Cisco DNA Spaces Introduction

Cisco DNA Spaces is a location aware, task management cloud-based application.

What does that mean in plain English? It can track objects and people and display the results on a web-based dashboard that's easy to use.

DNA Spaces - Blog Banner (1)

Factor in the ability to be able to undertake tasks and trigger outcomes and you have a pretty interesting product. 

DNA Spaces has a vast number of use cases, but the vertical that would get the most use is probably clinical - there are a lot of equipment, processes and people to content with in a hospital situation, which means the business ROI in deploying DNA Spaces is likely to be high.

There's a wealth of use cases outside of those I'll describe below that suit other verticals though, such as Universities, warehouses and hospitality.

DNA Spaces: What does it do?

The major question to get your head around with DNA Spaces, is what does it actually do.

The answer is a lot of things and the key point is that with a bunch of vendor applications that it can interconnect to, or work alongside, there's a huge number of productivity use cases.

Not to be confused with Cisco DNA Center (DNAC), (which is the network management application), Cisco DNA Spaces while being part of the same family, offers completely different functionality.

Firstly, some quick background on location grade Wi-Fi:

  • Hotspot Wi-Fi: Originally Wi-Fi really was deployed as a hotpot sort of technology, enabled laptops to be used away from the desk.
  • Increasing AP Density: Over the years this has been upgraded to support Wi-Fi voice, IoT devices, Bring your Own device / Guest access, BioMedical integration and a host of other services.
  • Location Awareness: One of the newer ones - using Wi-Fi to essentially triangulate (or trilaterate) to determine the location of a Wi-Fi transmitter.
  • Hyperlocation: We've deployed many Wi-Fi installations to location grade, and throw in the use of Cisco Hyperlocation and you've got a location awareness in the region of 1 - 3m.

How does this form part of what DNA Spaces does? DNA Spaces makes use of that location information and displays it on a map allowing you to use this data in a variety of ways.

DNA Spaces: How to Connect

How you connect DNA Spaces in your environment is pretty simple. DNA Spaces can connect to your network in two ways:

  • Cisco CMX: If you have Cisco CMX already installed, you can use this to connect to the cloud (and DNA Spaces)
  • Cisco DNA Spaces Connector: If you don't have CMX, or you prefer to connect via a separate means, the DNA Spaces Connector can provide a simple way to connect with a lightweight VMWare install

Either of the above methods connect you to the DNA Spaces cloud. DNA Spaces itself is licenced per Access Point (AP) and accessed via a standard web browser.

DNA Spaces Accessibility

With the ability to access via a standard web browser, once configured you have access to DNA Spaces from anywhere you need - or via any device - in your organisation.

The Cisco DNA Spaces Dashboard if your entry point into the applications you can use. Click on each of the panel icons on the screen below takes you to the applications.

You can update these via the DNA Spaces marketplace:

DNA Spaces Overview Screen

There's an app for your phone to make life a little easier too, so you can have this installed as part of your standard corporate device MDM build. Staff can access the various applications that make up DNA Spaces from the app or via a browser.

This means that nursing staff can be on the ward and access the app to locate an infusion pump while at the bedside, or a visiting patient can call up the wayfinding information to find their way to their appointment. 

Let's take a look at some of the applications.

DNA Spaces Applications

One of the really powerful aspects of DNA Spaces is that it's not actually one application 

Cisco has a good blog on DNA Spaces and Indoor IoT Services (I've borrowed a couple of the images below), which is worth a look for some background.

DNA Spaces Market Place

DNA Spaces has a marketplace.

Like many applications these days where you can plug in third party widgets and applications, DNA Spaces also offers this.

This is the really valuable business aspect - you can take whatever location systems you have and blend those in to DNA Spaces and make use of whatever existing location beacons and tags you have, right there inside the DNA Spaces application.

This means that you can make use of your Cisco Location data and the DNA Spaces front end and snap in applications.

There's quite a wide range, with a few shown below: 

DNA Spaces Partner Applications

Let's take a quick look at a couple of these (they need a blog in their own right, but a quick overview is hopefully useful):

  • Real Time Location Services (RTLS): Tracking of Wi-Fi devices and tags
  • Wayfinding: Application to guide you around a facility with way finding instructions on your device
  • Temperature Monitoring: Automated monitoring and reporting of fridges

Cisco DNA Spaces Summary

There's a lot more to explore in DNA Spaces than we have run through in this blog.

The suite of applications take your Wi-Fi network to the next level, with the use of location data, you can really start to get greater value from your Wi-Fi network, enabling time saving and efficient processes and procedures.

There's a couple of key aspects of DNA Spaces that's worth a look and will be a couple of future blogs:

  • Asset Locater: Formerly Operational Insights, this is a component to track your devices - anything with Wi-Fi built in, or you can attach a location tracking tag to
  • Internal IoT Services: Formerly BLE Manager, management for Bluetooth beacons

 

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