Cisco, Facebook Target Local Businesses With Wi-Fi Check-Ins

What do you get when you cross Cisco's mobile networking with Facebook's social networking? A collaboration that aims to drive brand recognition and target promotions based on customer preferences and demographics using Wi-Fi.

The Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) with Facebook Wi-Fi is now in pilot mode. Some of the world's most popular retailers, hotels, restaurants and other public gathering spots are testing the concept.

"Guest access provisioning for most companies is a brutally difficult thing. First-time users have to set up a name and password. Among a lot of demographics, Facebook has become the de facto authentication method," Zeus Kerravala, a principal analyst at ZK Research, told us. "Once you have the person's Facebook ID you can do cool things like redirect them to the company's Facebook page. So this make a lot of sense."

Improving the Customer Experience

CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi promises to help improve the consumer experience and offer a faster way for consumers to access Wi-Fi by checking in on Facebook. It also promises businesses more opportunities to connect with their customers. For example, the solution helps businesses generate more likes and check-ins for their Facebook Pages, increasing the demographic data on their customers so they can better serve them.

Here's how it works: A consumers connects to the network of a participating businesses, open a browser on any mobile device or laptop, and a Facebook check-in page appears. After checking in, the consumer is directed to the business' Facebook Page, where he can receive the latest information about the venue.

Facebook provides aggregated anonymous insights about people's activity on their Pages, including demographics such as age, gender and city. Businesses can analyze this data to better understand their customers' preferences and deliver targeted promotions. The companies said driving more check-ins through Facebook Wi-Fi will also increase a business' brand...

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