Not long ago the configuration of a computer’s settings were the responsibility of the end user. This spawned numerous guides, created by beleaguered IT administrators, that tried to ease the number of repetitive helpdesk support calls on common topics.
What if you could do away with the multi page WiFi configuration guide, yet still allow users to connect securely? Systems Manager Sentry provides simple, automatic security that is context aware. Sentry WiFi settings automate the configuration of mobile device wireless connectivity. This simplifies the task of joining the network for both the user and IT administrator, eliminating one of those clunky step-by-step guides from your help portal. Watch the video below to see this feature in action.
Systems Manager can create WiFi configuration payloads which contain configuration settings for a wireless network. It can then deliver this to the client device so they know how to get connected without the user having to follow a guide. Sentry WiFi settings take advantage of the native cloud integration of Meraki’s networking stack with Systems Manager MDM.
With Sentry, Systems Manager queries the Meraki WLAN network to understand what the security requirements are for a chosen SSID. Now instead of the IT administrator manually configuring the settings, the configuration fields are automatically populated with the correct information, eliminating possible errors and saving time.
The convenience of Sentry WiFi settings becomes exceptionally powerful when combined with the tagging engine available in Systems Manager. Tags are Systems Manager’s way of choosing what managed devices should get what settings. As tags can be automatically applied, this means client devices can receive WiFi settings based on dynamic events such as the time of day, device user, device type, location, or security posture.
If you would like to find out more about Systems Manager Sentry, then you can attend one of our specialist Sentry webinars, or alternatively contact your Meraki representative for more information. If you are an existing Meraki WLAN customer, Systems Manager offers an industry leading MDM capability with a unique level of network integration, that due to its simplicity can secure and automate your IT operation in minutes.
Here at Meraki, we are continually focused on simplifying the IT management experience. One of the areas our engineering team is always paying attention to is how to offer additional benefits to customers who have multiple Meraki product types. We want every product, be that wireless, security, switching or mobility management to be outstanding in their own right, but what about when they come together?
One exceptional example of this integration is Systems Manager Sentry. With Systems Manager MDM holding a wealth of data on client devices, it can automatically configure the network based on rules you provide. Another is Group Policies, where one interface allows network-wide rules, such as firewalling and traffic shaping to be configured, no matter if the connectivity type is wired or wireless.
The Meraki dashboard is central to our cloud technology and is used to manage all our products through a simple, intuitive, and powerful interface. This is continually updated and improved based on customer feedback and internal research. The cloud infrastructure allows for these changes to be seamlessly deployed without user intervention, patches, or downtime.
In February we introduced our #fullstack campaign to highlight the benefits of a combined network view in dashboard. With a combined view, the products are grouped together so that a single site can be viewed in a single navigation pane.
Although Systems Manager deployments could be managed from the same dashboard interface as the other products, it was previously not possible to combine them. Today we announce the beta availability of fully combined networks, with Systems Manager integrated into the navigation pane. If you would like to try out the new interface, go to the Organization Overview page within dashboard and choose Combine.
To celebrate the arrival of the combined #fullstack network, we are running another blog promotion for our subscribers. The winner will receive a full stack of Meraki equipment, comprising the following equipment, supplied with 3 year licences:
1 x MX64 Security Appliance
1 x MS220-8P PoE Ethernet Switch
1 x MR32 Wireless Access Point with BLE beacon technology
20 x Systems Manager licences
To take part in the promotion, all you need to do is subscribe to the Meraki blog by the end of November 2015. Current subscribers are automatically entered to win. Additional terms and conditions apply; subscription is not necessary to enter.
If you are an existing Meraki customer with only one product family today, why not try adding some of the others to learn more about the benefits of the full Meraki stack. Contact us to arrange your evaluation at no charge. You’ll be up and running in a matter of minutes, and we have a dedicated evaluation support team ready to help you at every step.
With the release of iOS 9 Apple introduced a number of improvements to the Volume Purchasing Program (VPP). Of these improvements, one of the more significant is app assignment by device. With this new functionality it is now possible to assign VPP apps to an iOS device without the need for an Apple ID, and if that device is supervised, the installation is silent.
Before this change, it was only possible to assign apps to a user by associating them with an Apple ID. This method of app management can be an administrative nightmare when used in environments such as K-12 education, where many users may be working with a particular device. Students may not have an Apple ID, or may be too young to have one without parental consent. Additionally, it meant that an Apple ID needed to be configured on the iPad for apps to be silently pushed to supervised devices.
With VPP device assignment, an Apple ID is no longer required and with supervised devices, apps can be pushed silently with no end user interaction. Silent app push has a huge impact on an administrator’s ability to seamlessly deliver iOS apps to users. Combining this new functionality with Meraki Systems Manager features, such as multiuser authentication, can offer a fantastic classroom experience. Apps and settings are tailored to each student’s needs and dynamically changed as the user changes.
Systems Manager Legacy customers can gain access to this great new functionality by upgrading to the latest version of Systems Manager. Please contact your Meraki representative for further information or alternatively sign up for a specialist Systems Manager Teacher’s Assistant webinar here. Additionally stay tuned to our YouTube channel for additional video guides to this functionality.
Over the last few months there have been a number of opportunities for our blog subscribers to have a chance of receiving exciting Meraki goodies. Being up to date with all the latest information has never been so rewarding! As we reach lofty new levels of readership, we wanted to reflect on our past promotions and their winners.
“March to 1000”
In our “March to 1000” promotion, subscribers could receive the industry’s first 802.11ac UTM device. Lars Cederholm, Business Developer at ATEA, was the winner of this promotion and received an MX64W.
ATEA is an IT infrastructure company based in the Nordics with several events throughout the year, including an IT roadshow. With 14 cities along the way and over 3,000 customer attendees, Lars has been putting his new security appliance to good use. Not only is he using the device to demo the security and wireless features of the Cisco Meraki solution, but he’s also set it up to provide guest WiFi at the events. The integrated Facebook WiFi splash feature is providing a streamlined way to access the network, while also providing ATEA with additional brand awareness on the social media platform. We’re excited to see what Lars does next with his MX64W!
“We Made it!”
Following the great success of the “March to 1000” promotion we ran the “We Made it!” promotion offering ten limited edition Meraki t-shirts. The winners included:
If you’re a blog subscriber it could be worth double checking your inbox, maybe you missed our message. Please get in contact if you find your congratulatory e-mail!
“Take me Home”
Finally the “Take me Home” promotion celebrated the power of the Meraki teleworking solutions available with the MX64 and Z1 products. The five winners of the Z1 teleworker gateways were:
We would like to offer our thanks to all winners and blog subscribers for their support of the blog, and we look forward to running further promotions in the future.
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.
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.
With so many feature additions to Systems Manager, we have decided to create a recurring series of specialist webinars focusing on how to make the most of them. These specialist webinars will be scheduled regularly and cover two important feature sets available in Systems Manager, Sentry and Teacher’s Assistant. Listen to the podcast below to learn about all the features, functionality, and use cases that will be covered in these sessions.
Systems Manager Sentry provides simple automatic security that is context aware. Sentry dramatically simplifies previously complex security configurations due to the native integration of Meraki networking products with Systems Manager MDM. In the Sentry-specific webinar, we will cover how Sentry works, highlight where it can be used, and go through live demonstrations of the individual features including:
With Systems Manager Teacher’s Assistant, integrating technology such as iPads into your lesson plan becomes a cinch. Teachers remain in control, ensuring that students’ learning benefits from the inclusion of mobiles devices, rather than them proving a classroom distraction. The Teacher’s Assistant specialist webinar covers examples of how mobile devices can be successfully used in education by looking at use cases, and providing a live demonstration of how to use features such as:
With so many ways to use Systems Manager, the amount of choice can sometimes seem overwhelming. Shortcut the learning process and attend one of these specialist webinars for further guidance on how to make the most of Systems Manager. These webinars assume attendees have a basic understanding of Meraki Systems Manager by having attended an introductory webinar such as Introduction to Cloud-Based Mobile Device Management, or having used the product with a trial. Sign up today for a Sentry session or a Teacher’s Assistant session.
Systems Manager Sentry offers a range of features that make the life of IT administrators easier. By providing simple, automatic security that is context aware, Sentry dramatically simplifies previously complex configurations. To be able to take advantage of Sentry functionality, devices need to be enrolled in Systems Manager. There are a variety of ways this can be done, but one of the simplest is by using Sentry enrollment.
Sentry enrollment is available with Meraki MR Access Points (AP) and not only automates deployment of Systems Manager, but ensures policy compliance by requiring Systems Managers installation. Sentry enrollment is an option within the wireless access control page of the Meraki dashboard. By choosing the radio button that enables Systems Manager Sentry enrollment, all devices connecting to this SSID will be checked for Systems Manager.
With Sentry enrollment enabled and a Systems Manager network selected, the administrator then has a couple of options to choose from. The strength option allows the level of compliance to be tailored to suit your environment. With the strength set to ‘Focused’, only the system types you have chosen will be forced to enrol in Systems Manager. A good example of why this may be desirable, is if you only want mobile Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads under management, not Windows laptops. This can be achieved by choosing ‘Focused’ and selecting iOS as the only system type you wish to force to enroll.
When a user connects to an SSID with Sentry enrollment, they must have Systems Manager to be able to access the network. If a user removes Systems Manager from their device, they will be forced to install it again if they want to access the network. Watch the video below for a full dashboard and end user demonstration of this feature in action.
Users are guided through the enrollment process with the necessary settings pre-configured for them. This eliminates the need to pre-stage devices before they are delivered to users and allows enrollment as and when devices connect. Think of it as your fast lane to pervasive mobile device management.
Sentry features highlight the power and simplicity of the Meraki cloud architecture that provides native integration between different product families. Typically such enrollment or onboarding processes require additional servers, appliances, or licences. Even if this is not needed, integration between the MDM and the network (often from different vendors) can be complex to configure. With Meraki, enrollment becomes a couple of clicks and a matter of moments to enable. Find out more by attending one of our focused webinars covering the Sentry features of Systems Manager in further detail.
Meraki’s CMX presence API enables organizations to extend the functionality offered by Meraki location analytics. In this mini-series of blog posts, we explore the capabilities of some of our technology partners that integrate with the API. In our previous spotlight we covered Euclid Analytics and their capabilities with Meraki WLAN devices. In this blog post we take a look at Turnstyle.
Turnstyle’s WiFi marketing platform offers customer engagement, loyalty, and analytics capabilities that enable retailers to learn actionable insights about on-premise customers. This can be used to send real-time messages, coupons, and rewards directly to customers’ smartphones, without the need for a mobile app; thereby increasing customer engagement and loyalty.
Customer case study
A restaurant chain deployed Meraki with Turnstyle integration in 54 locations to learn about customer trends, to generate marketing lists, and to create a location-based marketing platform. This was then used to reward customers for their loyalty in an effort to increase visit frequency, and to re-engage with customers who had not visited for over a month.
Over four months, the restaurant chain generated over 12,000 customer opt-ins for marketing communications via email, SMS, and Facebook. Over 30% of the client’s marketing communications were read by its customers, and ~18% of all coupons delivered through the Turnstyle platform were redeemed. The contextual messaging had a dramatic impact on customer loyalty and visit frequency, which increased by 70% and resulted in an ROI of over 15x.
The Turnstyle platform
Turnstyle’s platform consists of three components that integrate into a Meraki WLAN network:
Audience Insights uses Meraki wireless APs to passively monitor customer foot traffic and trends. This information can be used to make operational decisions on things such as staffing schedules, marketing strategies, and customer rewards.
Social WiFi gives business owners the ability to offer customers a gated WiFi network, eliminating the need for cumbersome passwords. Meraki offers extremely simple out of the box integration with Facebook WiFi, but for customers needing Facebook, Google, Twitter, and email simultaneously, Turnstyle Social WiFi offers a solution.
Engagement provides business owners with the ability to set up location-based messaging to interact with customers in hyper-contextual ways. Turnstyle makes it easy to reward customers for their loyalty by enabling coupons to be sent based on visit frequency, or to help businesses re-engage with customers who haven’t visited a venue within a defined time-period. With all Meraki WLAN devices connected to a single cloud infrastructure, this engagement can stretch globally wherever you have a Meraki device.
Meraki wireless customers can sign up for Turnstyle by visiting this page. No additional hardware is required, and you can be up and running in less than 10 minutes. Cisco Meraki’s CMX location analytics is available today for all customers, with bespoke functionality enabled by the API and our technology partners. Visit our documentation portal for further information on CMX analytics and our API.
All Meraki wireless products offer out–of–the–box, easy to use location features as part of Cisco’s location analytics technology, Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX). With CMX location analytics it’s possible to determine important business metrics such as how many people enter your location, how long they stay, and how frequently they visit.
Adding no additional cost, thanks to the Meraki all-inclusive licensing model, this data has become available to many organizations that could not typically justify deploying when there was an additional cost. This has led to innovative uses of the location data that has enabled smart city initiatives, and allowed educators to understand student movements.
An important component of empowering this creative use of CMX location analytics was the release of an Application Programming Interface (API). This lets organizations have access to the raw data used by the Meraki dashboard. With access to the raw data there are some major benefits. The first is that no data is summarized and full device identities are included, facilitating lookup by other applications, like CRM. The second is that the data is provided offered with only a short delay between it being created and presented to the API.
Thus the API allows for highly advanced software systems to be developed that are location and identity aware. User identity can be linked to devices, location awareness becomes bound only by the geographical dispersion of your access points (AP), and software systems can make decisions within a time span that is relevant to a device’s location.
One of the downsides of providing raw data is that it can be complex to manipulate for the application developer. For this reason, the engineering team at Meraki developed a second generation API and open source example code. The version two CMX API can be selected in the Meraki dashboard and offers X,Y coordinates and latitude and longitude values. With the first API, radio signal strength values are provided for trilateration of a devices location. Further details on what is available in the API can be found in the documentation here.
To hear more about the development of the location API, and possible uses of the source code, then you can do so by listening to the above podcast with George Bentinck (Solutions Architect) and Nathan (Member of Meraki technical staff).
If you are interested in building an application with Meraki location information, then it is worth checking out our example code on GitHub here. This provides a great way of getting started with the CMX API and can form the base of your future projects. You can try an application based on this code, with live data from the Meraki offices in San Francisco, by following this link, or by viewing example output data here.