UAE-based Innoventures Education owns and operates a number of prestigious schools in Dubai, including Dubai International Academy in Al Barsha and Emirates Hills, Collegiate International School, Raffles International School, Raffles World Academy, as well as nine Raffles Early Learning Centres. Poonam Bhojani, CEO, Innoventures Education, tells Intelligent CIO Middle East, why the education group implemented an end-to-end Aruba network architecture.
Innoventures Education owns and operates a number of prestigious schools in Dubai, including Dubai International Academy in Al Barsha and Emirates Hills, Collegiate International School, Raffles International School, Raffles World Academy, as well as nine Raffles Early Learning Centres. As a leading educational establishment, the group recognises the importance of technology as a tool to empower students and teachers, thereby paving the way towards a more well-rounded and truly world-class learning experience.
For this reason, the group was keen to expertly accommodate the demands of increasingly connected students and staff. “From a technology perspective, it is our mission to provide a secured network that enables our students to access various learning systems that enhance the learning experience. A strong network is a backbone of IT services and is an essential requirement in today’s world,” said Poonam Bhojani, CEO, Innoventures Education.
Building on a strong foundation
As a long-standing Aruba customer, schools of the Innoventures Education group were the first educational institutes in the UAE to implement an end-to-end Aruba network architecture, enabling a state-of-the-art IT environment comprising infrastructure from Hewlett Packard and HP desktops, laptops and printing equipment.
Rapid digitalisation of the education sector prompted a need for the group to consider a network infrastructure refresh. Aruba continued to present a strong case for the group to build on its long-standing success and proven architecture.
“While we did our due diligence and evaluated other vendors which were also Gartner Magic Quadrant leaders, we were especially impressed by Aruba’s diverse range of enhanced network access control (NAC) solutions and security orchestration with ClearPass, as well as its broad range of wireless access points and switches unified in a coherent design,” said Bhojani.
Elevated experiences from day one
Implementing Aruba’s wired and wireless networking solutions enabled the Innoventures Education schools to achieve 100% coverage across each of its school campuses without any blind spots, thanks to the installation of over 1,000 APs. This performance and reliability are pivotal to smooth operations as on average, over 10,000 devices connect to the network from across the group’s five campuses.
“Aruba enables students and teachers to securely access Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams and other popular teaching, learning and collaboration applications without experiencing delays, jitter, or dropped connections,” said Bhojani.
Securely supports BYOD
In a highly connected world, the diversity of digital devices and their personalised nature means that the Innoventures Education group’s staff and students would prefer to use their own devices for studying or as well as for leisure. Standard-issue laptops or tablets are not only costly, but also seem to be a thing of the past.
“All our campuses now support BYOD and thanks to Aruba’s Zero Trust architecture, all our mission-critical cloud applications – our student management system, library management system, e-assessments and learning management system – are seamlessly and securely accessible to relevant stakeholders,” said Bhojani.
Aruba ClearPass has been key to supporting BYOD for staff and students in a truly secure manner. The solution’s QuickConnect, Policy Manager, OnGuard and Guest features ensure that personal and institution-owned devices alike can rapidly connect to the network, while checking that these meet pre-set configuration and security criteria, and that only relevant resources are accessible based on predefined roles.
Platform for ongoing digitalisation
The new network infrastructure forms the backbone of the group’s ongoing digitalisation programme, supporting a wide range of devices including desktops, laptops, projectors, interactive display panels, iPads, CCTV systems, signage TVs and attendance and access control systems.
“Our mission is to leverage technologies that work together cohesively to augment the overall experience that students have at our schools. Aruba’s network ensures these solutions operate efficiently and effectively which translates to intuitive and truly world-class experiences,” said Bhojani.
Reduces management overheads
With operations spread across five school campuses, simplified, centralised management of the entire network – made possible by the implementation of Aruba’s 7200 series controllers – has been tremendously beneficial to Innoventures Education’s IT team. “Aruba facilitates automation of previously manual processes, which leads to the smooth running of our network. This also simplifies operations and reduces costs and risks,” said Bhojani.
“Because of the considerable reduction in connectivity-related support tickets and the significantly improved time to resolution, we now require fewer resources for network management. We expect this to result in savings of 50% over a three-year period,” she added.
Fully integrated learning environment
It isn’t just the Aruba technology that has impressed Innoventures Education. “We find the team to be customer-centric. Its paradigm isn’t just the implementation of devices, but rather to address its customers’ challenges and provide effective solutions,” said Bhojani.
“Aruba’s wired and wireless connectivity has eliminated the physical boundaries of the campus and enabled our students and teachers to stay connected, both on campus and online. This has made it possible for us to deliver anywhere, anytime teaching and learning, thereby creating a fully integrated learning environment,” she said.
“While ensuring great student experiences and supporting student success is a primary focus, ensuring best IT experiences is important too, especially in today’s campus where device proliferation and security concerns require detailed visibility and management of the network. We are very happy to have collaborated with Innoventures Education in its Digital Transformation journey and look forward to enlarging our engagement with the institution in the future,” said Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East, Saudi & South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.Click below to share this article