For the 119th U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach, Cisco delivered the most connected U.S. Open in history. With over 200,000 expected in attendance, the USGA wanted to provide new ways for fans to consume and share content, both on-site and around the world. As 156 golfers and hundreds of thousands of fans walked the course, Meraki provided first of its kind, course-wide Wi-Fi. This included wireless for indoor, outdoor, and the first-ever test of Wi-Fi 6 access points at a major sporting event.
“For the first time ever, thanks to Cisco, we had the confidence that our fans would be able to stay connected to all the action inside the ropes and with friends and family back home no matter where they went on the course.” – Amanda Weiner, Senior Director, Digital Media, USGA
Hundreds of access points were deployed in a matter of days to blanket an ultra high density environment, and close to 39TB of internet traffic was transferred during the event. 70,000 unique clients roamed across the four-mile long Pebble Beach course, during a nationally televised event with 32 million people watching.
While Meraki Access Points are deployed in stadiums, golf courses add several unique challenges. These include the size of the course, weather conditions, and variability of Wi-Fi hot zones. Physical mounting, directional antennas, and RF settings must be configured to ensure a seamless fan experience. In addition, high-density areas like the media center and U.S. Open merchandise tent needed to be carefully planned to ensure high performance. The onsite media center at the course required connectivity for over 2,000 daily unique clients.
With Meraki Wi-Fi as the first point of network access across the course, we were able to introduce a number of innovative features within our U.S. Open App and video boards to enhance the fan experience.” – Amanda Weiner, Senior Director, Digital Media, USGA
The visibility of the Meraki dashboard and simplicity of configuring Wi-Fi was critical in delivering the connected course. The team was able to detect hot zones, deploy and tune the entire network in under a week. New Wi-Fi 6 APs were installed to allow the high density merchandise pavilion on the course to transfer close to 3TB of data. To learn more, take a look at the on-demand webinar to understand their technology strategy, and learn how the Meraki Wi-Fi network helped deliver a connected fan experience. Watch now
Most IT teams are familiar with the extensive work that goes into deploying a fast wireless network. Wireless networks are designed using dedicated design software solutions. Once a design is complete, all of the locations of access points (APs) within a facility are finalized and provided to installers via a detailed CAD drawing.
Traditionally, if IT teams needed to know where each AP was located post-installation, they would have to refer to either the design document or the AutoCAD file. Cisco Meraki changed all this with Maps & floor plans, which allowed IT admins map Meraki APs on a floor map.
Today, we’re pleased to launchMaps & floor plans 2.0, which now lets IT teams map all Meraki hardware products — not just APs — onto a floor plan. With this newly launched functionality, IT admins can take advantage of a plethora of great functionality:
Network-wide floor plans: You can now access Maps & floor plans from the Network-wide menu. This lets you visualize Meraki MR, MS, MX, and MV devices throughout your deployment and easily navigate between all floors in your network location.
Client Location: Once APs are mapped on floor plans, the locations of client devices are automatically provided on the client page using the Location Analytics feature built into Meraki APs. Customers can use this information to easily identify the location of a device without needing any specific information from the user. One common example is to locate devices within a facility.
Location Heatmap: This feature has been used to analyze foot traffic trends within a facility. This proves useful in retail environments to gauge where customers are spending most of their time. For non-retail applications, knowing areas with high foot traffic can help someone identify any potential capacity issues for wireless performance.
Radio Settings: To evaluate performance issues on a wireless network, network admins might first take a look at the wireless spectrum and ensure there is no interference from a neighboring AP. To check co-channel interference, they might then check the channel distribution for the APs. Using the maps component available in Radio Settings, customers can easily check channel distribution and identify any potential issues with co-channel interference.
Now that you have the ability to map everything in one place, customers no longer have to go back and forth between the Meraki dashboard and design/CAD documents to locate APs. Additionally, customers can go to the page for a particular device directly from the map, thereby avoiding the need to hunt for the device within dashboard.
Using this new capability, a customer can now:
Use the topology feature to identify an issue with a particular device within a network and then use floor plans to identify the location of the device within a facility.
Easily jump to any device within the network without having to start from the AP when troubleshooting issues.
Quickly locate devices within a facility in case of any intrusion and make changes as needed.
Use location-based APIs with greater accuracy.
To try these new features out for yourself, log in to the Meraki dashboard and navigate to Network-wide > Monitor > Maps & floor plans or refer to our documentation here. Not a customer yet? Try Meraki out for yourself!
The competition between brick-and-mortar shops and ecommerce retailers has never been fiercer. And to many observers, leading ecommerce companies like Amazon seem to have the upper hand: according to PwC, online retail sales grew over 10% in 2016, compared to just 1.4% for brick-and-mortar retail. But traditional retailers have a trick up their sleeve: experiential shopping, which turns physical shopping into an engaging experience that no online retailer can come close to emulating.
One of the best ways brick-and-mortar retailers can deliver a personalized, high-impact customer experience is through location analytics technologies. Retailers now have the power to combine Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and the Wi-Fi signals emanating from shoppers’ smartphones to understand customer behavior patterns, like where they are in the store and how long they’ve been there, and shape the shopping experience around these customers’ needs.
Here are just a few ways brick-and-mortar retailers can take advantage of location analytics to boost customer engagement.
1. Grab shoppers’ attention at just the right moment.
Remember those old coupon dispensers (affectionately referred to as “Blinkies”) that were in every aisle of most grocery stores in the ‘90s? Location analytics allows retailers of all types, grocery or otherwise, to grab shoppers’ attention just like these coupon dispensers once did.
Retailers that offer free guest Wi-Fi with BLE-enabled access points can push relevant display ads, notifications, and targeted coupons to customers’ smartphones at the right place and at the right time. For example, if a shopper has been lingering in the lipstick aisle of a beauty store, the retailer can push a “50% off the second lipstick” promotional coupon right to her smartphone, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.
It’s a win-win: the customer feels like she’s gotten something relevant and valuable, while the retailer can make more sales. Location analytics makes this all possible.
2. Optimize store layout in line with foot traffic trends.
Most retailers pay close attention to sales per square foot as a metric for how well they’re doing. Ensuring the layout of a store conforms to shoppers’ needs and expectations is key to maximizing this metric. However, for many retailers, store layout has often been more of an art than a science: what “feels right” over what actually is right. Location analytics changes the equation. Now shop owners can know precisely where shoppers are within the store and use this knowledge to put merchandise or in-store displays in the right place to maximize product exploration and purchase likelihood.
It all happens like magic: shoppers’ smartphones that have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled automatically send out probes and beacons that can communicate with access points and Bluetooth sensors. Through various mechanisms, these sensors can triangulate shoppers’ locations within the store. Over time, store owners can see a visual map of where customers are (and aren’t) going within the store.
A location heat map, with foot traffic and Wi-Fi access points mapped.
Interestingly, grocery stores have designed their store layouts in a very specific way to increase how long shoppers spend in-store, as well as average basket size. Location analytics lets businesses of all types do this in a data-driven manner. As an example, a home improvement store like Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) could glean information from location heat maps that customers don’t linger near the paint section for long. The store owner could then decide to locate the paint near a more heavily trafficked area — say, the hardware area — or to increase the visibility of signage pointing to the paint aisle.
3. Always put the best message out there.
The era of mass advertising has largely given way to more targeted, personalized messaging appropriate for consumers at different stages of their buying journey and with different needs. It’s imperative that retailers adapt to this new reality — that they learn more about their customers in order to specifically tailor messages for their audiences. Location analytics can help by tracking customer behavior both inside and outside the store.
In-store, location-based data can be used to track how often customers visit (and return) to stores, and for how long. Imagine how valuable it would be to know not only when people visit — information that’s available simply through observation — but also why they’re coming back (is a new promotion working?), how often they come back (are these frequent shoppers or sporadic visitors?) and how long they linger inside the store. Once customers connect to the store’s Wi-Fi network, stores can track visitors each time they come back. This information can be linked to loyalty programs to provide even deeper insight into customers’ behavior.
Even when customers aren’t in the store, companies that utilize Facebook login as an authentication tool can get a host of anonymized customer demographic information, such as age, gender, education, workplace, and more. This information can automatically be aggregated and organized to give store owners valuable insight into who their customers are.
Brick-and-mortar stores can and should leverage every resource possible to create personalized customer experiences. Location analytics can help physical retailers learn more about their customers, just like their online counterparts, thereby making the physical shopping experience more engaging and high-touch.
All Cisco Meraki access points come with integrated BLE radios. Combined with the location analytics capabilities built into the Meraki dashboard, retailers that deploy Meraki in-store can learn more about their customers and use this knowledge to elevate the shopping experience.
To learn more about how Meraki location analytics can help boost your customer engagement and sales, download the solution guide, Location Analytics for Retailers.
If you noticed a new tab that says “Analytics” pop up in your Cisco Meraki MV dashboard last week, you weren’t dreaming. MV has officially taken its first step into the video analytics world.
Specifically, the MV team is delighted to announce the launch of heat maps, which will give customers valuable insights into customer behavior, school safety, and more. Staying true to one of the team’s core principles which drive product decision making—business value through intelligence—developing heat maps is just the first step in delivering advanced analytics tools to our customers.
Heat maps show an overview of the last week’s worth of motion data, on a per-day basis, giving insight into how a space is being used by students—are they using the playground equipment on the weekends?—or how customers are moving through a retail store location.
Most importantly, as with all Meraki products, cloud management means that every existing MV user will now automatically have this heat map tool available to them (as a public beta): no software installation, payments, or configuration required. Simply log in to your dashboard account to try it out for yourself.