Aruba Lays Groundwork for All-Wireless Workplace
Aruba Networks is unveiling a range of new technologies that officials say will help organizations create a better wireless environment that will help them meet the demands of the new generation of mobile workers.
Aruba on March 12 launched its Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks architecture and five software solutions designed to enable businesses to build an all-wireless workplace that offers pervasive WiFi, automated security for guests and those employees who use their own mobile devices at work, and communications applications for mobile devices that work better.
Such an environment will help businesses improve the job satisfaction and productivity of what Aruba calls the #GenMobile employees. In a survey of more than 5,000 workers worldwide that was released in January, Aruba found that this up-and-coming generation of employees is highly mobile, is very attached to their smartphones and tablets, wants to work remotely and demands flexible schedules that allow them to work nontraditional hours. The desires of the #GenMobile workers dovetail with the growing rise of such trends as greater worker mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices, and organizations need to take this into account when dealing with these younger employees, according to Aruba officials.
"In order to attract and keep the best employees, businesses need to start looking for solutions to ensure levels of empowerment and productivity in this emerging working world," Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer for Aruba, said when the report was released. "Ultimately, many will have to totally redefine traditional work environments."
Aruba's new architecture and offerings are aimed at helping businesses do just that. The Mobility-Defined Networks strategy aims to make enterprise networks more intelligent and automated so that they can quickly and automatically adjust to changes in wireless demands. Such changes would result in adjustments in performance optimization and security, making the network more dynamic than what company officials said are more static traditional WiFi infrastructures.
"Our customers have found that the all-wireless workplace is easily afforded by rightsizing the network and redirecting IT investments," Keerti Melkote, Aruba founder and CTO, said in a statement. "The resulting right-sized network reduces capital costs associated with the fixed wired infrastructure and delivers an integrated mobility experience that everyone can depend on."
Among the new offerings is Aruba's Next-General Mobility Firewall, which gives IT departments greater WiFi control over applications for better security. Using advanced deep pack inspections, the firewall can set more granular role-based policies, quality of service and bandwidth for more than 1,500 mobile applications, including those that are encrypted. In addition, Aruba is offering the Interactive Unified Communications Dashboard in the company's AirWave solution. The dashboard brings together network and unified communications (UC) performance metrics into a single view. Combining AirWave with the new mobile firewall enables organizations to wirelessly bring communications applications to their users.
ClearPass Exchange is designed to enable IT professionals to leverage a set of common APIs to automate security workflows with most third-party IT and business systems from such Aruba partners as IBM, AirWatch and MobileIron, according to company officials. Through Aruba's Auto Sign-On feature, organizations can use their workplace WiFi log-ins to automatically authenticate an employee into single sign-on (SSO)-enabled applications, including Salesforce.com. The Aruba technology also can be integrated with technology from SSO identify providers like Okta or Ping Identity.
Through AirGroup, mobile workers can wirelessly share screens and stream media with Apple and the Digital Living Network Alliance, as well as Universal Plug and Play devices, the company said.
Everything but the Interactive Unified Communications Dashboard is available now. The dashboard will be available for free in AirWave 8.0 starting in May.