Location-based services have been getting a lot of attention lately and people are increasingly curious about how Wi-Fi and beacons play together in the hot space that is indoor location technology. In my last blog I reviewed how beacons work and how to differentiate when to use Wi-Fi and beacons. There’ve been some great questions about beacon technology and how it complements Cisco’s location-based Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution, so I want to follow up on these topics with everyone.
What types of beacons are there?
Generally, there are two different classes of beacons: transmit only and backhaul enabled.
Transmit only beacons are exactly as they sound – they simply transmit information to anyone that is capable of hearing (bluetooth enabled smartphones). They do not receive or pass any data or information upstream.
Apple’s iBeacon is the best example of this type of BLE beacon. You can think of them like the navigational beacons used by airplanes when on approach to major airports. The beacon doesn’t even know the plane is there, but the plane is aware of the beacon and knows where the beacon is allowing it to take the correct action. Same is true for smartphones and transmit only beacons like iBeacon – the intelligence is located in the mobile application which must recognize the beacon and take appropriate action.
Backhaul enabled beacons generally include a Wi-Fi chipset for either management or data capabilities. Some backhaul enabled beacons are USB enabled and take advantage of whatever connectivity exists within the PC they are connected. Read More »
Tags: access, analytics, Apple, beacon, BLE, bluetooth, byod, Cisco, cmx, consumer, customer, deployment, device, dimension, Enterprise, GPS, granular, Guest, healthcare, ibeacon, indoor, Indoor location, IT, lbs, line-of-business, location, location based services, marketing, mobility, mse, network, operation, productive, productivity, proximity, retail, sales, tag, technology, track, tracking, wi-fi, wifi, wireless, wlan
In just two years, indoor location technology has taken off and attracted a lot of buzz across industries, from retailers to healthcare. But it’s no longer a conversation about just Wi-Fi – the introduction of beacon devices, including iBeacon, has added a new dimension to location technology for IT and their line of business counterparts to grapple with on how to leverage it to better reach their customer base.
Some customers have been asking about beacon technology and how it fits in with Wi-Fi, so let’s start from the beginning:
How do beacons work?
Beacons are sensors that send out Bluetooth low energy (BLE) tracking tags. These sensors can be placed around a venue, such as a store, and a mobile device can pick up the BLE signal and determine that it is in close proximity. When a mobile app is built off of this technology, it can be used in interesting ways to interact with the end user, such as notifying a customer of a promotion for an item they are close to.
I’m having trouble differentiating Wi-Fi and beacons. What do I need to know? Read More »
Tags: access, analytics, Apple, beacon, BLE, bluetooth, byod, Cisco, cmx, consumer, customer, deployment, device, dimension, Enterprise, GPS, granular, Guest, healthcare, ibeacon, indoor, Indoor location, IT, lbs, line-of-business, location, location based services, marketing, mobility, mobility services engine, mse, network, operation, productive, productivity, proximity, retail, sales, tag, technology, track, tracking, wi-fi, wifi, wireless, wlan
Cisco has been placing a lot of emphasis on delivering solutions that provide insights and understanding on how customers, patients, visitors and communities interact with their physical environments. Mobility and leveraging mobile devices in the environment has revealed itself as a very powerful way to gather critical business intelligence. This business intelligence is highly impacted by the resolution of the location-data and the demand to improve resolution and accuracy is increasing quickly. Apparently, this has not been missed by UBM. This year Cisco is honored to be selected as a Best of Interop Finalist for the Wireless award category for our innovations in improving location data resolution calculations.
It’s an honor to be recognized for our innovation and technological advancements in wireless, and we wanted to share a bit more about our submission with you.
What are Location Data Resolution Calculations?
Many systems acquire location analytics by relying solely on the probing that occurs from a mobile device to an access point. Unfortunately, this approach is delivering diminishing returns. It puts location analytics at the mercy of the mobile device vendors. What I mean by this is that as mobile device manufacturers look to improve mobile devices in regards to OS, drivers and battery life they are reducing the frequency of the probing from the mobile device. In addition, different mobile device manufacturer use different probing intervals. The need to do this makes sense from the mobile device manufacturer perspective, but it has an impact on the accuracy of the data acquired when representing movement of end users in the physical environment. If a user is recognized when they walk in the environment and then is identified a minute later, there is a lot of movement that can occur in that time. But the analytics only sees two data points and draws a straight line. Not a very accurate representation.
Cisco is leveraging what we know best, the network, to supplement the device probing. Bringing in network data allows us to gather higher data resolution regarding mobile device movement, equating to a more accurate representations of end user movement in the environment.
Why is This Important? Read More »
Tags: access point, accuracy, analytic, AP, battery life, data, device, driver, granular, interop, interval, location, mobile, movement, network, OS, Packet, probe, probing, resolution, rssi, Scalability, scale, wi-fi, wifi, wireless