So I’m walking through a local mall and I fire up my Motorola smartphone to check my email.

Blank. What? No Internet access from mire wireless provider? No, the mall’s Wi-Fi network has overridden my browser/Internet access through the carrier and tells me: Log in to the mall network, get free access after I agree to the acceptable use policy.

So then I walk into another premises and – bam! – that company’s Wi-Fi trumps the mall service. And before accessing it, I have to agree to acceptable use policy AGAIN!

ARRGH! I want my phone back.

Now comes news that Cisco and Facebook are partnering up to target mall shoppers with a Wi-Fi plan that focuses on location-based shopping. Cisco sees mobile as a huge marketing opportunity. (See the graphic with this post.) And Facebook is finding success in mobile sales.

Now these giants are coming after YOU as you shop.


IBM just this week announced plans to buy firms focused on mobile data and analytics. Oracle scooped up Tekelec earlier this year for its mobile data proficiency.

The giants are all coming after you, shoppers.

So the mall Wi-Fi controls my phone and as I happen to walk past a toy store or a clothing store or some vendor selling nuts I’m going to get an ad.

Well, I say NUTS to that.

So why are Facebook and Cisco doing this? To sell ads and services, of course.

Sujai Hajela, vice president and general manager, of the Cisco Enterprise Networks Group,described the strategy bin a blog:

“Thanksgiving is around the corner and the holiday season will be upon us. What will Black Friday look like this year? I know that this is a time when things get more chaotic in my household. As my kids get excited for a break from school, and we all look forward to extended time with family and friends, we must first get through all the holiday preparations and planning. Am I better off ordering gifts for my wife and kids online versus going to the store?

“Do I want to deal with crowds and getting lost in a retail haze on Black Friday or Christmas Eve? And where will we spend our holiday vacation this year? Will we have access to Wi-Fi wherever we go should I need to check email, or so my kids can watch their favorite shows on Netflix?

“This also got me thinking about the questions that keep businesses up at night during the holiday season. These include:

  • “How can I have a one-to-one engagement with every customer or guest?
  • “How can I get more customers into my venue?
  • “How can I avoid showrooming?
  • “How can I efficiently use my physical assets and human resources to ensure my venue is set up to maximize customer flow and staffing?
  • “How can I stand out from the crowd and compete with rival brands?
  • “And advertisements – how can I make them specific to the consumer in my venue rather than generic for many?”

To capitalize on the opportunity as Cisco sees it, the tech giant is in Hajela’s words, teamed up “with Facebook to enable businesses to turn their challenges into opportunities. We’ve looked at how consumers can have a more connected experience while in business venues and at the same time how the business can improve the engagement with consumers while they are in the venue. We want to make this year’s holiday season more pleasant for everyone.”

Sorry, Cisco.

This kind of intrusive advertising isn’t going to make my shopping experience “more pleasant.”

I’ll just turn my phone off – and turn it back on when I’m outside of mall Wi-Fi range.

But you know what will happen next. My wireless carrier will then target me.