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Cisco 'Heats' Up Hotspots

Mari Silbey
8/23/2013
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WiFi could be big business for cable companies, but only if they learn how to monetize public hotspots effectively. To that end, Cisco Systems Inc. has introduced its WiFi analytics technology, which it showed off at the recent Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) Summer Conference.

The vendor says its Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) offering can track devices connected to a WiFi network to measure (anonymously) patterns of movement, customer dwell times, and even crowding conditions. At the CableLabs show, Cisco's CMX Analytics demo included a "heat map" of connected devices and detailed information on the local WiFi environment.

In the main conference room at the event, the CMX technology reported 845 devices connected to Cisco's wireless network, and an average dwell time of 46 minutes.

As of July, cable operators had already deployed more than 174,000 WiFi hotspots throughout the US. Our research arm, Heavy Reading, predicts that number will surpass 250,000 by the middle of 2014. At the same time, spending on WiFi hotspots in the next 10 months is expected to exceed $350 million. (See Cable WiFi on a Hot Streak.)

In order to bring in revenue from WiFi hotspots, cable operators need to understand how consumers make use of their wireless connectivity. A location analytics platform could help them decide questions such as how to price WiFi guest passes, and where to locate new hotspots for maximum revenue potential.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

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F,Alpizar
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F,Alpizar,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/26/2013 | 12:43:07 AM
Still not easy to connect...
Connecting at your provider hot spots has proven to be difficult, specially for mobile devices. Here in mexico, you actually need a pc to connect to my provider's hot spots... first you need to find the hotspot (not always as easy as it should be) then, try to log in on a flash crowded screen, that my device doen not support, and finally, remember your caps-symbol-change every 3 months password, and you're in... until your device goes to sleep and have to start all over again. I believe that is the hardest part for wifi... if it works as at home I might consider pay an additional fee for it. Also, here wifi seems to be part of the solution for the digital divide, setting up a hotspot in small towns could help low income people get internet connectivity, but again, control is more important on those low income, scarce bandwith locations.
F,Alpizar
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F,Alpizar,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/26/2013 | 12:32:50 AM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
But on most hotels, specially business class, WIFI comes with an extra charge... on the other hand, less expensive ones add free wifi as extra value. For sure, business class hotels know how to make you pay for bandwidth...
pkandel
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pkandel,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/25/2013 | 7:28:13 AM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
There are different models and reasons for providing WiFi. For some venues it is a direct revenue stream, for some it simply adds to the customer experience, for some it brings in advertising revenue through sponsorships or other deals. 

For hotels specifically, my experience is that the more expensive the hotel, the less likely it is to include WiFi. Needless to say, most hotels I stay at offer it free :). No idea if my experience is representative or just a fluke. 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/23/2013 | 5:35:49 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Free is good for me at hotels, you're already paying through the nose for a room.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/23/2013 | 5:35:46 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Free is good for me at hotels, you're already paying through the nose for a room.
desiEngineer
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desiEngineer,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/23/2013 | 2:43:46 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Agree with you on that.  I've stayed at hotels where attwifi is offered, and if the hotel wants to charge me, I just log in with my ATT ID and get free access.

I don't like ad-based connectivity services; they usually have sucky bandwidth.

-desi
Carol Wilson
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Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/23/2013 | 2:35:12 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Wow, busted on the free expectation. WiFi shouldn't be free, but if it is coming from a cable provider that already makes major bucks off me, I guess I was hoping it was a perk.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
8/23/2013 | 2:13:42 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Desi


There's no reason: It just is mostly free today.


It would be interesting to see how people would react if less free WiFi became prevelant. Not well, I'm guessing...
desiEngineer
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desiEngineer,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/23/2013 | 2:09:41 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Carol,

Just wondering why you think Wifi should be free.  I'd like my cable TV to be free (it's not as if they don't have ads for the revenue that delay my ability to see the show).  Heck, while we are at it, I'd like electricity and gas to be free.

-desi

 
Carol Wilson
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Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/23/2013 | 12:08:01 PM
Re: Hot Spot Haven
Hmm, good point - I don't want to be viewing ads, especially if they delay my ability to get at what I'm using WiFi to access. 

Given that my cable bill is through the roof, I assumed Comcast was building in the cost of this WiFi stuff but maybe they are just covering their costs for buying 145 different ESPN channels. 
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