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Hotspot 2.0 will power the mobile Internet

Bob Friday, chief technology officer, Wireless Networking Group, Cisco | March 11, 2013
With an estimated 800 million new Wi-Fi-enabled devices entering the mobile market each year, new Wi-Fi networks are emerging to connect businesses and users inside public venues ranging from malls and airports to hotels, schools and universities.

The indoor mobile experience

Within indoor venues, Hotspot 2.0 allows consumers' mobile devices to communicate with the network before association and authentication, giving the mobile device access to roaming services and other local services available in the venue. In the future, consumers will be able to specify what type of local network service they are interested in and how they want to be notified, similar to other mobile applications.

In addition, network services discovery will allow businesses to detect, connect and engage mobile users that are now connected to the venue's Wi-Fi network. Hotspot 2.0 will allow mobile devices to securely communicate with nearby Wi-Fi networks before association and authentication. Mobile users of the future will be able to specify what local network services they are interested in and how they prefer to be notified, similar to how users can configure the email and SMS notifications on an iPhone.

New mobile concierge services will allow organizations to engage with mobile users through a native application on a mobile device, providing opt-in services to deliver deals and other relevant local information.

Lastly, location analytics technology provides real-time location information, allowing businesses to send location and time-based deals and coupons, as well as historical trends that help businesses plan staffing and stocking. Airports successfully improve business operations by tracking how travelers are moving through and dwelling in the airport using location analytics, while retailers use analytics to optimize worker productivity in a store and better understand customers on their mobile devices. When trigger-based marketing systems are integrated with the real-time location analytics of the Wi-Fi network, indoor venues can now engage visitors with messages sent to their mobile devices based on their location, time of day and interests.

Indoor venues, such as shopping malls or hotels, deploying these solutions and seeking to improve relationships with consumers via a connected mobile device should also clearly communicate the security protections given to consumers. Businesses using these technologies can collect anonymous customer data, when consumers opt in, such as location and purchase history, and apply this data to deliver loyalty programs and personalized services. However, properly deployed solutions will have transparent terms and opt-in conditions that allow businesses to make informed decisions. As is the case when any user connects to a network, consumers must be informed and engage only when businesses are transparent regarding data collection and privacy.

The future of mobile

These technologies have already enabled a connected experience at some indoor venues. Within the next five years, the new connected, mobile experiences will become the norm in most venues as mobile Internet connectivity increasingly becomes a service on par with water, light and heat. Looking forward, we will see improvements in indoor location technology, collaborative filtering and local service discovery protocols that will continue to make it easier for consumers to have access to local services and information on their mobile devices within two clicks.


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