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Aruba’s Strategy: Focus on End-user Experience

Mr Dominic Orr, CEO of Aruba delivered the keynote address during their APAC Atmosphere 2016 event held at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The event opened with a dragon dance after which Mr Orr announced its developer-ready Mobile First Platform in addition to new procurement models and partner readiness programs.

APAC Atmosphere 2016 | |

APAC Atmosphere 2016 | |

The interview
After the keynote, Mr. Orr sat down with us and shared that the software defined approach that Aruba is currently taking was started three years ago when Aruba saw that wireless was fast becoming the primary access for most of the world. This change demanded resiliency in the network, adaptability and configurability and led Aruba to separate the networking to a ‘stable’ part and a part that can change when you have new policies or events.

When I asked about what he foresees the 4th wave of wireless networking will be, Mr. Orr started by taking a step back and sharing what the first three waves were:

The First wave started with the Intel Centrino where every laptop came with Wi-Fi built in. Aruba was formed 90 days after that announcement. The wireless networking then was a series of hot spots. Those times very few people used their laptop while walking. In that usage scenario, dead spots were not very critical.

The Second wave came with the arrival of mobile devices. These devices are always on, and most of the time, people were using multimedia and roaming. Suddenly contiguous coverage and roaming became very important.

The Third wave came with the massive increase in density of devices. In US university, students had an average of 8 wireless devices. Many spaces could have spikes in traffic that network has to adapt to. He notes further the rise of the IoT devices which could add 10x more than human devices. So now the issue of scale and security comes up.

Aruba’s 5S
Mr Orr shared the Aruba way in progressing can be described in 5S – Stability, Security, Scalability, Smart and Simple. With the transition from wired to wireless, networks will need stability to the point where people stop differentiating wired from wireless connections. After that people will need it to be secure. Then as more devices come online, the network needs to scale.
According to Mr Orr the next generation will be smart/interactive. It will talk back. It’s going to let you know the status of the air. It will know where you are and it is going to give you feedback based on that. Finally, it needs to be simple. Aruba will have to hide the complexity. Aruba will need to use artificial intelligence and Predictive intelligence. So the next wave has to be self-fixing.

The focus is on user experience.

The APAC Atmosphere event itself contained several showcases to highlight the possibilities with Aruba’s Mobile First Platform and 3rd party providers. The common theme surrounding all the booths was a singular focus on end-user experience – not network management.
• Aruba’s clients can benefit from Kasada’s multifactor authentication (such as photos in mobile phones) that eliminates the need for passwords and tokens – which might be easily stolen or compromised.
• Clients could also visualize and analyze its customer behavior using SkyFii’s pioneering guest WiFi and analytics tools that captures WiFi login details off WiFi users’ Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.
• I also saw a demo using Meridian’s beacon based systems that enables clients to track WiFi users’ location to within 1 meter accuracy…indoors! The beacons use low powered Bluetooth (but batteries need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months). Businesses like malls can now track footfalls/traffic and potentially charge tenants’ rent based on it.
The Mobile First Platform allows 3rd party partners to provide added enhancements and capabilities. To learn more about Aruba’s Mobile First networking:
Finally Aruba packaged the new offerings with a new business model by offering Network as a Service model (Naas). This subscription based service bundles Software Defined Networking (SDN) with cloud-managed Wireless LAN. Companies can immediately benefit from the up to date technology without a huge capital outlay. Aruba partnered with Accenture and Deloitte for this.