Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Building the digital foundation to enhance workplace mobility

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) is a specialist in wellbeing at work. It carries out research and provides services and training for private sector clients and public sector agencies.

Digital working is, inevitably, a key area of focus. FIOH is exploring many aspects of the digital workplace, from the mental wellbeing of home workers, to the interrupted working day to excessive screen time.

“We can’t just research the digital workplace,” says Mikko Mäkipää, director of ICT, FIOH, “we need to live it.”

Seamless connectivity

FIOH has six offices across Finland, with 550 employees. As part of a refurbishment of the Helsinki headquarters, it wanted to upgrade its wireless network across the entire organisation. “Super-fast performance, everywhere,” in Mäkipää’s words. “And easy to tune once installed.”

It’s the remote offices where the difference has been noted. Users tell us the difference in network performance is marked. We’re proving that you don’t need to be tied to a desk to be productive.Mikko Mäkipää, director of ICT, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

For FIOH, the objective is to enable complete mobility for staff wherever they work. The wireless network must allow VoIP calls from anywhere in the building (including the elevators), staff should be able to walk between floors, and between meetings, with no interruption to their digital applications. For remote workers, FIOH wanted the same performance, and same applications, as the head office.

“The old network was not working for us,” says Mäkipää. “We wanted to future-proof the organisation, with reliably high-performance throughput for users with multiple devices.”

A mobile-first architecture

Having investigated solution options, Mäkipää says the Aruba Mobile First Architecture proved a clear winner. “We’d never worked with Aruba previously, but it was obvious the Aruba solution answered our concerns around security, management and performance.”

The Aruba solution consists of over 600 802.11ac Wave 2 AP-335 access points, two 7210 mobility controllers, 100 2930M campus edge switches, AirWave Network Management for WLAN and LAN, and ClearPass Policy Manager. There are access points in the elevators.

The installation was phased in over 12 months.

Enabling workplace mobility

The Aruba Mobile First Architecture delivers complete workplace mobility and a streamlined experience for FIOH employees. All staff were issued with new, higher-spec laptops and smartphones alongside the project, with access to Microsoft® Office 365 and Skype. Staff can roam around the office, including the elevators, with no drop in connectivity.

“The Helsinki office has been operational for months with Aruba, and it’s ran without a problem,” says Mäkipää. “It’s the remote offices where the difference has been noted. Users tell us the difference in network performance is marked.”

The project, he continues, will deliver long-term ROI through more effective working. It is being watched closely by public sector organisations in Finland.

“We’re proving that you don’t need to be tied to a desk to be productive,” Mäkipää adds.

Simplified, secure network access

The solution also delivers management flexibility. FIOH works with a number of public sector organisations and private sector clients, as well as delivering training on site. The Aruba Mobile First Architecture simplifies the task of managing different access for different user groups.

The FIOH workplace is a busy, collaborative, constantly changing place, Mäkipää says. The Aruba ClearPass platform enables his team to manage and automate guest access, and also maintain data security: “Our research work means we’re working with sensitive personal data. We now have the right controls and policies on who can access or share that data.”

A dynamic network to respond to changing traffic

In an increasingly complex world, Mäkipää says the Aruba solution proves to be easy to operate. “Aruba AirWave means we have full visibility over the network. It’s also dynamic. We can track spikes in network usage – say, busy meeting rooms, or periods of the day, and the network self-tunes performance.”

With a limited amount of IT resources, he says simplicity and automation really helps: “It’s important the network adapts to changes in traffic. With Aruba, we’re managing the network dynamically over the lifecycle, not just at the implementation stage.”

FIOH now has a network on which to develop new workplace innovations, says Mäkipää. IoT is in the pipeline, from an operational and research perspective.

“IoT will have a major impact on the workplace. It’s important we use and research this area,” he says. “The Aruba architecture makes it easier to securely add and manage IoT functionality. It allows for a much more service-led approach to the network.”