Cisco have upgraded the MSE code and it now has its own GUI and other features. They are really putting a lot into the MSE, so it's come a long way. Originally it was just being used as a historic database for client data displayed in Prime (and don’t forget the WiPS signatures it contained too).
It was an odd unit for Cisco, with a basic command line and a method of attaching it to Prime from within Prime.
It's really changed now and the MSE supports CMX – Connected Mobile Experiences.
Once installed, there’s a choice of a couple of licences – either the base licence or the advanced licence. Here’s the summary of the two licence types:
Base: This is required for Facebook Guest logins, indoor way-finding and on-site advertisement to mobile devices
Advanced: This is required for all CMX "Analytics" features (and allows all Base features)
CMX Base Licence
With the base licence, you can track clients – this allows you to access the historic records of where a client has been. This can be pretty useful for fault finding – you often get quite vague fault reports, and the ability to see where a client has been and how its been roaming can provide some useful insight into faults.
Another feature of the base licence is the ability to provide Facebook logins. This is a great one for the marketing department – you can make your free WiFi work for you a bit. As you get Facebook likes, the brand will pop up in your customers friends Facebook feeds, and from this point, your customers are following you. Your brand is getting exposure, and you get the chance to send customised messages to your customers.
You've got some basic analytics with the base licence, but the interesting analytics features come with the advanced licence.
CMX Advanced Licence
The Advanced Licence is all about being location aware. This means you can start tracking behaviour. People can roam around your shopping centre (or University campus, or any other location for that matter) and you can track some behaviours.
You can of course only track people when they have a WiFi probing device (note they don’t actually have to be connected – just probing the network is enough). The system can then determine number of people, average dwell time and so on – the overview dashboard is shown below.
Drilling down, the system can offer you dwell time heat maps – for example a shopping centre might want to charge more for outlets where there’s higher levels of foot traffic.
Building efficiency is another possibility with the advanced licence. Knowing how many people are using buildings, allows for the lights and heating to be tuned. Maybe some areas are underused and could have greater utilisation – or at least more efficient utilisation – knowing how and when they are actually used.