Facebook and Cisco to offer free Wi-Fi

Cisco and Facebook are working in tandem to offer free public Wi-Fi in certain public places with testing already underway.

The new tie-up, announced at the Interop technology conference in New York City, will be offered in public places such as hotels and retail stores with the plan to even look at expanding to hospitals at some point in the future.

Reuters reports that CEO John Chambers explained the technology would allow a hotel visitor to sign in to Facebook and check in to a room without having to queue up at the desk to do so. When it comes to retailers he added that tailored promotions and various pieces of information could be delivered to consumers that check in to Facebook when entering a store.

Some Cisco Connected Mobile Experience Wi-Fi customers are already testing the system and it gives Cisco the chance to show off its network equipment on a wide scale.

The deal offers similar data collection advantages to one signed by Google and Starbucks earlier in the year and in Facebook’s case it gives a chance to develop ads that are even more targeted than already.

Google’s own wireless network covers around 7,000 Starbucks coffee shops across the US and, like Cisco and Facebook, it’s free of charge. That deal will also see Google work on an adapted version of the Starbucks Digital Network that is available to customers and thus gives Google the chance to advertise and promote products sold via the Play Store.

Amazon is another to have revealed plans for free wireless Internet with reports in August stating that it has started to test its own network in Cupertino, California with Globalstar. In Amazon’s case it will allow any customer with an Amazon device to connect to the Internet free of charge across the US.

Image Credit: Flickr (chriscorneschi)