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Achieving meaningful business outcomes by adding cisco spaces to your cisco wireless deployment, initial case study in supporting business outcomes through effective use of cisco catalyst wireless investments jul 27, 2023 • knowledge, information, part 1 - initial case study in supporting business outcomes through effective use of cisco catalyst wireless investments..

Over the years, many of us have designed, deployed, and or supported Cisco wireless networks. The primary focus of that activity has typically been centered around providing connectivity. We also consider things like security, performance, and resiliency, as we work to support the ever-evolving IEEE Standards and corresponding Wi-Fi generations. When the IEEE first ratified the original 802.11 standard in 1997, it was hard to imagine that in 2023 we would be dealing with a never ending, always evolving, tidal wave of mobile devices that support that latest standard, usually well ahead of the APs we have deployed. Many organizations have yet to move to WiFI-5 and are instead considering a jump right to Wi-Fi6 - Wi-Fi6e / 802.11ax standards. Of course, WiFi-7 802.11be is looming on the horizon. Just as the wireless standards are ever evolving, so is the job of the average network practitioners responsible for these deployments. It is no longer just about providing secure, stable connectivity, but also about how to have a direct positive impact on the business running over the network - in comes Cisco Spaces.

I have one of the coolest jobs at Cisco. I work on the Cisco Validated Framework team which is responsible for looking at what becomes possible when we combine all our technologies across the Cisco portfolio. In English, we see what it is like to deploy everything we make in real-world simulated customer environments. Yes, we have a really, big lab! We recently added Cisco Spaces to one of our case study setups that included a typical Catalyst wireless deployment. In doing so, we unlocked some cool capabilities that might directly help the business you support! We decided to write this knowledge Article / KA to share what we deployed and discovered. With that, let's dive in.

Case study starting point – Where did we begin?

A multi-site deployment connected over a Cisco SD-WAN using Internet and MPLS transports. Some sites existed within our Lab Racks in RTP, and others were actual physical sites. We need actual physical sites so we have control over the RF Environment and can move around (roam) and change the conditions within that physical space.

LANs built with Catalyst 9k Switching deployed and configured to support 802.1x, MAC Address Bypass (MAB), and Profiling leveraging Cisco Identity Services Engine / ISE. Note this case study is not using Cisco Software Defined Access / SDA in the Campus.

Cisco Wireless deployed across the sites using centralized 9800 Controllers and a mix of APs including Aironet 4800 (Wi-Fi 5) and Catalyst 9115 AX (Wi-Fi 6) equipment.

Multiple SSIDs deployed with a mix of Centralized Wireless to backhaul the user data plane traffic to the WLC, along with Flex Connect for local termination of Guest SSID at the branches to support Direct Internet Access / DIA for that segregated branch guest traffic.

Cisco DNA Center / DNAC is deployed and was used to roll out the wireless network. As part of the DNAC deployment, Floor plans have been uploaded to DNAC under the site hierarchy, and APs have been placed on the floors. Care was taken to ensure the floor dimensions and placement of the APs is represented accurately on the floor plans for the real physical sites we plan to use.

The setup provides end to end connectivity between all sites, with Macro Segmentation deployed to separate Employee and Guest connectivity.

High Level Review

To access the video, please click on the image above .


The work - What did we add or update to make it happen?

Cisco Spaces - Cisco Spaces lives in the cloud, so we 1st needed to obtain our Spaces account and licensing, then login and add the other admins on the team.

Spaces Connector - We downloaded and OVA from CCO and deployed it into our VMware hypervisor environment inside this case study setup. The spaces connector is local to the network and talks to everything inside the deployment. The connector then communicates what is needed up to the Spaces cloud. We booted up the connector and bootstrapped it. Once the VM was ready, we then added it in the Spaces cloud UI under Setup > Wireless Networks. Note that by default, there are two services running on the connector, and they will automatically be upgraded if needed when you add the connector to Spaces cloud. Other services will automatically be added later if/when needed.

WLC - The 9800 Wireless LAN Controller / WLC was added into Spaces under the Setup > Wireless Networks in the Spaces UI. Note that it is defined under the connector, so the connector needs to be setup first.

DNAC - DNAC was integrated into Cisco Spaces, allowing Spaces to pull up all the location, floor plan, and AP placement information from DNAC automatically. This information is used to populate both Map Services and Location Hierarchy in Spaces. After DNAC has been integrated with Spaces, spaces can pass the locations of all the 802.11 clients back to DNAC to be displayed on the floorplans for each floor. Note that spaces must be set as the source for location services in DNAC under design > network settings to support this. Remember - Locations and floor plans go from DNAC to Spaces, and Locations of clients goes back from Spaces to DNAC.

Bluetooth Low Energy / BLE - We were also interested in allowing spaces to track all the BLE devices. Note that in the Spaces UI, BLE is part of the IoT services, which also includes Ultra-Wideband / UWB. Although we do not have the latest APs in this case study, we do have BLE support on the APs we are using. To support BLE, we needed to get some software loaded into the IOx container in the APs where we want to track BLE devices from. We also needed to get a new software function called "IoT Wireless" deployed to the connector. This sounds complicated, but only took a few clicks in the UI and a little time to complete. We used the new “activate" function under the IoT Services -> About IoT Services section of the Spaces UI to execute this workflow. This is a modern cloud-based architecture, leveraging capabilities including Netconf-Yang, Cisco IOx containers, and Docker to seamlessly deploy and update the required software components as needed.

AT this point Spaces has visibility of all the 802.11 clients, and the BLE devices around the APs we added the IoT service on.

High level review of the work to add spaces into the environment.

High Level Review

The power of the platform – What did we gain?

On the Home Screen of the Spaces UI, there are a variety of built in applications present by default. These applications are available to show you what is possible now that you have the Spaces platform up and running. There are also links to the IoT Device Marketplace and App Center. These allow you explore what all our partners are building on top of the Spaces platform. This is a key point. There are a wide variety of Cisco Partners offering integrated solutions comprised of software and hardware like sensors or beacons. These partners are highly specialized and offer very advanced solutions in areas like Healthcare, Education, Asset Management, and Workspace Management, among others. Spaces and the underlying network infrastructure provide a common platform and data to support the Cisco and Partner applications. You can leverage your Cisco Infrastructure and deploy the required mix of apps on top of that investment to support your business needs.

In this part-1 Knowledge Article, we explored 2 built in Cisco Apps called "Detect and Locate", and "IoT Explorer". We started with Detect and Locate and confirmed that we could track the location of both the 802.11 and BLE devices. For testing we purchased a few low cost BLE Beacons that we could turn on and off. The Beacons also had iPhone apps so that we could control and independently verify what was happening with the Beacons. For this simple testing we used a Feasycom ibeacon Dialog DA14531 Ble 5.1, and a Bluecharm BC08-MultiBeacon. In the IoT Explorer App, we added the beacons as assets, and setup notification rules. In under 10 minutes, we setup a tracker to generate email notifications when a beacon arrived or departed at a location.

Overview of basic working functionality

High Level Review

Why do you care?

By adding Cisco Spaces to your existing Cisco wireless deployment, you can unlock a new set of capabilities. Positive business impact can be achieved using either internal or partner apps built on top of the Spaces platform. These apps provide the capability to track assets and collect sensor data supporting a large set of business relevant use cases. Spaces ties into Catalyst and or Meraki deployments and can also leverage sensing data from Cisco collaboration equipment.

What if I want to know more?

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to your Cisco Sales Team, or access Cisco Spaces and sign up for a 30-day free trial at . On the Cisco Validated Framework team, we are currently working on several additional related efforts. We will be publishing additional Cisco Learning Network Knowledge Articles in the coming weeks on these related topics.

Deploying a partner applications and related sensors / tracking equipment and exploring the associated use cases.

Integrating Cisco Spaces into our Meraki setup which is part of this case study environment.

Adding Cisco Collaboration Equipment to the setups and looking at the sensor and tracking capabilities it provides, and how those capabilities tie into Spaces.

Adding Meraki Sensor and Camera equipment to the setups and looking at the sensor and tracking capabilities it provides, and how those capabilities tie into Spaces.

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Cisco Blogs / Networking / See the Air You Breathe with Cisco Spaces


See the Air You Breathe with Cisco Spaces

Lucas hanson.

The wildfire smoke that blanketed much of the Northeast and Central U.S. this past summer underscores the importance of air quality in office buildings. With increased awareness about safety and well-being post-pandemic, employees want assurance that their workplaces are safe.

A study by Carbon Lighthouse found that 82 percent of millennials felt safer returning to offices with real-time indoor air quality monitoring. Luckily, today’s state-of-the-art air quality solutions allow enterprises to track and provide employees with a real-time look at indoor factors like air quality, temperature, humidity, and building occupancy. In addition to monitoring, enterprises can also enable solutions that turn their buildings into spaces that are safer, smarter, and more energy efficient.

cisco spaces case study

At most Cisco offices, employees and guests are greeted by digital signage when they walk in, showing an overview of indoor air quality, including total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), temperature and humidity, and ambient noise levels, in addition to how many people are in the building.

Given the ongoing situation with wildfire smoke, our indoor air quality monitoring solution has come as a big relief to employees, especially in our New York City offices. While much of the outdoor air remains “very unhealthy” or “hazardous,” and employees must resort to wearing N95 respirators to protect themselves when outdoors, they are reassured when they have a clear understanding of the indoor air quality.

In addition to air quality information, these interactive touch screens can also display vacant meeting rooms and amenities within the building, allowing employees to choose a room based on their comfort preferences.

Air quality readout for 9th floor of skyscraper

Air quality monitoring is not just about helping employees. Facilities teams receive real-time insights on the ambient conditions of the workplace and monitor air quality within the building, on specific floors, or even within individual rooms (displayed on a 3D map) through the Cisco Spaces web-based dashboard.

If the air quality falls outside the preset normal range, the system automatically sends out an alert to building managers so they can take necessary action. In the case of wildfires, since outdoor air is polluted, building managers can close off outdoor ventilation and improve filter efficiency. Likewise, if an indoor pollutant source is identified, they can increase outdoor ventilation by letting more fresh air in to improve air quality. Cisco Spaces also provides historical analytics on all the above, allowing for better decision-making by facilities and environmental health and sustainability teams and adherence to building certifications.

Floor plan readout for air quality sensors

Working behind the scenes to enable all of this is our robust Cisco network and collaboration hardware and a smart spaces cloud platform, Cisco Spaces.

Cisco Spaces leverages the following Cisco hardware and devices as a sensor for creating safer spaces, without the need to deploy expensive proprietary overlay solutions:

  • Cisco Catalyst 9136 Series Access Points have built-in environmental sensors
  • Cloud-managed Meraki MT indoor air quality sensors
  • Cisco Webex comes embedded with a set of environmental sensors to understand the environment workers are in
  • Cisco Spaces IoT Device Marketplace offers compatible third-party air quality, temperature, humidity, and Co2 sensors, as well as occupancy sensors

In addition to indoor air quality, Cisco Spaces enables real-time occupancy monitoring for workspaces to monitor real-time occupancy (another crucial safety metric) and sends out alerts to relevant teams when overcrowding is detected.

Indoor air quality beyond health and safety

Employees are now cautious about how much time they spend inside the office. Knowing that the air they are breathing is safe or the floor they are working on is not crowded is a welcome assurance. In addition, this data can be used for reporting to adhere to building certifications, standards, and guidelines.

Beyond health and safety, recent studies have shown that air quality can impact productivity and cognition. A study by Harvard University researchers found that increased concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and lower ventilation rates impacted employees’ cognitive function, ability to focus and overall productivity.

A European Union Commission study found that buildings contribute to 33 percent of greenhouse emissions and 40 percent of global energy consumption. Most buildings operate on set points with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and are typically programmed based on assumptions of when occupants will be in the building.

With hybrid working, predicting occupancy becomes difficult. Cisco Spaces leverages Cisco network infrastructure to provide occupancy data that can be used to optimize HVAC and lighting systems, ensuring energy is used only where and when it’s needed. Through integrations with building management systems such as Honeywell and Schneider Electric , real-time and historical indoor location data from Cisco Spaces is used to make actionable and predictive decisions that can help reduce operational costs and achieve energy and occupant-experience goals. In a study by Sensible Building Science , education customers have reduced total energy savings by up to 22 percent using occupancy data from Cisco hardware and Cisco Spaces to adjust building HVAC.

Most buildings also operate maintenance and cleaning on preset schedules. But this is not always the most efficient use of resources. With Cisco Spaces, real-time and historical occupancy data is analyzed to make informed decisions on resource allocation for cleaning, maintenance, and catering.

Smarter spaces are safer spaces

Wildfires or not, employees deserve the assurance that their workplaces are safe, and assuring them of healthy, breathable air, is an important step in that direction. Cisco Spaces is continuously evolving to predict the growing needs of hybrid workplaces and improve the workplace experience. In addition to air quality monitoring, with outcomes like improved productivity with a digital meeting room finder, occupancy-based energy management, and office space optimization, Cisco Spaces gives new meaning to the term “smart buildings.”

Want to understand and manage indoor air quality and occupancy in your buildings? Get in touch with us at


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Carhartt's Journey to Complete Observability

Cisco Full-Stack Observability creates global growth for heavy-duty apparel company

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Carhartt logo

Established in 1889, Carhartt is a family owned and managed global premium workwear brand with a rich heritage of developing rugged products for workers on and off the job.

Industry: Retail Location: Dearborn, Michigan Size: 5500 employees Website:


  • Overcoming the lack of visibility across application and network performance
  • Reducing downtime
  • Identifying and resolving root-cause issues more quickly
  • Isolating security issues that could potentially affect the entire application
  • Migrating to cloud
  • Streamlining application infrastructure to support growth


  • Cisco Full-Stack Observability
  • Cisco Customer Digital Experience Monitoring
  • Cisco AppDynamics
  • Cisco ThousandEyes


  • Full visibility into critical business applications/SAP
  • 96% of applications migrated to the cloud
  • Mean time to resolution (MTTR) reduced
  • Global growth accelerated and expanded during the pandemic
  • Increased revenue
  • More informed decision making
  • Improved customer experiences and satisfaction

To say that the product is flying off the shelves for Carhartt might be a massive understatement. "We're growing like gangbusters," says Bryan Laszlo, manager of Application Performance at Carhartt.

The apparel company has enjoyed steady growth since its inception in 1889, but according to Laszlo, "In the last seven years, we've almost tripled our growth from the first 130 years."

For Laszlo and his team, this means the traditional workday is long gone. "Our customers are shopping with us around the clock, across Europe, Asia, North America. We are truly a 24x7 company. We cannot afford downtime on our website or in our distribution center. An hour of downtime can potentially cost millions of dollars in lost revenue." 

Downtime can also severely damage brand reputation by frustrating Carhartt customers and company employees alike. Laszlo says, "If our website is slow or is not available, our customers will get frustrated. In addition, our employees don't want to deal with technology that doesn't work. Prior to implementing Cisco Full-Stack Observability, we had a very siloed approach to solving problems. We had to bring in a lot of IT people to figure out what was happening. Now our mean time to resolution has reduced dramatically. "

Customer Digital Experience Monitoring with Cisco Full-Stack Observability

Carhartt is enhancing its Full-Stack Observability capabilities with Cisco's Customer Digital Experience Monitoring and Application Dependency Monitoring solution, which offers bi-directional integration of application observability and network intelligence, providing end-to-end insights across applications and network teams and data.

The solution helped Carhartt gain a more comprehensive understanding of the health and performance of its applications and allows IT to see both the application and network performance in one place. That holistic view allows Laszlo's team to see the full picture of application health and make better, more informed decisions on how to improve it.

In fact, Laszlo is in the process of building a dedicated team to leverage the technology to identify potential issues early and take action to prevent them from affecting the user experience. He says, "We felt by building this new team that was focused on full-stack observability, we would have a direct, positive impact by reducing and even eliminating issues across our applications and network."

The result?

Carhartt can keep its applications running at their optimum best and the business operates more efficiently.

Bryan Laszlo

“ For me, it's about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. That's what this solution allows us to do. You can only do that with end-to-end visibility and Cisco Full-Stack Observability is the way to get there. ” Bryan Laszlo, Manager of Application Performance

The path to true end-to-end visibility

Carhartt has effectively employed Cisco AppDynamics for application-performance monitoring for the past five years. According to Laszlo, Cisco AppDynamics also helped his team refine and better manage its SAP implementation. He says, "Now we can not only see things like, if a CPU is spiking one day, we can figure out what transaction or what process is actually pushing the CPU up or consuming memory. Cisco AppDynamics has helped us improve performance and availability of SAP, enabling more efficient business operations."

The company wanted that same level of visibility in its network. That's why the decision was made to implement Cisco ThousandEyes. "We needed the combination of Cisco AppDynamics and Cisco ThousandEyes for true end-to-end visibility," says Laszlo. "The only way to get full-stack observability is to see everything every step of the way. So, for example, we can run an agent on the point-of-sale system at a particular store and we can see the network path that everything is going through via Cisco ThousandEyes." 

Laszlo adds, "With Cisco AppDynamics, we can see what's going on in the application, on the databases running in the cloud and then can correlate all that information. That data provides context to fine tune things, prevent issues from happening, and even get predictive about trends in capacity consumption.

"For me, it's about getting the right information to the right people at the right time. That's what this solution allows us to do. You can only do that with end-to-end visibility and Cisco Full-Stack Observability is the way to get there."

Overcoming the Black Friday/Cyber Monday dilemmas

Carhartt's investment in Cisco Full-Stack Observability has already paid big dividends. "My experience with Cisco Full-Stack Observability so far is proving that the solution really helped us gain visibility into some of our critical business transactions," says Laszlo. "For example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the busiest and most important days of the year for us and any retailer. Using AppDynamics, we were able to see orders going through the system, the monetary value each sale had, each day's hourly sales, and other key data points like these." 

He adds, "Because we know what's going on in all aspects of our business, we've already seen reduced downtimes and have been able to head off trouble before it impacts our customers."

That's good news for Carhartt and for wholesale customers that place orders and want updates on their order status.

Laszlo says, "We can't tell them the status if we don't know it ourselves. So, we have dashboards that track order management from end to end, from the time a customer places an order all the way until the order is shipped. Cisco Full-Stack Observability allows us to track everything and head off any issues. It helps us understand the context of where the problems are, the impact on our customer, and what role the network may be playing. It helps us isolate issues a lot faster."

Laszlo says, "Cisco AppDynamics has always been extremely strong in the application stack layer and continues to be that. We see that as being critical in all aspects of our business. Adding the integration with Cisco ThousandEyes provides the full-stack observability we really needed."

Painting a full-stack observability picture to secure executive support

To Laszlo, the benefits of Cisco Full-Stack Observability are very clear. For some organizations, convincing leadership to spend more money on yet another "technology tool" for visibility can be challenging. Not so, according to Laszlo, if you're able to illustrate the visibility gaps throughout your infrastructure. And that's something he did to perfection.

Prior to implementing Cisco Full-Stack Observability, root-cause analysis for application issues involved setting up war rooms with different IT folks across multiple domains. Laszlo was able to demonstrate how this lack of holistic visibility was affecting their mean time to resolution. "I simply drew a picture," says Laszlo. "I was able to show management the visibility gaps between our network, devices, the cloud, and the various systems that all come into play to support the store. I drew it out stop by stop and then put a red X everywhere we didn't have visibility at that time. The minute I showed that picture, the light bulbs went on for our leadership. They understood it and then fully supported the investment into Cisco Full-Stack Observability."

Carhartt's commitment to sustainability

For years now, Carhartt has placed a high priority on sustainability and the environment. So, it looked closely at how it could do its part, and Cisco Full-Stack Observability is playing a role.

"We have really tried to minimize the amount of paper and plastic we're using to label our products," says Laszlo. "The other thing we're doing is looking at things differently from a resource consumption point of view. We've recently undergone a major effort to better monitor variables like, how much water we can reuse and how much electricity we're using during peak times. It's not a surprise that our increased visibility is not only helping us to be good stewards of our resources but saving money as well."

What's next for Carhartt's full-stack observability journey?

As Carhartt continues to rely on Cisco Full-Stack Observability for end-to-end visibility, it's also looking into Cisco Secure Application, which protects applications at runtime, detects and blocks attacks in real-time, and simplifies the lifecycle security incidents by providing application and business context and creating a shared context across application and security teams.

For now, though, the insights gained from Cisco Full-Stack Observability will provide meaningful data that will help the company better understand and identify what's working and what's not and adjust accordingly.

"We're measuring impact," says Laszlo. "The number one way to do that is to see if we are reducing the time it takes to resolve issues. If there is an issue, we want to know if we had the visibility necessary to catch it ahead of time or if we didn't catch it, why not. Looking at the number of tickets we have, the number of outages, and the duration of those outages tell us a lot."

According to Laszlo, "We're just getting started and building our foundation. Right now, it's about gathering information and requirements, asking the business what's important, and what it wants most from our applications. We're really trying to become an enablement center. We're using Cisco Full-Stack Observability to be more proactive and to prevent things from happening altogether. That allows our team to focus on our business, not on chasing down issues all day."

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Cisco DNA Spaces is a single, scalable, reliable location platform that digitizes spaces by centralizing location services for both people and things. Join us as we take you through a dashboard demo and discuss how customers are leveraging today.

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