Company readies solutions for a return to the office and continued working from home
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic promises to remake the modern workplace. Aruba Networks wants to have the necessary network and security tools to address the needs for every scenario.
The Lowdown: Aruba, the networking arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, this week unveiled a range of offerings for what it says are the three areas in which the workplace will evolve – a return to the office, continuing to work from home, and a reimagined office.
The Details: The solutions that are coming from Aruba or in concert with its tech partners will leverage artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Bluetooth radios that already are used in Aruba offerings, such as access points, and managed from a single point. They also can run on users’ existing Aruba infrastructure.
Returning to the office
> Contact and location tracing: New tools based on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will have expanded capabilities through partnerships with such companies as AiRista Flow, Kiana Analytics, and Modo Labs to monitor social distancing and group sizes and create contact tracing trees.
> Visitor management: New solutions will enable pre-registration, automated host notification, and auto-generated individualized visitor Wi-Fi credentials to reduce human-to-human contact.
> Health monitoring: Aruba, HPE’s Pointnext service unit, and tech partners will roll out video- and AI-based solutions for measuring the temperatures of groups of people simultaneously to ensure detection of COVID-infected employees and visitors.
Working from home
> Secure remote access: Aruba offerings include remote access points (RAPs) and gateways to ensure access to enterprise applications and services hosted on premises or in the public cloud. RAPs provide both Ethernet and wireless connectivity.
For access from the road, the vendor’s Virtual Intranet Access VPN software provides secure connectivity to laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. The VPN technology includes an embedded firewall for greater security.
> More modular and mobile: Corporate offices will become more modular and on-demand as businesses rethink office layouts and how often employees will visit. It will become smarter through the use of such technologies as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and IoT sensors that companies are investing in as they get the first phase of reopening underway, but that will likely get repurposed to drive applications to improve the employee experience. Aruba is working with companies in such fields as office architecture and furnishings, like Herman Miller, to address the evolving workspace.
The Impact: The coronavirus outbreak accelerated the digital transformation efforts by many companies, including embracing public clouds, and forced them to have most employees work from home. Teleworking will remain a large part of the overall workplace even after the pandemic is over, and tech vendors and channel partners will need to have the solutions and services in place to help with that.
Background: As states have begun to ease lockdown rules and let businesses reopen, tech vendors, from Cisco and Juniper Networks to ServiceNow and Salesforce, have begun rolling out offers designed to ease the transition, from addressing social distancing in the office to continued support for teleworkers.
The Buzz: “The new fluid workplace requires contextual awareness, adaptability, and scalability on a global scale – all without security gaps,” said Partha Narasimhan, CTO and HPE Senior Fellow for Aruba. “Throughout the pandemic, Aruba’s AI-powered infrastructure has adapted to optimize customers’ reimagined work environments at half a million customer sites worldwide, with massive teleworkforces dispatched to work from home, and for essential mobile workforces.”
“For too long organizations have treated working locations as a binary choice – we’re either assigned to an office or are remote workers,” said Ryan Anderson, vice president of digital innovation for Herman Miller. “The current requirement to work remotely has blown the doors open for a new hybrid workplace reality that experience designers and technologists alike need to account for in the future. A comfortable, secure, and reliable work-from-home setting will be a key requirement for this new era.”