Cisco to acquire cloud-based WiFi analytics provider July Systems
Cisco Systems Inc. wants to turn companies’ wireless networking gear into a customer analytics tool.
To that end, the company today announced plans to acquire July Systems Inc., a Burlingame, California-based cloud computing specialist. The firm offers a platform called Proximity MX that can shed light on visitor behavior in indoor locations such as stores, hotels and convention centers by analyzing how users interact with WiFi hotspots.
The offering places a particular emphasis on providing a better view of repeat visitors. Proximity MX can generate what July Systems calls a “location persona” for each user that contains data about their activity habits. The WiFi usage of, say, a hotel patron might reveal that they usually access the wireless network from the lounge and tend to stay on weekends.
Companies can use the data from Proximity MX to tailor their marketing campaigns for customers’ preferences. A hotel chain might create special promotions for guests who check in on weekends, while a retailer could implement a similar targeted approach to better engage shoppers.
Wi-Fi usage statistics can potentially also provide new insights into a company’s business operations. If shoppers in a store spend an unusually large amount of time browsing the web at one particular section, it could mean they may have doubts about the prices and are checking out competitors’ online catalogs.
Cisco has been offering Proximity MX to enterprise customers for several years now through a reseller agreement with July Systems. Following the acquisition, it will fold the firm into its Enterprise Networking Group.
Proxmity MX should complement Cisco’s Meraki line of cloud-controlled Wi-Fi products. By adding analytics into the mix, the company could enable enterprise customers to get more value out of its networking gear and thus potentially gain a competitive edge.
“With standardization and robust location context, we see an exciting partner ecosystem that will provide increased customer insights, exceptional visitor and guest engagement programs and ultimately drive more revenue for all stakeholders,” Rob Salvagno, Cisco’s vice president of corporate business development, wrote in a blog post.
The company expects to wrap up the acquisition in the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year, which ends Oct. 28. Cisco didn’t disclose the value of the deal.
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