Deloitte’s 2013 Annual Holiday survey came out with some staggering statistics:

  • Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers will use their smartphones and tablets to shop this holiday season.
  • Nearly half of all shoppers will use social media to assist in shopping.
  • 73% of shoppers will be influenced by coupons and promotional offers.

Retailers both online and in-store can no longer ignore the power of mobile technology and social media influence with shoppers. Shoppers using mobile devices inside stores are actually more likely to make a purchase when being presented with the right information. In fact, this isn’t only true for retailers, but across all industries. Whether it’s guests, visitors, patients or passengers, there’s a real opportunity for businesses to make an impression via the mobile device.

Today I am happy to announce our latest Cisco Wireless Software Release 7.6. As you may recall from Sujai Hajela’s State of Cisco WLAN blog earlier this week, Cisco’s Wireless group has been ahead of the competition with our dedication to delivering cutting edge, high performing technology to our customers.

Many features in Release 7.6 were designed specifically to enable our customers to take advantage of the latest mobile trends. Here are some of the highlights:

Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX)

CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi is a joint Cisco — Facebook solution for guest Wi-Fi. It delivers a simple, consistent experience for users, and aggregates social media analytics to venue owners. Venue owners can increase their brand exposure, learn social demographics and enhance customer experiences by helping better target their offering.

CMX Visitor Connect is an easy-to-use guest captive portal that offers a high degree of customization with plugins for advertisements, use of social authentication, and location-specific splash templates. This allows venue owners to gather relevant visitor information during registration, easily customize guest access experiences and best serve their visitors by using workflow tools. They can easily insert ad plugins in the guest onboarding flow to promote a product or a service.

Improved Guest Experience 

Shoppers with smartphones expect to connect several times during an in-store shopping experience. To preserve battery life, smartphones (wireless clients) may enter sleep mode. These sleeping clients connected to the wireless network are remembered even after waking up, eliminating the need for users to re-enter credentials. In Release 7.6, for large deployments that are enabled with the 8500 WLC and Flex 7500, the number of sleeping clients that are remembered is increased to 25,000 from the previous 9,000 clients.

Secure, Application-aware services  enabling a High Density (HD) Experience

Building on the Cisco Aironet heritage of RF excellence, the Cisco Aironet 3700 series 802.11ac access point utilizes a Purpose-built Innovative Chipset with the Best-in-class RF Architecture. This chipset provides a High Density Experience, technology optimized to support high client density and multi-client performance scaling for rich media applications. Learn more about HDX and the new AP3700 from our tech talk with Tech Field Day delegates at Interop New York 2013.

For onboarding Wi-Fi devices securely, administrators can set Domain Name System (DNS)-based (FQDN) access control lists (ACLs) to determine the sites that devices have the permission to visit prior to authentication (e.g. apple.com, play.google.com)

With iOS7, Apple has enhanced the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) to make it more robust. Release 7.6 includes associated changes to interoperate with Apple’s new implementation while helping to ensure a seamless experience for all clients.

The Application Visibility and Control (AVC) protocol pack update now offers support for Microsoft Lync 2013 and Cisco Jabber™.

Here are the basics of AVC in a short 2 minute video:

Additional innovative features in Cisco Wireless Software Release 7.6 are described in the release bulletin available here.

All of us on the Cisco Wireless team wish you and your families a happy holiday season.


Udayan Palekar

Senior Product Line Manager

Wireless Networking BU