for indoor location. (Remember that GPS technology is not effective for indoor location)

–          This rich store of indoor location data is now available to app developers to query through a REST based API over a secure HTTPS connection.

What can I do with MSE REST APIs?

MSE REST APIs allow web developers to query MSE location database using the HTTP(S) GET method. HTTP response payload can be received in XML or JSON format. Here is a list of resources that are accessible over the REST API.


  • Maps are crucial because location is defined in context of a floor map.
  • Using this set of API’s, developers can request map images, dimensions, zones within a map, for a campus, building or a floor.

Real time Location data

  • Real time location data is computed for all Wi-Fi endpoints. This data set can be large as much as 50K clients on virtual MSE platform
  • REST API’s offer a variety of tools like filtering, paging and sorting to process large responses.

Historical Location data

  • In some applications, historical record of Wi-Fi endpoint location data might be needed. Similar to real time location APIs, apps can query historical data and create charts on visitor flow within a facility by time and zones.


  • In healthcare, industrial or warehouse environments, there is often a requirement to track high value assets or when a particular asset moves out of a pre-defined zone. Notifications are programmatic way of achieving just that.
  • Using the REST API, MSE can be programmed to send notifications about the presence, absence, containment, movement within zones of WiFi endpoints

Keep calm and code

Making real time location data accessible to large pool of app developers was a key goal. Our team decided to host a CMX Hackathon where enthusiastic developers put Mobility Services Engine REST API through its paces.  If you need some inspiration, check out the neat ideas that were generated.

For more information about Cisco Mobility Services Engine go to http://www.cisco.com/go/mse


Rajiv Iyer

Senior Product Manager

Enterprise Networking Group