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