Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Diversifying digital: we chat with Omnifi

February 25, 2015

Last week I sat down with Simon Liss, Head of Innovation at Omnifi to chat all things digital and find out more about the company’s involvement in Cisco’s Connected Transport Challenge.

AT: So what does Omnifi do?

SL: We’re an eight-person, in situ digital innovation agency – but we’re not about building standard apps or websites. We tackle how digital is used inside spaces, and work on the notion that when someone is using their smartphone inside a shop, they have a different set of drivers and needs than if they’re using it at home or on the street. That means that businesses need to offer different content, so we work with retailers and leisure operations to re-think how digital works in situ.

AT: You’re one of the winners of Cisco CREATE’s Connected Transport Challenge. Tell me about your concept.

SL: Our work with Cisco is an extension of this thinking, and looks at improving customer experience in railway stations. We’re building a station hub designed to communicate to passengers’ devices as they stand on the platform – this can be anything from highlighting delays and enabling passengers to order a taxi home to showing how busy the platform is at certain types of day. The project focuses on stations in more isolated areas, where mobile networks are often poor and people can’t just go to Google. The concept runs over WiFi and is enabled by Cisco’s Station as a Service (StaaS) platform and Meraki Hardware.

AT: How have you found partnering with Cisco?

SL: It’s been great. Primarily we were given a grant, which enables us to free up some developer time to work on the project. But what we really value is the access we are given to Cisco staff, including people with a huge amount of experience and technical acumen.

It’s fantastic to be able to network with people who have worked with the same kind of equipment we’re working with, and to be aligned with someone like Cisco, which is networking all these great places and spaces, is a great opportunity for us.

AT: So what’s next for Omnifi?

SL: We’re five weeks in to our eight week incubation program, and are going through the product development cycle – we’ve just finished our user story and are currently turning that into a technical build that we can use at the IDEALondon Demo Day next month.

Ahead of that, we’re excited to see what the future holds. We’d love to become a company that Cisco sells as a value-add to their products, and are really excited about the prospect of becoming a Cisco Solution Partner which would enable us to be featured in the solution catalogue, thus enabling us to go to market with Cisco’s extensive global partner base.

AT: Thanks for your time, Simon

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