Romance and Wi-Fi – Locating A Match

July 13, 2006 - 0 Comments

Yesterday, I found myself day dreaming while I was at work. Sitting at my desk, I was lost in the land of what-if. I used to do this in high school about boys I thought were cute. Now, I do it about products that I’m driving to market. Yes, I day dreamed about applications for location services. This isn’t to say that romance in the head is dead. It’s just that, like all good platforms, the human brain can be used for many applications. As I wandered off into fantasy land, I tried to imagine how our clever customers and creative partners will use our free Wireless Location Appliance API to create exciting, innovative, and useful new applications for location services. Here are some ideas….On May 29 Alan Cohen blogged about how Appear Networks deployed a landmark location service in the Stockholm subway and earlier this year Bronson Healthcare Group shared how they are using Cisco location services to track wheelchairs to avoid searches and patient waiting. I was a candy-striper while I was in high school and I know how frustrating it is to look for wheelchairs -let alone missing patients. I lost a patient once. My 14 year old heart rate soared in fear. If the hospital where I volunteered had had Cisco’s 802.11 location services, I could’ve looked at the Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) interface to see where my patient was, based on the location of her Wi-Fi enabled IV pump. Instead, since this was pre-Wi-Fi, I ran between floors, eventually finding her in the gift shop, sheepishly stuffing a chocolate bar into her pocket. She’d snuck off to buy a forbidden candy bar. Other industries besides healthcare and transportation are embracing location services. Rental car agencies, airlines, manufacturing facilities (Boeing Turns to WLAN When A Key Part Goes Missing), retail stores, finance organizations, public agencies and warehouses can use Wi-Fi location services to track assets, inventory, or people to improve their business operations. Location services are helping organizations find rogue access points, track the movement of Wi-Fi enabled devices, issue location-based alerts, enforce business policies, and troubleshoot the network. With location services, workflows can be streamlined, assets can be managed more efficiently, and the WLAN will stay more secure. All of this reduces operating costs and improves business productivity. Now, instead of the childhood game – Tag You’re It! It’s the business imperative: Tag It – To Track It! And then, there are the fun uses for location services. My co-worker Matthew Glenn, suggested to me earlier today that on-line dating services could offer a Wi-Fi location service for their members -Wi-Fi alerts whenever they’re near someone that fits their profile. In dating, proximity is everything. So why not meet a potential love-match when you’re out for coffee, at a concert, or shopping at the grocery store? Yes, I can see the Wi-Fi Date Zone sign on college campuses or on airport kiosks, right next to the Wi-Fi Zone logo. Just imagine the telemetric data that could be made available! Obviously, Matt has focused his Wi-Fi day dreaming on areas other than I have. :-)So, how will Cisco’s partners and customers use the free Wireless Location Appliance API? They’ll develop new location-based applications that support business critical services, streamline operations, reduce costs-.and make our lives more fun! As for me, I don’t have my Wi-Fi Date Zone device yet, but if it’s available while I’m still dating, why not? As for my day dreaming, will my director ever know that I was lost in a fantasy land while at work? Nope. When he logged into our internal Cisco WCS with the Cisco Wireless Location Appliance, my Wi-Fi UserID showed that I was sitting at my desk-.diligently working. Location services can see where you are -.but they can’t read your mind.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.