CHICAGO -- Cisco Systems Inc.'s Chicago office may not be as big as its headquarters on the West coast, but the networking giant's customer briefing center showcases the best the company has to offer, or connects you via its own products for a virtual demonstration.
Light Reading was given the grand tour and managed to snap a few pics. Click on the image below to launch a short slide of our visit to Cisco just outside the city in Rosemont, Ill.
Small Cells, Big Plans
Cisco is active in many different areas in the communications space -- telepresence, routers, optical networking, security, servers, VoIP, to name a few -- but we were on site to chat with Partho Mishra, VP and GM of Cisco's small cell technology group. Small cells are a relatively new area for the company, but one for which it has high hopes. (See Cisco: Multimode Small Cells Coming Early 2014 and SpiderCloud: Cisco 'Naοve' on Small Cells.)
The area that Mishra spoke about with the most excitement was the potential to monetize small cell investments through apps that rely on the mini base stations. Namely, Cisco wants to help operators track what users are doing in an indoor environment, such as a mall, and use that information to target them with real-time offers.
"We're trying to make sure the infrastructure layer is created so apps are built on top of it," Mishra explained.
It's not a new idea -- it's been in development for years, in fact -- but Mishra said small cells are making such things possible in a new way since they can pinpoint consumers' location with precision. The key breakthrough, he said, is network intelligence -- the ability to capture data, feed it back in real-time, and close the loop in 30 seconds to a minute. Cisco provides the infrastructure to do so and partners with companies to add in the real-time analysis and recommendations.
"If you optimize ads for user behavior, there is a big ROI," he said. "In real-time, it's serving up ads to end users and measuring their buying behavior. If you're able to make use of knowledge of user preferences and location and serve up information that's useful, it gives the service providers a way to make money."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading