This week marks the start of Wireless Field Day 8 (#WFD8), part of the Tech Field Day series of events. For those less familiar with Tech Field Day, it brings together IT vendors and industry bloggers, speakers, podcasters and writers for engaging technology discussions.
A fantastic feature of this coming together of industry experts is the comprehensive live streaming and video replays of the sessions that allow anyone to participate. Cisco will be participating in #WFD8 with presentations starting on October 1, 2015 at 9:30 am PT, with the live stream available from the Wireless Field Day 8 website.
As part of the Cisco sessions at #WFD8 there will be a segment on Meraki Systems Manager and the Sentry features that offer simple automatic security that is context aware. Meraki has featured at past Wireless Field Days and you can catch up by searching Meraki and Wireless Field Day on YouTube. In the video below from WFD7, Raj Krishna, Wireless Product Manager, discusses and demonstrates the Cisco Meraki traffic analytics capabilities.
With Systems Manager Sentry, a number of complex security features can be very easily deployed because of the native integration offered by the Meraki cloud. Meraki network components and Systems Manager Enterprise Mobility Management are connected to the cloud and share data. This means the network can make highly informed decisions on how it should treat end devices.
One of the Sentry features that highlights the benefit of this integration is Sentry policies. Sentry policies allow any network group policy available on Meraki networking equipment to be dynamically applied based on device posture. This posture is determined by Systems Manager and is highly granular. For example, we can detect whether the antivirus software has been uninstalled and who the device belongs to. The network can then implement appropriate firewall or security rules.
To learn more, please attend one of our specialist webinars that cover Sentry in more detail, or better yet, watch the Cisco #WFD8 session live from 9:30AM PT onwards on October the 1st.
Late last year we launched the world’s first enterprise AP with integrated Bluetooth Low Energy beacon technology. Beacons can be put to use in a couple of significant ways. Since many beacons are small, light and portable they can be attached just about anywhere and are particularly useful for items which need to be tracked. We tried this out by attaching a beacon to one of our skateboards and even to the collar of one of our office dogs.
Thanks to the low maintenance requirements and long battery life of some beacons, this application of the technology is perfect for keeping track of valuable equipment in a large organization. A hospital could use beacons to keep track of beds or expensive portable x-ray equipment as it moves around the building, or a school could attach one to an iPad cart.
While this form of tracking exists with other technologies, like RFID and NFC tags, Bluetooth beacons have the advantages of more predictable range and being able to communicate bi-directionally to drive actions on a compatible mobile device app.
Focusing on the latter, let’s look at an example of how beacons can be put to use to improve customer brand engagement by delivering a seamless experience. We’ll use a coffee shop as an example.
Setting the scene
John is a big fan of Michelle’s Coffee Shop. In order to reward his loyalty, rather than issuing a physical card to get lost in his wallet, Michelle commissioned an app which is beacon aware which John was happy to install on his phone.
John knows he’ll be in a hurry in the morning and won’t have time to line up for coffee, so he places an order for his cappuccino and a banana using the app before leaving home. He also provides an approximate time window when he’ll arrive at the coffee shop.
On arrival at Michelle’s, his phone ‘sees’ the Meraki BLE enabled AP. The app will then alert Michelle’s computer system, via its regular internet connection, that John has arrived. By way of acknowledgement, a notification will pop up on John’s phone confirming his order is in preparation.
A freshly made cappuccino is prepared and delivered directly to the collection point, together with a fresh organic banana.
A second notification is sent to John’s phone confirming his treats are ready to go, at the same time prompting him to make an optional tip and enclosing a receipt.
With treats in hand, John gains another loyalty point and is quickly on his way.
This simple example neatly illustrates just one of the many potential use cases for beacons. With their inclusion in every MR32 (indoor) and MR72 (outdoor) access point, the possibilities for improved efficiency, analytics and engagement are many. In addition, this is an opt-in technology, a crucial advantage in gaining consumer trust. The consumer elects to use an app like this, on the understanding that they derive benefit in the form points and a more seamless experience with the brand which has won their loyalty.
With WiFi coverage approaching ubiquitous, integrating beacons into a powered AP makes sense. One piece of hardware to manage, and no need to worry about batteries.
We’ll be back with another simple example soon. In the meantime we hope this gets your creative juices flowing imagining all the interesting ways beacons could be put to use. We’d love to hear your ideas. Why not share via Twitter or our online community.
On August 31, Cisco and Apple announced a new strategic partnership. To address the ever-increasing demands on corporate infrastructure, Cisco networks and iOS devices will be optimized so that they work together more efficiently, with the goal of providing users even greater performance. Read more reflections on this significant announcement from Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.
With the release of iOS 9 today, Meraki is announcing same day support for Systems Manager, made possible by the agile cloud architecture for which we’re renowned.
iOS 9 brings new functionality to MDM, with new restrictions such as being able to disallow sharing of managed documents with AirDrop and disabling iCloud Photo Library. There are also a host of new supervised restrictions available, which include the ability to control:
The App Store
Pairing with Apple Watch
Modification of passcode settings
Modification of device name
Modification of wallpaper
Automatic downloading of apps purchased on other devices
Automatically trusting enterprise apps
The News app
Systems Manager customers who are using the legacy, license free version will be able to manage devices running iOS 9, but will not receive the new iOS 9 functionality such as the extra restrictions. If you would like to upgrade to take advantage of the new features and gain access to many others, such as 24/7 support and network policy integration with Systems Manager Sentry, contact the sales team for more information.
We know there are going to be many questions we won’t be able to cover in a single blog post. To help provide more detail on iOS 9 and what’s new in Systems Manager, we are running a “What’s new with iOS 9 and Systems Manager” webinar on Tuesday the September 29th at 9am PDT. Register today to reserve your place, and to find out more about the new functionality such as VPP app provisioning by device rather than by user.
It’s an exciting time for our London-based Merakians!
Over the past few years, our London team has grown from just a handful of employees sharing a cramped cupboard and taking calls under desks to a large, multicultural and multilingual team. However, even though our team was growing, we were limited on space and needed to split ourselves between two buildings to compensate for our growing numbers.
Last week marked a new era for our European base of operations, unveiling an expansive new office in the heart of London! This new office provides ample room for all of our current employees, as well as plenty of room for growth as we continue to hire. Numerous Meraki individuals spent countless hours designing, planning, and creating this space which cultivates creativity, fosters the fun-loving Meraki spirit, and enables our world-class teams to provide unique and quintessentially ‘Meraki’ customer experiences.
The London team is looking forward to expanding their reach around the globe and this new office gives them the ability to do that easily and effectively. Take a look at a few photos from the new space!
A London-based nonprofit, onebillion aims to deliver sustainable, localized learning to the one billion children around the world lacking adequate access to education. The group develops educational apps to teach fundamental literacy and numerical skills to young children in their own language. The onebillion apps are available in over 50 languages and purchased by parents and teachers around the world. The profits from these app sales are then used to provide learning tools to children in developing countries.
One of the ways onebillion promotes global education is through their physical ‘oneclass’ learning centers. Five of these centers have been piloted in Malawi, where large class sizes and lack of educational resources are persistent and debilitating issues. In oneclass, solar-powered, locked-down iPads deliver onebillion math apps in Chichewa, the local language. Children are able to learn at their own pace and are rewarded every step of the way, with teachers helping in each of the centers.
oneclass students in action
The onebillion team caught our eye with their important mission, as well as with their unique use of Systems Manager, the Meraki MDM solution. They are currently using Systems Manager to lock down iPads with feature restrictions and single app mode, to keep children focused on the onebillion app at hand. The IT team is able to remotely keep track of their device inventory, important when planning for future device procurement and learning center development. onebillion enterprise apps are pushed out to each device from a local server, so they are available locally on every iPad. Utilizing features such as Apple DEP integration, custom profiles, content restrictions, and more, the onebillion team is able to remotely monitor and manage all the learning center iPads to keep the focus in the classroom on learning, not device management.
Solar-powered iPads in ‘oneclass’
Over the next three years, another 63 new learning centers will be set up in Malawi. In Uganda, the first oneclass will open later this year. The onebillion development team is also expanding into more solar-powered devices, such as solar-powered projectors with built-in Apple TV and wireless monitoring of iPads to help instructors with large groups. We wish them the best with their mission, and hope Systems Manager continues to help manage these transformational iPads along the way!