Facebook started testing its Wi-Fi offering last year. It's reportedly installed at over 1,000 merchants so far.
Today, Cisco announced that it has partnered with the company on it, calling the collaboration "Connected Mobile Experiences" (CMX) for Facebook Wi-Fi.
Facebook Wi-Fi lets people check in to businesses for free Wi-Fi access. Business benefits of the new initiative, as described by Cisco, include increasing brand recognition through check-ins, gaining demographic data from checked-in users, improving ad targeting and getting the latest business newsdirectly in front of customers.
Cisco's Sujai Hajela writes, "When my wife and daughter are in the mall doing some holiday shopping and walk into a store running CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi, my daughter opens a browser on her mobile device, goes to any page and is directed to a “check in with Facebook” login page. She logs in to her Facebook account, is given access to the store’s Wi-Fi network and is taken to their Facebook Page. From there she can check-in, “like” the store, use and share promotional information with her Facebook friends."
The two companies ran a pilot for the Meeting of the Minds event last month, and had tried it out at Philz Coffee in the Bay Area back in May. Bonefish Grill is currently testing it in a couple locations.
"Our partnership with Facebook is to provide a very personalized mobile experience for consumers while they shop, spend time with friends and family," says Hajela. "We will be rolling out this solution across some of the world’s top brands in retail, hospitality, and other markets."
The timeframe on that is still unclear. You can check out some FAQs here.