Cisco teams with Qualcomm to provide Wi-Fi-based mobile customer capabilities
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is teaming with Qualcomm to help retail stores, hotels, and other businesses use their Wi-Fi networks to provide smartphone users with location-based services and to monetize customer opportunities.
This is important as the number of consumers with smartphones is increasing. According to the latest stats from Gartner, smartphone sales increased 47 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same quarter of 2011.
Tapping into this growing market for mobile business, Cisco is working with Qualcomm Atheros to provide Wi-Fi indoor location capabilities to retail stores, hotels, and other commercial outlets, enabling them to provide location-based information to customer smartphones.
Cisco is leveraging analytics technology it gained from its acquisition of ThinkSmart Technologies and Qualcomm's IZat indoor location services platform in its latest Cisco Mobility Services Engine.
Through the Cisco Mobility Services Engine, business will be able to use Wi-Fi networks to detect and engage with mobile users, provide location-based analytics and trends as customers move around the business's facility, and engage with mobile users through a native application on their smartphone.
An important feature of the product is that enables enterprises to advertise and deploy services on a smartphone before the device authenticates, said Paul DeBeasi, research vice president with Gartner.
"The Cisco solution enables a retailer to automatically alert a nearby customer of a sale, push a coupon to their device, and download a loyalty application to the user device. This capability will make it easier for users to access hotspots and easier for hotspot providers to connect to their customers," DeBeasi wrote in a blog.
The Cisco product will definitely help enterprises that want to push coupons, but whether shoppers will want to receive unsolicited coupons on their smartphones every time they walk by a store in a mall is another question.