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Updated:April 30, 2019
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Increase Customer Engagement by Configuring Purple on WAP 571/571E Devices
As of software version 18.104.22.168 Cisco devices WAP571/571E now support
external captive portals. This article provides directions for configuring
the Purple platform on Cisco WAPs. (Link to Purple website) Where appropriate
article will link to Purple's site where there
is the option for deeper understanding or customization.
MAC addresses of the devices you intend to use with Purple
What is Purple?
In their own words, Purple describes itself as follows:
“Purple gives businesses a means to capture and understand their offline
world by offering a cloud-based platform that sits on top of their
existing WiFi infrastructure.” –
Purple About Us page
Purple acts as an authentication service that enables potential network
users the ability to log into the WiFi via accounts they already have.
This includes the usual social media stalwarts – Twitter, Facebook,
Instagram, etc. – or by filling out a brief form. The users gain access to
the network, exchanging data about themselves. Underscoring this service
is the idea that data holds business value. Whether the data is: profile
of likes, geo location, or other demographics - each data type can
contribute to a targeted understanding of your customers.
What is the use case? Or “Why would I use Purple?”
Offering users easy access to the internet via WiFi, users grant your
business insight into who they are. By understanding more about who your
customer is, the more you are able to tailor your subsequent messaging to
them. Otherwise known as engagement, with careful curation of the data to
provide insights, you can take steps to re-engage with your customers
while in store or after they have left. This is not simply a branding
exercise; performing actions based on insights gained can increase your
sales and customer satisfaction.
When used in conjunction with a marketing strategy, the health of your
business can see dramatic improvement. Leveraging data acts as a catalyst
for this process.
What else should I know?
Networks with one to five wireless access points are able to leverage
Purple free of charge. Above five WAPs, you must opt into the Enterprise
service tier. (More information on pricing here)
How is Purple different from what Cisco offers?
Cisco devices have the ability to offer social media logins, using their
favorite site’s credentials to gain access to your wireless network. While
WAP devices gather the status and statistics of users connecting, Cisco
does not offer the ability to turn this data into actionable business
insight without significant legwork. The distinction lies in statistics
versus analytics, from design forward, analytics are a part of a pipeline.
Using this “pipeline” enables you to understand how a customer goes from
just visiting to a repeat customer. Without direction, the pipeline is
more of a firehose.
Note: Geographic location is a requirement to use Purple.
Step 2. After entering these initial details, Purple will guide you
through a 3-part wizard to gain further detail about your business.
the social media accounts by clicking the profiles associated with your
Note: You do have the option to skip this step, but our
recommendation is to include it sooner than later.
Step 3. Now you will be able to configure which social media pages users
will be able to Like or Follow. Select the profiles by
clicking the toggles.
Step 4. The last page of the wizard will have you register your first WAP
device. Begin by clicking the Router Type drop-down box,
scrolling down to the Cisco section and selecting
AP (Mobility Express) .
Note: After selecting your Router Type, two
additional buttons will appear, View Manual Online and
Download Manual. This document, in two forms provides additional
steps you will need to perform on the WAP devices.
Step 5. Now name the access point, be descriptive so you
can later easily associate the device with a location, this is especially
important for analytics reporting.
Step 6. Enter the MAC address associated with the name
you assigned in the previous step.
Step 7. Upon your first login, a prompt appears to create a new password.
Enter and re-enter your password, then click the
Change password button.
Corralling the rest of your WAP devices
Now that you have created your account, you will need to add the rest of
the hardware. Purple categorizes hardware by Venues or
Groups, logically this makes sense as you’ll want to provide
different experiences and messaging based on the location a user is
joining the network.
Step 1. From your dashboard screen click the menu icon in
the upper left-hand corner.
Step 2. With the menu open, click
Management > Locations.
Step 3. The locations page loads with a series of 5 tabs acting as
sub-navigation options. It will default to loading the
Details page, click the Venues and Groups tab.
Step 4. Now click the Venue you created in Step 1 of the account
creation process. In our case we named the venue SMB.
Step 5. When the SMB page loads, a new series of sub-navigation menu items
loads defaulting to the Details tab. Click the
Step 6. Now click the Add hardware button in the right
side of the screen.
Step 7. Now you will be prompted to enter the details of your hardware.
Begin by naming the device, we’ve named our device
Step 8. Next click the drop-down box for Hardware type,
scroll to the Cisco section and select
AP (Mobility Express).
Step 9. Now enter the Mac address of the device you are
As noted above, but repeated here to emphasize its importance. After
selecting your Router Type, two additional buttons will appear,
View Manual Online and Download Manual. This document,
in two forms provides additional steps you will need to perform on the WAP
Kicking your Splash page template into gear
Now that your account is created, you will need to perform the following
Create and Customize your Purple Splash page
Create your user’s access journey
Add any remaining devices
The splash page acts as the “face” users will see as they begin to connect
to your WiFi network. Contained in this page will be options for
customizing a user agreement for joining or additional marketing
touchpoints that enable further engagement.
Step 1. After logging into your account, click on the menu hamburger icon
in the upper-left hand corner.
Step 2. When the menu opens, click
Onboarding > Splash pages.
Step 3. In the upper right-hand corner, click the
Create new template button.
Note: The i icon to the right of
Create new template is on most pages and can be clicked for a
tour of the features on the page the i icon is clicked.
Step 4. Purple will generate a modal window that requests several inputs.
Start by naming your template, we have named ours
Note: Make use of the Tool-tips on the right side of the
screen to understand their purpose in more detail.
Step 5. Next select the Use for your template, in our case we
have left it at the default Offline, meaning the template will display
prior to connecting.
Step 6. Now select the Ownership scope, we have selected
Step 7. Continue configuration of the template by selecting the
owner of the template, in this case it is SMB.
Step 8 Then select the type of template, either
Standard or Custom HTML. The custom HTML selection is
for advanced users who know exactly what they are looking for in a
template. We have chosen standard.
Step 9. Wrap up this section by clicking on the Create New button.
At this point, Purple will open a template editor screen. The page will
provide you a tour of the important details, if this does not begin
automatically click the i icon in the upper right hand corner. Remember to
save often while editing your splash page.
Note: The Form option contains many data types you may
ask the user to provide.
Welcome back! This page contains a wealth of options in customizing the
template to your needs. We will not review each of those here- we will
leave that to Purple, but below are some important items to consider as
Four Quick Tips on creating an effective Splash page:
Carefully consider the contents of your Splash page; it is your
opportunity to impress your customers with a cohesive introduction to
your online brand. This includes considerations like if you running a
promotion include those details to make users aware. The default
settings are quick, but customization can have more potential for
Make use of custom URLs when adding links to your splash page. For
example, a link to your website https://My-Super-Cool.com can include
additional parameters like source of the referral, in this case Purple
refers the user. Therefore, when you compile reports on website
activity, you are able to have visibility into how many website users
are arriving from the Purple portal people. Other avenues include
special offers for the user. If you would like to get started,
customizing a URL you can
use this tool from Google.
The above tips are only scratching the surface of what tools are available
to build a marketing strategy. Complexity and effectiveness of this
strategy rises with the technical marketing savvy of your strategy. For
further direction about creating a Splash page template,
see the videos
Purple’s support site here.
Crafting your user’s access journey
Now that you have created a splash page, Purple requires the
creation of an access journey. An access journey, as its name
implies defines ancillary factors your users will encounter during their
connection process. Again, there is ample room for customization and
consideration of your potential users can enable a better experience.
Step 1. Click the
menu icon in the upper left-hand corner.
Step 2. When the menu opens, click Onboarding > Access journey.
Step 3. Next click the choose… drop-down box and select
the Splash page you previously created.
Step 4. This will load a preview of your Splash page, yet you are not
required to edit from here. To proceed, select Custom Terms.
Step 5. (Optional) If you would like to write a custom terms and
conditions, do so by clicking the
Enable custom terms toggle button
Step 6. (Optional)Enter the Name, the hyperlink or Link text to show
users, the version number and the contents of your custom terms and
Best Practice: As a part of the copy, you write for these
custom terms, inform users they will be exchanging details about
themselves for internet access. Informed consent allows users to be aware
of the value exchange and prevents PR issues.
Step 7. Otherwise, click on the Options tab.
Step 8. By default, some options are pre-selected, again consider the
needs and strategy of your business when selecting among these options.
Note: Make use of the tooltips marked with a ? to learn
more detail about these options.
Step 9. When satisfied click Save and then
Step 10. After you click Publish, a modal window will appear asking where
to apply the splash page and access journey. Click the
Select an option drop-down box and then select A Venue.
Note: You do have the option of applying the
splash page and access journey to a specific piece of
Step 11. An additional field will appear asking you to select the
location; we have chosen the SMB location.
Step 12. Complete the setup by clicking the
Configuring the Wireless Access Point
Now the “face” of your network is ready for its close-up, we will setup
the WAP device.
Step 1. After logging into your device, click
Access Control > Guest Access.
Step 2. Click the plus icon.
Step 3. Name the Guest Access Instance table, we have
named ours PurpleTest.
Step 4. Click the protocol drop-down box and select
Step 5. Next click the Authentication Method drop-down box and select
External Captive Portal.
Step 6. Now we will edit the details of the external captive portal, do
this by clicking the eye icon, which will spawn a modal
Step 7. Some of the fields are pre-populated by the WAP device depending
on your running configuration. However, you will need to add the URL of
your Splash page from Purple.
Note: There are three regions servicing the Purple
service as of publishing this article. One is for the Americas, two is
Europe and region 3 is for Asia-Pacific.
Step 8. In order for the social logins to redirect the authentication
requests, the WAP needs your guidance on which URLs to expect. Enter the
URLs, separated by commas. More on which URLS below.
Note: The last URL listed in the Walled Garden field does
not require a comma.