Last week you read about App Hosting on the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points. Today’s post focuses on REWE International and its use of App Hosting on the Catalyst platform across REWE retail locations.

I recently spoke with Hans Vasters, Senior Network Architect at REWE International AG about how he’s betting on application hosting to simplify REWE’s IoT deployment. REWE International AG, is Austria’s largest supermarket chain with various brands including BILLA, BIPA, PENNY and MERKUR that operate across ten European countries. The retailer makes use of an electronic shelf labels (ESL) system by SES-imagotag at its retail storefront locations to digitize pricing. Hans explained that prior to ESL, “price labeling was an error-prone manual process, during specials or sales, prices were changed and then changed back again after the sale.” With SES-imagotag, REWE International has taken pricing into the digital realm. However, as is the case with many IoT solutions, SES-imagotag’s solution required a secondary overlay network with physical IoT access points, separate from its Wi-Fi network access points. This caused added expense in both hardware and installation, and management was complicated.

SES-Imagotag: Electronic Price Tag

Today, REWE International is rolling out a containerized version of the SES-Imagotag ESL solution using the application hosting feature on the Cisco Catalyst 9120 access points. The containerized application will enable REWE International to eliminate the need for an IoT overlay network; simplifying their deployments, streamlining management, and saving them time and money.

The converged path is the easiest path

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Hans had to say: “App hosting capabilities on the Cisco access points reduces deployment times by nearly 90 percent by eliminating the need to install additional hardware and bring in IT folks and electricians to set it all up.”

Hans added, “With App Hosting, we run everything through one system, and Cisco DNA Center enables us to push out the application, make changes and updates, and manage the application across all our stores seamlessly. Our technicians don’t have to invest time onsite to maintain a separate infrastructure. It can all be done remotely.”

Cisco DNA Center: manage and deploy IoT applications on the AP.

And when asked about the application install, Hans said, “Installation is very easy, it’s just a few clicks. Cisco DNA Center also lets me see when the app is up and running, gives me the status of all access points, lets me know if the application was distributed successfully, and if the container is up and running. That’s a huge advantage because if I think about the effort to distribute software to the stores, Application Hosting makes it quite easy.”

That’s all great but if it doesn’t perform, there’s no point. When questioned about the performance difference between the legacy overlay network method and the new integrated model, the answer was, “No. there is no difference and that’s a good thing.”

The beginning of the transformation

It’s great to see Cisco’s latest generation of the Catalyst 9100 series Wi-Fi 6 compatible access points offering diverse radio capabilities to address the needs of IoT protocols. With App Hosting on the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points, Cisco is extending capabilities of the platform to create a true convergence of Wi-Fi and IoT on a single network. Cisco is also actively partnering with a number of IoT manufacturers who understand the needs of their customers and their need for overall simplicity at scale.

Learn more about Application Hosting.

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Brett Shore

Product Marketing Manager

Enterprise Product Marketing