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The intelligent edge connecting the mobile world

The intelligent edge connecting the mobile world

Lars Kolendorf, Director, Solutions and Verticals, EMEA at Aruba

Data governance is an opportunity, not a threat, according to Lars Kolendorf, Director, Solutions and Verticals, EMEA at Aruba.

Q: What is Aruba’s focus for GITEX this year?
Aruba focuses on what we call the intelligent edge. Everybody is moving to a mobile new world where they want to work everywhere. From Aruba’s point of view, the intelligent edge is connecting that new mobile world. What we’re showing here is that when we have this new network, it’s not just connectivity anymore. A few years back, wired or wireless was just connectivity, and nobody cared about it and yet you had needed that connectivity to do whatever you did.

Today, you work everywhere and you expect to work from everywhere, so the connectivity layer is more required and nobody can do anything without it. So everybody creates connectivity, we believe we create better connectivity with the wired and wireless devices we have, but we call it the intelligent edge now because more decisions need to move to the edge to serve the new users but also to give them more benefits, more value out of that network.

When we have the connectivity, that’s the foundation layer. On top of that, we have a software layer that gives you business insights, it gives you more engagement, it gives you security. So what we’re showing here is demos and solutions companies or resellers can see that connectivity is not just connectivity. Connectivity requires more now but it also gives you more. The return on investment for a company, the value that you can get out of the fact that it connects to a network, is extremely high.

If that is healthcare, for example, where you want to save two minutes per day per nurse you can give the nurse all the information about the patient before they enter the patient room. The doctor can access information to see which patient is waiting outside. Then if his next patient is elsewhere having an x-ray, for example, the doctor can move on to the next patient. All that information and location detail, comes from the networks in the hospital, so you can use that in your environment.

We are showing a lot of different demos for retail, education and healthcare so that companies can see the benefit you now can get from having that good connectivity layer that enables people to work from everywhere.

Q: How is Aruba adapting its solutions to serve ‘GenMobile’?
What has happened over the last couple of years is security has become more of a requirement. But so has the profiling of the users, of the devices, of the location, because you have lots of different devices connecting to your network. You have personal devices, company devices, guest and patient devices, you have staff and IT devices, for example, so the network needs to be secured and logged out and then when you connect something – being an IT, mobile, fixed or dual device – the network then needs to adapt and configure it. If you had to do that manually as an IT person and configure all of them, it becomes a big task to handle.

So, what we’ve done is we’ve created the device profiling or user configuration so when the network sees that you’re connecting, then you get the service you need for your job at that particular time. We’ve been working a lot on that and then on the services on top, for instance, the Bluetooth low energy-based location devices, locating services, the wireless analytics, all these service and software layers have has been put on top of the Aruba infrastructure.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquired Aruba some years ago so we got the switches from HP network and the wireless from Aruba. Those two are now being put together so you get the same services across the switch and across the wireless devices and no matter how you connect the device, you get the same user profile and connectivity.

Everybody uses cloud now but you also see a trend in the market that while everybody uses cloud, you have a lot more intelligence and data that actually floats in the office. You have all of the IT devices connecting, all of the other devices connecting and there’s a lot of information that will then run somewhere, and if all of that doesn’t go to the cloud it becomes an issue. By having more intelligence at the edge and more automated processes without the need for the IT team to configure a lot of things, the more process conserved, and you’re not depending on the power of connectivity.

Everybody moved to cloud and we have everything in cloud, but we still need to have that intelligence with the right processing power. So these are some of the changes we needed to address to stay relevant. Move wired and wireless together, move intelligence to the edge and to forward security in IT.

Q: What IT trends do you predict we will see emerging in the industry in the next two years?
That trend about understanding that even though you have the cloud, a lot of data needs to be processed on the edge, especially in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We have an issue being in Europe, mainly with GDPR. So you have the data protections and regulations. You can look at it two ways, you can look at it as a a threat, and a lot of vendors use that as a threat saying, “You need you need to prepared for this so we can sell you something.” Clearly, we can also sell you something but I think as a company, what Aruba says to customers is that you can look more at seeing this is an opportunity to update your policies.

So the way I see GDPR is, of course, there is an opportunity to sell something which is nice for us but it’s also an opportunity as a customer to work on the policies and say, “This is something that happens now, I need to be compliant by next year. So then I’ll take my policies – with HR, with IT, with the security team – so that I have the best product and services for my users while waiting to become compliant.”

Another trend I think will be looking at the value you can get out of the network, knowing who is connecting, where they are connecting, it could be in retail environment. Take two supermarkets for example, one is a low-cost supermarket and the other a higher-end supermarket. By looking at anonymous data, they can start to analyse do customers they start in low-cost stores and then go to the high-end or vice versa, they can then adapt their marketing material, their offer prices and they learn from it. And I think the trend in retail is that a lot of people buy from an online store, but they go through a bricks and mortar store to see devices and then they go back home and buy it online. So connecting that world, making sure that the online shopper experience on a physical side, matching the pricing or the discounts, knowing that you’re welcoming in your returning customer, giving a better experience. That’s another trend.

Q: What demands is the new mobile workforce putting on the corporate network and how are companies handling this?
By changing the view on wireless, where wireless in the past was nice to have. And then depending on where you are in the region because some countries are much more mature than others. But a lot of companies started with wireless as a meeting room or guest technology. And then they moved into, “I need more access points.” And they had access points. And the change now is they’ve started now to see wireless as the default access layer where it was an add-on in the past.

And with the speeds we have today, wireless is good enough for all users, it should be the default access layer. And then a lot of the new devices don’t have to provide the connectivity anymore.

I think the CIOs have changed their mindset and now they see wireless as the default and then they spend the money needed to get the right amount of access points in there.