Edmonton Public Library

Leading digital and interactive destination modernizes services to 14.2M annual visitors with adaptable, future-ready Aruba ESP network

  • Customer Profile

    The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is the gathering place for people and ideas, enabling a lifetime of learning, engagement and possibility. With 21 branches and a staff of 700, the EPL serves over 5.8 million physical visitors and another 8.4 million virtual visitors annually.
    • Vertical: State and Local Government
    • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    • Customer size: 700 staff serving 14.2 million visitors annually

    Use Case

    Enable the transformation into a leading digital and interactive destination at present and for the future by modernizing wired and wireless networks using a holistic, adaptable, AI-powered platform to deliver exceptional experiences.

    Requirements

    • Modernize wired and wireless networking for superior experiences
    • Infuse flexibility and adaptability to enable meeting current and future needs
    • Gain automation capabilities with intelligent, centralized tool sets

    Outcomes

    • Delivers exceptional user experiences to more than 10,000 visitor and in-house devices daily
    • Powers unique 2-story touch-interactive video installation with sub-10 millisecond response times
    • Saved a total of approximately 33% on licensing and product costs
    • Meets Wi-Fi utilization demand of more than 30 terabytes of data per month
    • Enabled future additions such as location-aware options and AIOps-enabled, cloud-based management

    A pioneer in the provision of free Wi-Fi for the public, as well as leveraging wireless connectivity for internal operations, EPL found itself at a crossroads as its infrastructure aged.

    “As we transitioned from being a traditional library to becoming a leading digital and interactive destination, we had strong growth in demand for Wi-Fi from business users and the public across our footprint,” explains Steve Till-Rogers, Director of Technology Services at the Library. “Our legacy wired and wireless networks were insufficient for meeting our many new needs.”

    “As we transitioned from being a traditional library to becoming a leading digital and interactive destination, we had strong growth in demand for Wi-Fi from business users and the public across our footprint,” explains Steve Till-Rogers, Director of Technology Services at the Library.

    People doing work at the Edmonton Public Library

    Holistic Aruba Platform Delivers All-inclusive Solution

    As Edmonton’s best used and most loved public service, EPL has a staff of 700 and 21 branches that serve over 5.8 million physical visitors and another 8.4 million virtual visitors annually. Its flagship location, the Stanley A. Milner Library, is a six-story, 230,000 square-foot recently-revitalized facility that includes 28,000 square feet of meeting and conference rooms, a 10,000 square foot Makerspace, a 2,100 square foot teaching kitchen and culinary center, a Gamerspace and a 250-seat performing arts theatre.

    To make its entire system smart and digitalized, while maximizing funding, EPL sought modern networking infrastructure with integrated features and capabilities that could accommodate daily peak device counts of more than 10,000. “For example, we had previously collaborated with university students to create a smartphone-based scavenger hunt in one of our branches using BLE beacons,” Till-Rogers says. “In our new network, we wanted beacons built into the APs.”

    Working with its trusted local networking partner Microserve, EPL evaluated market leaders and chose an end-to-end platform by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Aruba’s wired and wireless infrastructure satisfied all of our technology requirements and was an all-inclusive,” Till-Rogers says. “With our legacy vendor, Cisco, we needed to purchase additional licenses for technology ‘extras.’”

    “We selected Aruba as a holistic platform we could update and expand as appropriate going forward,” he continued. “It’s a more sustainable model environmentally and ensures EPL can meet future demands as well as address current needs.”

    Advanced Features with Up to Half the Operating Cost

    EPL’s new Aruba ESP network infrastructure is comprised of multiple innovations. Wireless solutions include Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 access points (APs), with the 530 Series for indoor networking, the 570 Series for outdoor locations, and the 303H Series remote access points (RAPs) for ad-hoc needs. The WLAN also utilizes Aruba mobility controllers.

    For wired networking, the Library is standardizing on Aruba’s 2930F Switch Series, 3810 Switch Series and 5400R Switch Series for access and aggregation. At the Milner Library, Aruba CX switching is handling core networking using the CX 8320 Switch Series.

    The new infrastructure also includes Aruba AirWave for network management and User Experience Insight (UXI) for AIOps-enabled, real-time detection and remediation of Wi-Fi incidents.

    Fast and easy wired and wireless deployment

    Deployment and configuration of EPL’s new networking infrastructure proved simple, with Aruba’s intuitive management tools straightforward to learn.

    “Integrating Aruba into our environment has been really smooth and easy,” says Kevin Nikiforuk, IT Infrastructure Manager at the EPL. “We didn’t have hiccups or anything that needed to be overcome. Our team just plugged everything in.”

    What’s more, EPL realized immediate budget advantages. “We’re saving about a third on licensing and products over the life of our contract with Aruba,” Till-Rogers says. “This enabled redirecting those funds to reimagining library user experiences.”

    Powering Instantaneous Interactions on The Wall

    Among EPL’s many new connectivity-enabled opportunities, perhaps the most widely discussed is Milner’s massive touch-interactive installation called The Wall.

    At two stories high and 40 feet wide, The Wall is unique in North America and enables users to see and hear life-sized dinosaurs in ancient landscapes, experiment with 3D fluid dynamics simulations or interact with inhabitants of a virtual coral reef.

    Rendering The Wall’s multicast imaging on its 320 custom-designed screens is accomplished by a Crestron’s DM NVX AV-over-IP solution and sub-10 millisecond network response times.

    “Our Aruba network is critical to delivering compelling experiences on The Wall,” Till-Rogers says. “It’s a joy watching kids run up and touch a 20-foot-tall dinosaur to see how it responds.”

    “Our Aruba network is critical to delivering compelling experiences on The Wall,” Till-Rogers says. “It’s a joy watching kids run up and touch a 20-foot-tall dinosaur to see how it responds.”

    Colorful wall at the Edmonton Public Library

    Network Powers Inclusive Digital Experiences

    Smart spaces abound

    Other spaces are similarly smart. Meeting areas include digital booking panels, for ad hoc room reservations, and large-format display screens with wireless connectivity for content sharing and collaboration. In the Gamerspace, EPL’s AV system can send video from a gamer’s machine onto an 86-inch display for group viewing or to other screens.

    “Essentially, we can route video across the wired and wireless network from any device to any device,” Nikiforuk says.

    To enhance inclusivity, the Wi-Fi also network supports a Sennheiser assistive listening platform. “Customers scan a barcode with a smartphone app to access audio broadcasts,” says Nikiforuk. “The content is streamed to their Bluetooth headset or even directly to Bluetooth-capable hearing aids.”

    Extending Content and Connectivity Outside Library Walls

    EPL also relies on its network to deliver services and programming externally. This includes streaming audio and video, which was especially helpful during the COVID-19 closures. “For example, we hosted a virtual escape room featuring a local celebrity as the protagonist navigating the Milner Library,” Nikiforuk says. “Online participants guided the celebrity and we streamed the event seamlessly throughout the building, providing a very unique and thrilling way to experience the Library.”

    To extend secure Wi-Fi outside its walls, EPL is deploying RAPs in numerous ways. During pandemic closures, the gear supplied library staff with remote connectivity, which aided productivity and improved business continuity.

    Moving forward, the RAPs are being used to bring Library services and internet access to any location. “We can drive a van to an unserved location to provide network support during events and give people free Wi-Fi access as well,” Till-Rogers says.

    Combining Wi-Fi, IoT and the Cloud in New Ways

    Operationally, EPL utilizes wired and wireless networking for connectivity ranging from facilities management devices, such as security cameras, to collaboration applications, such as Microsoft Teams.

    The Library is also embarking on a communications initiative using the new smartphone-based push-to-talk (PTT) capability in Teams. It will start by replacing two-way radios for security personnel. “Although there are areas where two-way-radios struggle, such as in the Milner’s basement, we have Wi-Fi everywhere,” Till-Rogers says. “With PTT we expect to significantly advance physical security.”

    After the security pilot, the goal is rolling out PTT system-wide to improve staff efficiency and effectiveness. “We want to give all frontline workers the ability to collaborate via voice or video with the touch of a screen,” Till-Rogers adds.

    Combining all of the current digital demands results in a monthly Wi-Fi utilization of over 30 terabytes, which EPL’s network handles readily.

    With Central, organizations can increase IT efficiency by up to 50% as the solution puts AI-enabled learning to work deeply analyzing volumes of data to improve network resilience and self-healing.

    Edmonton Public Library lobby

    Enhancements Continue Cloud-preferred Approach

    As part of its ongoing cloud-preferred IT approach, EPL is considering various enhancements to its networking infrastructure.

    First up is evaluating Aruba’s Location Services to leverage the Wi-Fi network’s BLE beacon capabilities. “When a customer enters one of our facilities, we’d like to connect them with information and services immediately to create unique, personalized experiences,” Till-Rogers says. “For example, if a person’s library utilization history suggests a current Makerspace seminar could be of interest, we could notify the individual as they come into the building.”

    Other plans under consideration include adding security enhancements with Aruba ClearPass and streamlining administration with cloud-based Aruba Central for proactive AIOps and unified network management.

    With Central, organizations can increase IT efficiency by up to 50% as the solution puts AI-enabled learning to work deeply analyzing volumes of data to improve network resilience and self-healing. This includes benchmarking against data aggregated from over 100,000 Aruba customers to automatically fine-tune network operations.

    No matter which enhancements EPL pursues, Till-Rogers emphasizes the advantage of adopting Aruba is being prepared for whatever comes next. “By deploying a reliable and flexible Aruba network, our IT department has become an agile business-ready partner,” Till-Rogers says. “Regardless how user expectations and library services evolve, we have the capability to respond quickly and effectively to meet new needs.”

    Read more

    With Aruba, regardless how user expectations and library services evolve, we have the capability to respond quickly and effectively to meet new needs.
    Steve Till-Rogers, Director of Technology Services, Edmonton Public Library
  • Customer Profile

    The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is the gathering place for people and ideas, enabling a lifetime of learning, engagement and possibility. With 21 branches and a staff of 700, the EPL serves over 5.8 million physical visitors and another 8.4 million virtual visitors annually.
    • Vertical: State and Local Government
    • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    • Customer size: 700 staff serving 14.2 million visitors annually

    Use Case

    Enable the transformation into a leading digital and interactive destination at present and for the future by modernizing wired and wireless networks using a holistic, adaptable, AI-powered platform to deliver exceptional experiences.

    Requirements

    • Modernize wired and wireless networking for superior experiences
    • Infuse flexibility and adaptability to enable meeting current and future needs
    • Gain automation capabilities with intelligent, centralized tool sets

    Outcomes

    • Delivers exceptional user experiences to more than 10,000 visitor and in-house devices daily
    • Powers unique 2-story touch-interactive video installation with sub-10 millisecond response times
    • Saved a total of approximately 33% on licensing and product costs
    • Meets Wi-Fi utilization demand of more than 30 terabytes of data per month
    • Enabled future additions such as location-aware options and AIOps-enabled, cloud-based management

    A pioneer in the provision of free Wi-Fi for the public, as well as leveraging wireless connectivity for internal operations, EPL found itself at a crossroads as its infrastructure aged.

    “As we transitioned from being a traditional library to becoming a leading digital and interactive destination, we had strong growth in demand for Wi-Fi from business users and the public across our footprint,” explains Steve Till-Rogers, Director of Technology Services at the Library. “Our legacy wired and wireless networks were insufficient for meeting our many new needs.”

    “As we transitioned from being a traditional library to becoming a leading digital and interactive destination, we had strong growth in demand for Wi-Fi from business users and the public across our footprint,” explains Steve Till-Rogers, Director of Technology Services at the Library.

    People doing work at the Edmonton Public Library

    Holistic Aruba Platform Delivers All-inclusive Solution

    As Edmonton’s best used and most loved public service, EPL has a staff of 700 and 21 branches that serve over 5.8 million physical visitors and another 8.4 million virtual visitors annually. Its flagship location, the Stanley A. Milner Library, is a six-story, 230,000 square-foot recently-revitalized facility that includes 28,000 square feet of meeting and conference rooms, a 10,000 square foot Makerspace, a 2,100 square foot teaching kitchen and culinary center, a Gamerspace and a 250-seat performing arts theatre.

    To make its entire system smart and digitalized, while maximizing funding, EPL sought modern networking infrastructure with integrated features and capabilities that could accommodate daily peak device counts of more than 10,000. “For example, we had previously collaborated with university students to create a smartphone-based scavenger hunt in one of our branches using BLE beacons,” Till-Rogers says. “In our new network, we wanted beacons built into the APs.”

    Working with its trusted local networking partner Microserve, EPL evaluated market leaders and chose an end-to-end platform by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Aruba’s wired and wireless infrastructure satisfied all of our technology requirements and was an all-inclusive,” Till-Rogers says. “With our legacy vendor, Cisco, we needed to purchase additional licenses for technology ‘extras.’”

    “We selected Aruba as a holistic platform we could update and expand as appropriate going forward,” he continued. “It’s a more sustainable model environmentally and ensures EPL can meet future demands as well as address current needs.”

    Advanced Features with Up to Half the Operating Cost

    EPL’s new Aruba ESP network infrastructure is comprised of multiple innovations. Wireless solutions include Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 access points (APs), with the 530 Series for indoor networking, the 570 Series for outdoor locations, and the 303H Series remote access points (RAPs) for ad-hoc needs. The WLAN also utilizes Aruba mobility controllers.

    For wired networking, the Library is standardizing on Aruba’s 2930F Switch Series, 3810 Switch Series and 5400R Switch Series for access and aggregation. At the Milner Library, Aruba CX switching is handling core networking using the CX 8320 Switch Series.

    The new infrastructure also includes Aruba AirWave for network management and User Experience Insight (UXI) for AIOps-enabled, real-time detection and remediation of Wi-Fi incidents.

    Fast and easy wired and wireless deployment

    Deployment and configuration of EPL’s new networking infrastructure proved simple, with Aruba’s intuitive management tools straightforward to learn.

    “Integrating Aruba into our environment has been really smooth and easy,” says Kevin Nikiforuk, IT Infrastructure Manager at the EPL. “We didn’t have hiccups or anything that needed to be overcome. Our team just plugged everything in.”

    What’s more, EPL realized immediate budget advantages. “We’re saving about a third on licensing and products over the life of our contract with Aruba,” Till-Rogers says. “This enabled redirecting those funds to reimagining library user experiences.”

    Powering Instantaneous Interactions on The Wall

    Among EPL’s many new connectivity-enabled opportunities, perhaps the most widely discussed is Milner’s massive touch-interactive installation called The Wall.

    At two stories high and 40 feet wide, The Wall is unique in North America and enables users to see and hear life-sized dinosaurs in ancient landscapes, experiment with 3D fluid dynamics simulations or interact with inhabitants of a virtual coral reef.

    Rendering The Wall’s multicast imaging on its 320 custom-designed screens is accomplished by a Crestron’s DM NVX AV-over-IP solution and sub-10 millisecond network response times.

    “Our Aruba network is critical to delivering compelling experiences on The Wall,” Till-Rogers says. “It’s a joy watching kids run up and touch a 20-foot-tall dinosaur to see how it responds.”

    “Our Aruba network is critical to delivering compelling experiences on The Wall,” Till-Rogers says. “It’s a joy watching kids run up and touch a 20-foot-tall dinosaur to see how it responds.”

    Colorful wall at the Edmonton Public Library

    Network Powers Inclusive Digital Experiences

    Smart spaces abound

    Other spaces are similarly smart. Meeting areas include digital booking panels, for ad hoc room reservations, and large-format display screens with wireless connectivity for content sharing and collaboration. In the Gamerspace, EPL’s AV system can send video from a gamer’s machine onto an 86-inch display for group viewing or to other screens.

    “Essentially, we can route video across the wired and wireless network from any device to any device,” Nikiforuk says.

    To enhance inclusivity, the Wi-Fi also network supports a Sennheiser assistive listening platform. “Customers scan a barcode with a smartphone app to access audio broadcasts,” says Nikiforuk. “The content is streamed to their Bluetooth headset or even directly to Bluetooth-capable hearing aids.”

    Extending Content and Connectivity Outside Library Walls

    EPL also relies on its network to deliver services and programming externally. This includes streaming audio and video, which was especially helpful during the COVID-19 closures. “For example, we hosted a virtual escape room featuring a local celebrity as the protagonist navigating the Milner Library,” Nikiforuk says. “Online participants guided the celebrity and we streamed the event seamlessly throughout the building, providing a very unique and thrilling way to experience the Library.”

    To extend secure Wi-Fi outside its walls, EPL is deploying RAPs in numerous ways. During pandemic closures, the gear supplied library staff with remote connectivity, which aided productivity and improved business continuity.

    Moving forward, the RAPs are being used to bring Library services and internet access to any location. “We can drive a van to an unserved location to provide network support during events and give people free Wi-Fi access as well,” Till-Rogers says.

    Combining Wi-Fi, IoT and the Cloud in New Ways

    Operationally, EPL utilizes wired and wireless networking for connectivity ranging from facilities management devices, such as security cameras, to collaboration applications, such as Microsoft Teams.

    The Library is also embarking on a communications initiative using the new smartphone-based push-to-talk (PTT) capability in Teams. It will start by replacing two-way radios for security personnel. “Although there are areas where two-way-radios struggle, such as in the Milner’s basement, we have Wi-Fi everywhere,” Till-Rogers says. “With PTT we expect to significantly advance physical security.”

    After the security pilot, the goal is rolling out PTT system-wide to improve staff efficiency and effectiveness. “We want to give all frontline workers the ability to collaborate via voice or video with the touch of a screen,” Till-Rogers adds.

    Combining all of the current digital demands results in a monthly Wi-Fi utilization of over 30 terabytes, which EPL’s network handles readily.

    With Central, organizations can increase IT efficiency by up to 50% as the solution puts AI-enabled learning to work deeply analyzing volumes of data to improve network resilience and self-healing.

    Edmonton Public Library lobby

    Enhancements Continue Cloud-preferred Approach

    As part of its ongoing cloud-preferred IT approach, EPL is considering various enhancements to its networking infrastructure.

    First up is evaluating Aruba’s Location Services to leverage the Wi-Fi network’s BLE beacon capabilities. “When a customer enters one of our facilities, we’d like to connect them with information and services immediately to create unique, personalized experiences,” Till-Rogers says. “For example, if a person’s library utilization history suggests a current Makerspace seminar could be of interest, we could notify the individual as they come into the building.”

    Other plans under consideration include adding security enhancements with Aruba ClearPass and streamlining administration with cloud-based Aruba Central for proactive AIOps and unified network management.

    With Central, organizations can increase IT efficiency by up to 50% as the solution puts AI-enabled learning to work deeply analyzing volumes of data to improve network resilience and self-healing. This includes benchmarking against data aggregated from over 100,000 Aruba customers to automatically fine-tune network operations.

    No matter which enhancements EPL pursues, Till-Rogers emphasizes the advantage of adopting Aruba is being prepared for whatever comes next. “By deploying a reliable and flexible Aruba network, our IT department has become an agile business-ready partner,” Till-Rogers says. “Regardless how user expectations and library services evolve, we have the capability to respond quickly and effectively to meet new needs.”

    With Aruba, regardless how user expectations and library services evolve, we have the capability to respond quickly and effectively to meet new needs.
    Steve Till-Rogers, Director of Technology Services, Edmonton Public Library
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