Cisco has made an interesting acquisition today,announcing the purchase of ThinkSmart Technologies, a company that delivers location data analysis using Wi-Fi technology. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
ThinkSmart’s technology enhances a wireless network infrastructure with location analytics for service provider and enterprise customers. The startup’s location analytics collects information on movement within a venue including time of day, traffic patterns and dwell times. Cisco says that this information then allows enterprises and venue operators improve the customer experience by identifying appropriate staffing levels, reducing wait times, optimizing business processes, and improving customer flows.
My first reaction to this was - “Nice moves Cisco”. Cisco, popular for their networking products, has taken a giant leap into the mobile space with this solid acquisition.
I think this is uber smart for a few reasons -
Analytics is hot right now and is a solid investment (businesses will always look for good analytics) to get them started in mobile space.
The technology enables Cisco to support businesses in tracking not only physical movement of customers in stores and venue but will also support virtual movements through mobile devices. The mobile movement is obviously upon us and Cisco is taking an interesting role in the transformation.
Geo-location, geo-spatial, geo-anything seems to be the thing as consumers, workers, schools and just about everyone moves to the portable device. ‘Check-in’ social networks started the location-tracking intelligence but they rely on users voluntarily submitting their data through check-in’s.
Cisco’s new technology seems to take a more comprehensive step up with location-based data and potentially gives businesses more accurate data on consumer patterns and people movement by eliminating the need for a check-in. This will help them understand how they should be allocating resources better and, ultimately, how they can get us to buy their stuff by targeting people in certain locations and movement patterns.
I can see it now - Shopping malls could become a goldmine of information as retailers, like Old Navy, look to grab a shopper with discounts as they’re heading into a nearby competitors store.
This will be an interesting space to watch.