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Cisco DNA Spaces Solution Overview

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Updated:October 30, 2019

Available Languages

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  • PDF
    (1.2 MB)
    View with Adobe Reader on a variety of devices
Updated:October 30, 2019


Whatever your industry, Cisco DNA Spaces can provide incremental value through existing wireless investments.


Cisco DNA Spaces helps to resolve the physical-space blind spot so you can better understand the behavior and location of people (visitors, employees) and things (assets, sensors). This cloud-based platform, which is compatible across Cisco Aironet and Meraki wireless access points, lets your enterprise see what's happening at its properties, act on these insights and extend platform capabilities via integrations and partner applications.

With Cisco DNA Spaces, you can now extract even more value from your Cisco wireless technology investments. Equally important, this value extraction is tied directly to your enterprise's critical operations. Cisco DNA Spaces enables you to understand how people and things are behaving in your spaces. The benefits are huge. Imagine:

     In retail, being able to better measure the performance of marketing campaigns by looking at increases in dwell times or frequency of visits

     In hospitality, understanding historical density of guests in hotels to better predict employee staffing needs

     In stadiums, knowing which attendees are season-ticket holders or getting information to build a targeted upsell campaign

     In healthcare, monitoring refrigeration temperatures to ensure that critical levels are not breached

     In the carpeted enterprise, understanding spatial utilization and occupancy of meeting rooms

These use cases and many more move Cisco and the partner ecosystem closer to the critical business operations of the enterprise, opening significant new opportunities to realize business outcomes.


Figure 1.           

The Cisco DNA Spaces dashboard offers a single pane of glass for all location-based services. It also provides different views based on types of users and their permissions—such as for executives, property managers, and others.


     Simplification: A single, unified platform for accessing location products and apps and for normalizing data to create meaningful insights

     Cloud first, scalable: A cloud-first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) approach that enables presence and location connection to the cloud across the entire installed base

     Standardization: Compatibility and interoperability across all Cisco wireless—Aironet, Cisco Catalyst, and Meraki

     Support: 24x7 monitoring and Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) for end-to-end reliability

     Low touch: No need to upgrade your underlying network infrastructure to activate service

Business value

Line of business:

     Understand visitor behavior

     Curate better experiences

     Improve customer acquisition and loyalty

     Boost satisfaction


     Optimize operations

     Increase employee productivity

     Drive greater efficiency

     Reduce manual processes and costs


     Enable enterprise integrations and data export

     Gain centralized management

     Data privacy and compliance

     Provide reliable, end-to-end monitoring and SLAs

     Boost IT productivity

Key features

Cisco DNA Spaces takes the wireless network beyond connectivity to drive digitization in three easy steps: See, act, and extend. Now you can see what's happening at your properties, act on this knowledge through digitization toolkits, and extend platform capabilities by leveraging a partner app ecosystem.

Location hierarchy

The location-hierarchy capability enables you to manage and group locations based on business taxonomy. What we're doing is translating the IT backbone you already have (your wireless access points) into business context and nomenclature to create a centralized management view across all locations. You can group locations by geography, state, brand, type of store, zone, and more.

Behavior metrics

Measure visitor behavior throughout one or more properties. With this set of metrics, you can gain understanding, for example, of how behavior trends change from month to month, how subsequent visits affect dwell times, and how visits are affected by external events. Example metrics include visit duration, visit frequency, visit distribution, and impact analysis.


Figure 2.           

Behavior metrics


Benchmark and compare your property's performance to gain valuable context. You can benchmark against your industry (such as retail or hospitality), your organization (historical data). This feature allows you to tag and filter locations based on parameters and categories relevant to your business, so you can choose which locations to show for benchmarking.

The visit-duration benchmarking across key locations show the top- and bottom-performing locations.


Figure 3.           

Industry and Organization Benchmarks for the visit-duration and visit frequency metrics

Right-now metrics

Right-now data shows active visitors currently at a location, also providing a view into demographics.


Figure 4.           

Right-now metrics

Captive portals

The captive portal is the first touchpoint with your business for customers on Wi-Fi. It is an opportunity to engage with customers who connect to Wi-Fi, provide relevant information, drive monetization, and potentially acquire customer information.

Captive Portals enable businesses to choose from multiple authentication mechanisms (such as phone number, email, social, and acceptance of terms and conditions) and to deliver targeted experiences based on business rules (who, what, when, where, and so on). For example, the captive portal can recognize repeat visitors by name and deliver customized offers (such as for exclusive savings or bonus loyalty points on a visitor's fifth visit).


Figure 5.           

A captive portal can be personalized based on location (such as by region, state, etc.) and visitor behavior

Captive-portal reports

Captive-portal reports provide insights on the unique customers newly identified from the selected location during the specified period, and the data (personal and demographic) collected from the identified customers. Example metrics include number of impressions, menu clicks, opt-in rate, and data capture.


Figure 6.           

Captive-portal report showing the number of customers logging in and how many have opted in and completed data capture

Location personas

Cisco DNA Spaces enables you to profile and segment users based on at-location behavior. You can identify key segments and personas and get a detailed picture of their behavior at your location. This information enables you to deliver relevant engagements based on personas. The types of location personas will depend on your industry. Location personas we've seen are repeat visitor, cross-property visitor, loyalty member, high dweller, season-ticket holder, and more.


With Cisco DNA Spaces engagements, you can leverage the right channels at the right time and place. Trigger contextual multichannel engagements based on the behavior of visitors. Multichannel-engagement capabilities include SMS, email, and app push notifications. Notify staff in real time of a visitor's presence through API triggers and WebEx Teams notifications to deliver a differentiated experience. Integrate with back-end systems and workflows such as marketing cloud, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Property Management Systems, and associate notification systems.

The engagement reports show how many engagements were successfully delivered to your visitors based on the rule configured. The total number of engagements is further broken down by channel (SMS, email, in-app notifications) to help identify the most- and least-used channels.


Figure 7.           

Engagement-rule report

Operational insights

Through operational insights, you can identify and monitor assets, detect anomalies, optimize operations and response times through alerts, and integrate with enterprise systems.


Figure 8.           

Asset tracking in operational insights

Detect and locate

This feature enables you to view and locate devices onsite. Cisco DNA Spaces provides access to client history and APIs to access both real-time and historical data.


Figure 9.           

Example of detect and locate on the dashboard

Extend platform capabilities and drive business outcomes

App Center

     Instantaneous activation of partner apps

     Apps for various industry specific use cases

     Monitoring and support of partner apps

     More user control over the apps

Cisco DNA Spaces Firehose API

     Cloud-native, high-performance streaming API

     Uniform access across multiple technology types (such as Wi-Fi and video)

     API monitoring and support

     Machine learning algorithms to auto categorize customers, employees, transients, etc.

Enterprise integrations

     Native integrations into enterprise software

     Monitoring and support by Cisco DNA Spaces

     Highly scalable and resilient connector

Internal Cisco Integrations


     Integration with collaboration endpoints and other Cisco technologies

Use cases

Table 1.             Key Cisco DNA Spaces industry-specific use cases


Use Case


  Onboard and acquire customers and loyalty members, expand customer base
  Offer a differentiated experience based on location and persona
  Understand in-store shopper behavior
  Understand peak times, benchmark performance, and measure impact of events
  Integrate with enterprise systems and unlock data to drive outcomes from external systems


  Understand on-property guest and visitor behavior
  Enable loyalty sign-ups; co-branded marketing engagements, such as credit-card sign-ups; and elite-member differentiation
  Differentiate guest experience based on brand and guest behavior types
  Explore new monetization avenues from food and beverage (F and B), convention centers, and others
  Integrate with enterprise systems, and unlock data to drive outcomes from external systems

Carpeted enterprises

  Visualize conference room availability and utilization, and navigate to nearby rooms
  Identify employee behavior that affects performance, satisfaction, and attrition
  Deliver contextual notifications to employees based on location and behavior
  Optimize space utilization and occupancy with actionable insights. Correlate with energy, F and B, and others.
  Onboard workspace visitors and guests to Wi-Fi
  Integrate with enterprise systems (such as BMS, HRMS, and HVAC), and unlock data to drive outcomes from external systems


  Asset tracking and management: Locate key assets to help reduce costs and save time. Monitor temperature
  Panic button for staff safety and infant and patient protection
  Gain insights into patient and visitor behavior. Benchmark behavior across locations
  Onboard visitors to Wi-Fi
  Provide relevant location context to new or existing visitors and staff based on location and behavior
  Integrate with enterprise systems, and unlock data to drive outcomes from external systems


  Understand employee behavior that affects performance and satisfaction
  Optimize space utilization with actionable insights
  Perform asset tracking and management
  Panic button for staff safety
  Onboard visitors to Wi-Fi
  Deliver contextual notifications to employees based on location and behavior


  Gain insights into time spent on campus by building
  Use smart captive portals for guests, students, event/venue attendees, and others
  Trigger contextual engagements at on-campus venues, based on location and behavior
  Navigate and find available rooms
  Integrate with enterprise systems, and unlock data to drive outcomes from external systems\
  Automated attendance tracking

Customer testimonials




Call to action

If you're ready to get more from your Wi-Fi, contact dnaspaces-sales@cisco.com.

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