Cisco Acquires ThinkSmart Technologies for Location Analytics

Cisco Vice President Hilton Romanski said acquisition of ThinkSmart Technologies will accelerate Cisco’s vision for mobility solutions by making it possible for customers to analyze location data from wireless networks and provide insight that can be used to drive new commercial opportunities and enhance end-user experiences.Cisco Acquires ThinkSmart Technologies for Location Analytics

Cisco has made an interesting acquisition on Wednesday (09.28.2012), 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 Technologies, based in Cork, Ireland, is a software company that delivers location data analysis using Wi-Fi technology. Cisco and ThinkSmart will enhance the wireless network by providing location intelligence and analytics to service provider and enterprise customers to know what is happening in their environments and to better engage end users.

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.

Thus also seems like a talent acquisition for Cisco as well. The ThinkSmart team has doctorate degrees with expertise in computer science, mathematics, data mining, clustering, pattern recognition, optimization, and complex event processing. ThinkSmart was initially incubated at Ireland’s University College Cork (UCC).

Cisco says that with consumers using more mobile devices, ThinkSmart’s network and Wi-Fi location analytics capabilities can help the customer Wi-Fi experience in public venues such as retail locations, hotels and airports

Cisco Acquires Wi-Fi Location Data Analytics Startup ThinkSmartThinkSmart will join Cisco’s Wireless Networking Group and will be integrated into the Cisco Mobility Services Engine. The acquisition closed in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2013.

The acquisition of ThinkSmart reinforces Cisco’s commitment to deliver an intelligent network by providing customers with enhanced tools, such as location analytics, that increase the value of the network. This aligns with the core; one of Cisco’s five foundational priorities, by providing differentiated solutions within the infrastructure of the network.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said the ThinkSmart buy is indeed a strategic acquisition for Cisco on the mobility front because traditional mobile apps are falling short of the networking promise.

“We’ve taken big applications like the Internet browser, improved the interface and made them smaller so they fit on a mobile device,” Kerravala said. “But in essence it’s the same application on a smaller device. To me an application that is uniquely mobile is one that uses the unique capabilities of the device.”

Mobile that Knows You

Kerravala offers a few examples: If you look at a subway map on your computer, it shows you the map. When you look at that same subway map on your mobile phone, it should have some knowledge of whom and where you are and tell you that the closest stop is two blocks away.

Likewise, if you are in a department store, the mobile app should know who you are, along with the type of shopping you normally do, and make recommendations. And if you are reading a text message and the car starts, the network should know and cue the mobile app to read text messages aloud.

“In order to make applications uniquely mobile, the nature of applications has to change and the things ThinkMobile do go a long way in fulfilling that vision,” Kerravala said. “Right now there’s lot of chatter about what your primary mobile device is. The mobile device won’t just be more convenient than a desktop or laptop; it will become better than that because it will have a lot more predictive abilities.”

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