Wireless connectivity is not enough. Maybe at home, but when it comes to business, one needs to go beyond. Let me share a story about Bob* and Lucas** who are managing Wi-Fi networks for two large retailers. You might think that is a piece of cake, a standard procedure and you know how it ends. But … are you sure?

Bob takes care that wireless in the stores brings secure and reliable connectivity to customers and employees. Not a bad accomplishment, but for Lucas, on the other hand, this is just a solid starting point. He goes beyond connectivity and wants to use the existing wireless infrastructure for much more: for digitalization and thus the control of the data.

What is Lucas’s superpower? Cisco DNA Spaces!

If you are like Bob, you might ask why that is even relevant. The point is to have good connectivity for customers and employees, what else is needed?

Bob is satisfied with his nice Captive portal for the customers, not being aware he is facing a data blind spot and potential interactions with his customers. Consequently, he has  limited insight into the behavior of stakeholders, assets and their interactions. When it comes to special events, Bob spends a lot of time modifying the SSIDs and Captive portals. He sometimes doesn’t know how to divide or segment stores with different (wireless) needs. Sooner or later he faces challenges to scale and manage everything. It probably goes without saying that his Wi-Fi also doesn’t have any kind of integrations like Mobile Apps or CRM systems. It’s only a guess, but maybe that’s why he is not bringing to the table any innovative solutions and business development.

The Data Blidspot: A blind spot remains in physical spaces

Lucas has another focus: He would like to acquire new customers, capture data and develop his business.

Lucas’ secret? Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi beyond connectivity, with targeted captive portals through which he drives loyalty sign-ups and lead generation into enterprise software (CRM, loyalty). On top, he has a mobile app and uses OpenRoaming that lead to increasing Wi-Fi adoption.

What are the outcomes?

  • Customers have different experiences based on location, brand, behavior, or persona.
  • Enterprise services such as app downloads, loyalty, credit cards, etc. are personalized and promoted more.
  • Captured guest real-time micro-feedback is instantly routed with location context to front-line staff.

With proper use of the technology, Lucas is taking advantage of the dashboards
and reports that exports them in Cisco DNA Spaces to interact with marketing teams.

Why is that important?

With his activities, he gains insights into customer in-store behavior (visit duration, visit frequency, new vs. repeat) and is able to measure customer loyalty and engagement. The retailer is better able to understand store performance by brands, regions, and industry to identify best-performing locations as well as visitor distribution during different times of the day. The marketing team then correlates location behavior with Point of Sale (POS), CRMs, loyalty database, etc.

How does it work?

Gaining all that important and fruitful insight, Lucas does not have any more work than Bob. The technology does it for him.

With Cisco DNA Spaces he has:

  • Single-pane monitoring, decentralized user management, where he can find and locate employee devices on a map.
  • Flexibility and scalability to manage any potential change (new opening, modifications within the store).
  • The opportunity to test and deploy third-party apps for additional business outcomes (Cisco DNA Spaces APIs).
  • A secure way to manage the data as the service collects the minimum required data and meets all the data compliance regulations (GDPR, ISO270001, SOC Type 1, …).

Cisco DNA Spaces: Unlock the physical blind spot

Customer experience in the store

It’s not only about the retailers but mostly the customer experience. When a customer comes into one of Bob’s stores, he/she most likely won’t connect to the store’s Wi-Fi. With 4G connection and no personal benefits, Bob has no trigger to influence the customer’s behavior. Game over. Bob doesn’t have a clue about his customers.

Lucas shares a different story. He attracts the customer’s attention with a captive portal and a loyalty sign-up offer. In only a heartbeat the customer accepts the terms and is connected to the Wi-Fi.

Why is this essential?

  • Personal engagement on the next visit: The enterprise software automatically feeds leads from captive portal sign-up and at-location behavior data.
  • Instant Connection to the protected OpenRoaming SSID: Once a customer installs an OpenRoaming profile, connects to Wi-Fi and it recognizes him/her instantly when entering any of the stores.
  • Real-time communication: After the customer dwells in the store for 10 minutes he/she is presented (event triggered by Cisco DNA Spaces) with a real-time feedback survey (Local Measure Pulse). The Local Measure app pulls the customer’s real-time feedback along with a current location from Cisco DNA Spaces and alerts the store manager so he/she can resolve any potential issues in real time.

As Lucas has digitized the physical space, he has insights into core metrics such as
visit duration, visit frequency, recency, peak days and hours, etc.

Simplified Digitalization

Cisco DNA spaces offers a centralized platform for all enterprise location service needs:

  • one dashboard
  • one login
  • the simplified ordering process with 3 steps – See, Act and Extend
  • easy to activate, and get up and running. You can start with a trial
  • compatibility and interoperability across all Cisco hardware (Aironet, Catalyst, Meraki) and software

Lesson learned? Be like Lucas – bring innovation & digitization to your physical spaces and gain insights for your business:

Try Cisco DNA Spaces.

P.S.: Besides retailers, there are many other industries where one can capitalize on Cisco DNA Spaces: hospitality, education, transportation, manufacturing. And yes, your enterprise, no matter the industry, can benefit from insights of your physical spaces, enhance IT productivity, and bring other partner integrations.


Related Links

Cisco DNA Spaces Demo (video) 

Discover DNA Spaces

Cisco DNA Spaces (Cisco.com)


Cisco DNA Spaces Trial


*/** – Disclaimer: Bob and Lucas are fictional characters and are not related to any real person(s).



Mitja Rakar

Account Systems Engineer

Sales Systems Engineers Italy