Aruba Aims To Digitize The Workplace And Make It Smarter

By Will Townsend - April 5, 2018
Aruba Networks  

I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Aruba at its annual user event, Atmosphere 2018, which took place last week in Las Vegas. Best known for its wireless networking capabilities, the company has always been focused on delivering an enhanced user experience with integrated functionality, such as wayfinding and asset tracking. What really stood out to me at the event was the continued momentum of Aruba’s digital workplace initiative (a subject that my firm’s principal analyst Patrick Moorhead wrote about last year, which can be found here if you’re interested). It is a unique, customer-centric approach aimed at bringing added value to network connectivity. Here are some of my takeaways from the time I spent with the Aruba team and the company’s “airheads” user community at Atmosphere 2018.

“Mobile-first” is becoming the new normal More and more organizations are going fully wireless, and why not? Telecommuting is on the rise and workspaces are moving from “cube farms” (like the one I lived in at Dell as a young tele-sales rep in the early 1990s) to more open spaces aimed at fostering greater collaboration. Aruba has embraced the trend and continues to fine-tune its solutions to ensure Wi-Fi security and uniform connectivity for a myriad of devices. At the center of it all is ArubaOS 8. The operating system serves as the backbone for Aruba’s infrastructure and is aimed at making deployment simple, flexible, and intelligent by fine-tuning performance based on user demands. I heard firsthand that it’s not just lip service—I had the opportunity to meet with several of Aruba’s happy customers at the show. A common theme resounded: Aruba is, in fact, easy to acquire and easy to deploy. From my perspective, networking providers that make their solutions easy to acquire, deploy, and manage will take market share. Can a workplace make employees smarter, more comfortable, and safer? I’ve had the opportunity to tour the campuses of innovative companies like Google and Facebook . What I’ve discovered is an intelligent blend of wireless technology and flexible, open workspaces geared towards enhancing employee productivity. Whether it’s an office, school, or hospital, work environments are changing with a growing need for organizational agility and competitiveness. Companies want to vie for the best employees, colleges and universities want to fill their classrooms, and hospitals are competing for patient beds. Ultimately, it comes down to delivering the best experience, and I believe this is where Aruba shines.
Last week, the company made several enhancements to its smart digital workplace initiative in the areas of real estate, office furnishings, and presence detection, amongst others. CBRE is the largest real estate management company in the world and is partnering with Aruba to integrate functions such as facility trouble ticketing and smart building IoT. Iconic furniture brand HermanMiller is collaborating with Aruba to customize user ergonomic settings for sit-to-stand height adjustable desks. However, the stand-out announcement most impressive to me was an Aruba partnership with Patrocinium to provide a solution focused on presence detection and crisis-management, timely given the recent rash of domestic terrorism. These announcements all seek to leverage connectivity to make workspaces smarter, healthier, and safer.
It’s been three years since Hewlett Packard Enterprise  (HPE) acquired Aruba to help shore up its networking solution portfolio. What strikes me most about Aruba is how it is transforming the IT notion of networking. All too often, organizations of all sizes view connectivity as an overhead expense. With its focus on enhancing the user experience through wireless leadership, Aruba is transforming networking into a value-add service. No wonder the company continues to deliver robust sales growth and strengthen HPE’s overall networking position in the market.
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Will Townsend manages the networking and security practices for Moor Insights & Strategy focused on carrier infrastructure providers, carrier services, enterprise networking and security. He brings over 30 years of technology industry experience in a variety of product, marketing, channel, business development and sales roles to his advisory position.