Cisco Meraki, which offers cloud-managed networking solutions, announced a partnership with Facebook last week to include Facebook Wi-Fi in its new Presence platform for businesses to gather location analytics and promote engagement among visitors.
Facebook Wi-Fi is a service that allows businesses to offer customers free Wi-Fi after checking in on the social network. It began as a hackathon project a year ago and gradually rolled out as a local experiment with a few businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now it’s a full-fledged commercial product thanks to the Meraki partnership.
The integration with Presence gives business owners access to Facebook page insights with aggregate demographic information about the customers who check in. The check-in also results in increased exposure for the business and leads users to a business’ Facebook page, which could lead to more Likes or interactions. It could be a useful feature for local businesses, retail locations, the hospitality industry or large events and conferences, which want to learn more about their visitors and generate word of mouth.
For now, Facebook Wi-Fi is only available to businesses through Meraki wireless products. The Presence platform, which includes other real-time location analytics and an API to connect with CRM systems, is included free with the Cisco Meraki Wireless LAN. Meraki says configuring Wi-Fi with Facebook login only requires two clicks in the Meraki dashboard.
Businesses also have the option to allow users to skip the check-in step if they don’t want to share their location on Facebook.