The Benefits of Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi

According to IDC, the Cloud-managed Wi-Fi sector continues to grow at double-digit rates year-over-year, making it the fastest growing segment of the Wi-Fi infrastructure market. As Petr Jirovsky, research manager, IDC Networking Trackers notes, WLAN is already a fairly mature market in the U.S. However, many regions around the world are expected to increase their investment in wireless technology. This trend will help accelerate growth in the broader worldwide market. In addition, the advent of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is expected to prompt a new wave of refresh cycles for enterprises.

Cloud Wi-Fi

As IDC notes, more organizations are seeking cloud WLAN management solutions for their distributed Wi-Fi sites due to its many advantages, including faster scalability, ease of management and a pay-as-you-grow subscription model. From our perspective, Cloud-managed Wi-Fi also enables the rapid rollout and support of advanced services across a range of verticals including hospitality, brick-and-mortar retailers and assisted living facilities. Let’s take a closer look at some of these concepts below.

Management & Deployment

Cloud-managed Wi-Fi simplifies the deployment and management of Wi-Fi networks by eliminating the need for on-premises controllers. With Cloud-managed Wi-Fi, even small IT departments can remotely and easily add new users and wireless access points (APs), administer guest networks and even manage entire Wi-Fi-enabled buildings and campuses. Ruckus’ Cloud Wi-Fi, for example, can be accessed via an intuitive web interface or full-featured mobile app for anywhere, anytime network management and monitoring. Administrators can also use Cloud Wi-Fi default settings or customize network configurations to optimize RF resources. This includes rate limiting at the SSID, AP or client level, setting a maximum number of clients connected to a single AP, as well as manual channel selection.

Brick-and-mortar retailers

Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can help retailers more easily capture detailed in-store analytics by tracking foot traffic and generating shopper heat maps, as well as recording dwell time in a specific aisle and confirming what items were removed or returned (smart shelving). Combined with purchase history and a record of customer preferences, this Wi-Fi-generated data can help retailers push truly personalized offers, solicit feedback via surveys and support proximity marketing campaigns on branded store apps. Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can also power wayfinding apps that include detailed in-store maps, as well as pinpointed customer and product location, pricing and status. In addition, Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can help brick-and-mortar stores eliminate lines by serving customers with mobile roving check out devices.

Hospitality

Fast and ubiquitous Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can help hotels support a wide range of hospitality applications including security and safety systems, individually worn panic buttons (as part of the 5-Star Promise), as well as smart devices and utilities such as connected locks, HVAC, lighting, water and power. Moreover, Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can help enhance the overall guest experience, starting with no-wait check-in and continuing with personalized Wi-Fi connectivity, wayfinding and Wi-Fi tagged room service trays that are promptly removed after a meal (rather than languishing in a hallway for days).

Assisted living

Residents of retirement and nursing homes often wear Wi-Fi-enabled pendants or buttons that alert staff of any health or safety issues. As such, Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can help support call assistance, the pinpointing of precise resident location (wander management) and the rapid transmission of health data, such as heart rate, pulse or falls alerts.

Conclusion

Cloud-managed Wi-Fi – which simplifies the deployment and management of Wi-Fi networks – is more scalable than on-premises controllers and can be implemented as a pay-as-you-grow subscription model. Cloud-managed Wi-Fi can also help retailers more easily capture detailed analytics, support a wide range of hospitality applications and enable real-time monitoring of critical health data in retirement and nursing homes. 

Bart Giordano
Bart Giordano

SVP, WW Sales at Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS Company

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