New facility leverages Aruba solutions to create next-gen digital workplace for seamless employee and guest experiences.
After years of successfully helping customers deploy and move into their own digital workplace, it was time for Aruba to make their own workplace vision a reality.
"When our existing facility grew insufficient for continuing to attract and retain top talent, we started planning a new location," explains Melkote, Founder of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. "We envisioned a campus doubling as a living laboratory, essentially serving as a giant innovation experience center for our employees, customers and partners."
Designing a Next-Gen Digital Workplace
Aruba designed a new 230,000 sq. ft. campus with an open floor plan.
Housed in a new LEED Silver building, it includes multiple types of community spaces, quiet zones, collaboration areas, right-sized workstations, hot desking options, a 10,000 sq. ft. Customer Experience Center (CEC) and smart innovations required to empower the GenMobile workforce.
"Providing high-performance connectivity is no longer enough," Melkote says. "Employees need tools to quickly and efficiently locate each other, find an appropriate meeting space and use technology to collaborate seamlessly."
Aruba Portfolio = The Best Tech for the Job
By leveraging our own portfolio of Aruba networking solutions, we designed and implemented a next-generation digital workplace that employees immediately embraced.
Keerti Melkote, Founder and President, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
Supplying intelligent connectivity for its highly mobile workforce throughout the six-story building, and the a ground floor R&D facility next door, required the latest in Aruba's wireless and wired solutions for secure, resilient and scalable networking.
A leading-edge infrastructure foundation
To enable ultra-fast Wi-Fi, mobile unified communications (UC) and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, Aruba is using its 802.11ac Wave 2 indoor and outdoor APs along with mobility controllers outfitted with the new Mobility Conductor.
Additionally, Aruba 5400R and 3810 Series switches, with HPE Smart Rate multi-gigabit ports, contribute high-speed connectivity across the wired infrastructure.
Innovations optimize network & enable strong security
Aruba also relies on the latest innovations within AirWave, like Clarity, for predictive analytics and granular network management. Advanced network access control and strong security is addressed with ClearPass Policy Manager, including ClearPass Exchange partnerships that integrate with ClearPass Extensions for seamless end-to-end security and simplified guest workflows.
Combined, the solutions help Aruba secure, optimize and manage its wired and wireless network.
Location-based services for smarter spaces
Beyond the network infrastructure, the facility also boasts smarter spaces powered by Aruba's robust mobile engagement solution.
This includes a new location-aware employee Campus App, created with Aruba's Meridian App Platform and the AppMaker tool within it. Powered by Aruba Beacons, the app infuses real-time location context to provide wayfinding and concierge services, boosting productivity and enhancing employee and guest experiences.
VIP Experiences Enterprise-Wide
Together, the deployed solutions help foster personal connections between people and teams by supplying a flexible and sustainable workplace that adapts to how employees work.
“We’re extending VIP mobile experiences to everyone, whether employees, customers or partners,” Melkote says.
Simplified building and Wi-Fi access
Such experiences begin the moment an individual comes onto the premises, where using ClearPass Guest to integrate with ClearPass Exchange Partner, Envoy, simplifies access for visitors and contractors.
“Instead of manual sign-in processes, guests simply register once to gain both building and Wi-Fi credentials,” Melkote says. “Further, if an individual visits other companies with Envoy deployments, their registration information will automatically be provided to streamline those experiences.”
It’s a similar story for employees, who benefit from this streamlined system for their personal mobile devices.
Dynamic intelligence delivers optimal experiences
As employees and visitors move throughout indoor and outdoor spaces on the campus, seamless Wi-Fi connectivity is ensured via intelligence embedded in the wireless infrastructure.
"Using the advances within our solutions, such as machine learning and predictive analytics, we can monitor performance and make proactive adjustments for keeping experiences smooth and productivity high, "says Melkote.
"For example, we can mitigate data traffic storms that occur when hundreds of employees connect first thing in the morning," he adds.
Mobile UC over Wi-Fi significantly enhanced
Such Quality of Service (QoS) fine-tuning capabilities have also significantly enhanced the mobile UC experiences in Microsoft Skype for Business.
"Although we'd previously standardized on Skype for Business, which runs over our WLAN, employees now rely on it heavily for voice, presence and web conferencing," Melkote says.
"Also, in conference rooms, technology processes have been substantially streamlined, allowing meetings to start faster," he continues.
"Additionally, we added enhanced cellular coverage via Wi-Fi Calling for the four major national wireless carriers," says Melkote. "This eliminated the need for a dedicated wireless Distributed Antenna System (DAS). It ensures seamless roaming across campus and superior QoS by leveraging many of the same tools that we use for Skype for Business."
Apping Around Campus
Whether seeking an appropriate conference room, looking for an informal collaboration area, or just trying to find colleagues, the new Campus App makes things easy.
It starts with turn-by-turn directions to any location, including restrooms, break rooms, locker rooms and mothers' rooms. Plus, the app also presents real-time menu options at the onsite Café.
Efficiently locate collaboration spaces
To accommodate different sized groups and types of interactions, the campus includes almost 100 formal conference rooms and dozens more informal collaboration spaces.
These areas include various seating options and amenities, such as dual large-format video monitors for web conferencing, desktop sharing or PowerPoint presentations.
With the employee app, individuals and teams can quickly find an appropriate space to meet their needs.
Finding your friends
The employee app also helps pinpoint an individual's whereabouts anywhere on campus. It incorporates Aruba's location-awareness technologies and has an opt-in capability so that employees can choose to share their presence or keep it private.
"We've improved location accuracies considerably, allowing individuals to locate each other to within three meters," Melkote says. "Given several hundred potential spaces where an individual could be working at any given time, this is a critical enhancement."
Reserving Spaces a Snap
Aruba has simplified the conference room reservation process.
"We're partnering with meeting room management platform specialists TEEM and Robin, as well as incorporating Microsoft Office 365, to create an 'Uber-like' experience for conference room scheduling," Melkote says.
"Employees can book individual or recurring meetings by selecting the type of room and amenities they need," he adds.
What's more, Aruba built intelligence into the booking system to cancel recurring reservations if a meeting fails to materialize – by detecting the presence or absence of meeting participants – after a designated number of instances.
"Our solution ensures spaces are automatically released back into the pool for efficient utilization," says Melkote.
Wireless Projection Cuts Cords
Yet another advantage of the new building is wireless projection onto display screens in conference rooms, collaboration spaces and in the Customer Experience Center (CEC). Although cables will be available for legacy equipment, it's expected most employees and guests will opt for using their mobile devices.
"We're accomplishing wireless projection by combining the capabilities within our Aruba WLAN architecture with Apple's AirPlay, Google's Chromecast and the new Miracast Wi-Fi standard," says Melkote.
"Within a few seconds, individuals can project directly onto a large-format display from their Apple or Android mobile devices," he adds.
Modern Capabilities 'Work Flawlessly'
When employees moved into their modern facility, they quickly embraced the new paradigms.
"I'm impressed with the many workspace options, from quiet zones for one worker to expansive rooms for large group meetings," says Rick Reid, Healthcare Product Marketing Manager and one of the first employees to move into the new building.
"During the first few days I checked out each feature of the Campus App, including navigation, the café menu and Find-a-Friend to collaborate with others," he adds. "For conference booking, after specifying the floor and amount of time I required, the scheduling app gave me a list of options. In a few swipes, I was done."
In a testament to the effectiveness of wireless projection, Reid reports smoothly casting his smartphone to the CEC's big screen, in the presence of a VIP customer, having never done so before.
"It worked flawlessly," he says. "All of the tech in our new facility is dynamic, intuitive and easy to use."