Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), has unveiled innovative workplace solutions and a new vision for three return-to-work scenarios – returning to the office and venues, working from home and ultimately, the office reimagined. Based on Aruba’s AI-powered, cloud-native networking solutions, each scenario provides pragmatic steps for organizations to expedite business recovery and implement contact tracing and touchless solutions that enhance the health and wellness of employees and visitors.
The new state of work will be much different from office life prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mandate to shut down non-essential physical offices tested the effectiveness of fully virtual workforces. Remote working can only be successful when the right networking technologies and tools are in place. We will return to many kinds of workplaces – traditional offices, homes, on the road – within which our safety must be ensured and between which we must move seamlessly without retraining or compromising.
Justin Chiah, senior director for Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong at HPE Aruba, commented: “Much of mission-critical work is now being done from the home or at locations away from the office, and businesses need to adjust their IT postures for this new normal. At Aruba, we have worked with customers during the pandemic to adapt and optimize their reimagined work environments at half a million sites worldwide. This allowed our customers to smoothly transition their office workforce to work from the safety of their homes as they carried out their business continuity plans and also to enable essential mobile workers to continue to be effective working remotely.”
Return to the Office and Venues
Traditional offices rely on AI-powered contact and location tracing tools to enable social and physical distancing monitoring solutions that make the workplace safer for workers, customers and partners. Through Aruba-led innovations or implemented in concert with Aruba Technology Partners, these solutions use IoT and Bluetooth radios already built into Aruba access points and managed from a single pane of glass. The solutions operate on customers’ existing Aruba infrastructure, eliminating the need for rip and replace, and leverage cloud-based applications that are easy to activate and affordable to deploy.
Contact and Location Tracing – Aruba will be releasing a new set of native contact and location tracing tools for existing customers based on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. For expanded capabilities, Aruba Technology Partners AiRISTA Flow, CXApp, Kiana Analytics, Modo Labs and Skyfii integrate with Aruba infrastructures to monitor social distancing and group sizes and generate contract tracing trees of potentially exposed individuals.
Contactless Visitor Management. In the new work environment, organizations are looking to avoid physical contact with front desk receptionists or using shared, self-service tablets for check-in. Aruba and its digital workplace partners such as Envoy allow preregistration, automated host notification and auto-generated individualized visitor Wi-Fi credentials – all with zero human-to-human contact.
Video and AI-based Health Monitoring. Proactive identifying and assisting of COVID-infected guests and employees keep everyone in the workplace safer. HPE Pointnext and Aruba’s technology partners can offer contactless thermographic solutions that measure forehead temperature of groups of people simultaneously. Ideal for lobbies and other high-traffic areas, the solution incorporates automated voice response and interfaces with access control portals.
Working from Home
An effective long-term work-from-home solution has to deliver a secure, enterprise-like experience that enhances creativity, efficiency and productivity. Aruba provides enterprise-class telework hardware coupled with plug-and-play installation, identity-based security and cloud native management for rapid, simple and scalable deployment. Field-proven since 2008, Aruba’s work-from-home solutions scale to accommodate organizations of any size and are available with FIPS 140-2 validation for defense-related telework.
Secure Remote Access to Business-Critical Resources – Aruba Remote Access Points (RAPs) and gateways extend access to enterprise applications and services hosted on-premises or in the public cloud, anywhere employees work. Compatible with broadband and cellular networks, RAPs provide both Ethernet and wireless connectivity so employees can use IP phones, VDI terminals, trading consoles and mobile devices at remote locations with the same security and quality of service they enjoy in the office.
Seamless, Secure Access While on the Road – Aruba Virtual Intranet Access (VIA) VPN software client provides secure connectivity to laptops, phones and tablets. Additionally, VIA includes an embedded firewall that intelligently segments traffic and enforces security policies down to each user.
The Office Reimagined
The recent trend for the modern corporate office – to deliver open, collaborative work spaces – will soon need to be revalidated. Moving forward, organizations are considering lasting changes in office layout and frequency of employee visits that are more on-demand and modular than ever before. This type of next-generation space poses challenges to traditional networking and security infrastructure intended for a static work environment.
The office will become increasingly smart using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IoT sensors and other capabilities that were invested in during the COVID-19 reopening phase, but then may be repurposed to provide employee experience-enhancing applications and security and crisis capabilities.
Magic Hsu, sales director and general manager, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam and Asia Emerging Countries at Aruba, said: “Many workers in the Philippines will continue to be telecommuting from home even when the community quarantine is lifted. Those that return to the workplace will need a safe environment that offers space for social and physical distancing but still designed for effective collaboration and communication. It is important that businesses here have a sound strategy to stay competitive and operate effectively with this new state of work in mind.”
Aruba has established relationships with key leaders in the field of office architecture, design and furnishings such as Herman Miller, whose products, in conjunction with Aruba’s AI-powered infrastructure, can help customers redefine next-generation spaces.
Fighting a Global Pandemic
Aruba is making this announcement after having taken up the battle against the pandemic on multiple fronts. This includes committing an approximately US$50 million worth of secure network connectivity kits globally.
Known as the Healthcare Connectivity Bundles, these are all-in-one healthcare networking solution kits. One bundle offers wireless LAN extension to existing healthcare networks to allow for the quick expansion of hospital capacity, and the other delivers cellular backhaul capabilities for the rapid set up of pop-up clinics, especially in areas where traditional broadband connectivity is limited.
The company also formed the Airheads Volunteer Corps, an opt-in-only registry of volunteers from its global technical user community known as Airheads, to assist in the building of network infrastructures for healthcare and medical facilities. Aruba created this registry with the intention of connecting those in need of IT skills with those who have the ability to help. Airheads who sign up have the final decision on how best they can respond to the needs in their local community.