Cisco launches new mobility tools

At Interop in Las Vegas last month, Cisco Systems Inc. launched three separate groups of integrated mobility technologies and services targeted primarily at retail, health care and oil and gas businesses.

All are designed to help workers and customers communicate securely and easily as they move through a physical location.

One of the three launches, Cisco In-Store Mobility Solutions, is comprised of separate offers for In-Store Mobile Voice and In-Store Personal Shopper, a Cisco spokesman said. In-Store Mobile Voice combines Cisco Unified Communications software and a Cisco unified wireless network with a new Cisco 7921G IP Phone and related products from Cisco partners, including push-to-talk capability.

The other retail offer, In-Store Personal Shopper, combines a Cisco unified wireless network with MediaCart, an interactive shopping cart that provides a video display so that a retailer can deliver advertising, promotions, shopping lists and store navigation, said Ben Gibson, director of marketing for mobility solutions at Cisco.

The second major launch, termed Cisco Location Solution, integrates Wi-Fi chokepoint and telemetry services, RFID tags and a Wi-Fi wireless network to track valuable equipment in hospitals or other businesses. The technology also monitors the equipment for when it needs to be cleaned or serviced, Gibson said.

Tags placed on equipment will have two radios, one at 125 KHz and one at 2.4 GHz, to help keep track of the equipment as it passes through a chokepoint, which is usually a receiver that is installed in a doorway, Gibson said. Cisco is working with chokepoint suppliers AeroScout and WhereNet Corp.

The third, called Cisco First Mile Wireless, can be used in oil fields and ocean rig platforms to network maintenance sensors, mobile service workers, physical security assets and service vehicles, Gibson said. Cisco 1500 Series wireless mesh access points will have blast-proof hardened cases, while other components include Wi-Fi bridging, WiMax and even satellite connectivity, he said. Cisco did not release pricing for the new products and integrated offers.

Joe McClung, network manager at Gander Mountain, a sporting goods retailer in St. Paul, Minn., said he is eager to try out the new 7921G phone so that store personnel can walk through a show floor and find items that a customer is calling about.

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