Aruba Atmosphere 2017, Nashville, TN Recap: Part 14 Minute Read

 In Networking

Aruba Atmosphere 2017 officially kicked off this morning at the Gaylord Convention Center in Nashville, TN to a sold out capacity crowd that includes over 90 CIO’s, 550 partners and 1600 Airheads.  The keynote speakers this morning were Guy Kawaski, who amongst other things was a chief evangelist of Apple having helped launch the Macintosh, as well as Aruba co-founder, Keerti Melkote.

Mr. Kawaski spoke about the importance of anticipating the next curve in your industry.  He stated that most companies define themselves by what they do and thus fail to revolutionize themselves.  He spoke of the example of how the Ice Industry began with harvesters who cut the ice out of frozen lakes many years ago.  Unfortunately, the ice harvesting industry gave way to the fruition of icemakers who actually made the ice and delivered it to the homes of their customers.  Few harvesters transitioned their organizations into manufacturing ice, as they could not conceptualize the need to manufacture something that universally already existed.  Of course, in the end, icemakers were disrupted and decommissioned due to the invention of the refrigerator.  Unfortunately, icemakers do not become refrigerator manufactures.  “Don’t miss the curve,” he stated several times, “or you could be deemed irrelevant.”  He also explained how companies cannot depend on their customers to tell you what they want.  They can tell you how to evolve what you already have (make it faster, smaller, cheaper) but cannot tell you what to revolutionary things they need.

Mr. Kawaski set the table for the real star of the morning, Mr. Melkote, who spoke about the philosophy that drives Aruba and the innovations that his company is focusing on.  Some of the mantras he touched upon included:

  • IoT (Internet of Things) allows organizations to obtain insight in real time
  • Aruba is redefining the power of the IT edge
  • Customers first, Customers last
  • Wireless will be the new network design defacto
  • Aruba Central is revolutionizing the branch office experience

Mr. Melkote discussed how virtualization was the biggest innovation of ArubaOS 8 and how that zero touch provisioning is a centerpiece for all of their products, including switches.  He then showed pictures and a video of their new building the company recently moved into.  “We moved into a new building because our customers believe in us,” he proudly announced.  Their new building boasts an open office design that is centered around the specific intention of maximizing the digital work experience.  “The image of the workplace is imperative in order to attract the innovative talent that your company requires,” he added.  Guests register at the front desk and enroll their devices into ClearPass.  The building showcases 100 conference rooms that employees can reserve using a system very similar to that of Uber.  Every facet of the new facility is designed around the core principle of leveraging the digital experience.

The subject of the new Aruba building transitioned perfectly into the introduction of James Robertson, CTO of Time Warner who discussed their own plans for their new facility in Manhattan and how Aruba innovation is playing a pivotal part in its design.  The new location is totally conceived with the philosophy of mobility first.  “Wired infrastructure is no longer the primary concern anymore,” stated Mr. Robertson.  He discussed how the facility will host over 400 collaboration areas for employees to meld and work in cohesion with one another.  Not only does this type of design make wireless imperative, but also requires mobile furniture as well.  IoT will also play a key role in the operations of the facility.

Another guest was Glenn Allison, ‎VP of Information Technology at Tractor Supply Company who discussed how Aruba mobile technology is helping them streamline their operations in order to server their customers better.  Each of their 1,600 store locations is being updated with Aruba technology in order to support mobile point of sale devices that will allow customer to purchase and pay for products that reside outside of the store, thus eliminating the necessity of returning into the store.

Mr. Melkote wrapped up his series of guests by inviting an IT leader of United Airlines who discussed how they are streamlining the operational experience of the company by standardizing their network with Aruba switches.  Each airport location will have the same models for both access and core switches.  The company is currently upgrading their fleet of 3,000 access point to over 11,000.  Every plane will be wireless from nose to tip.  This wireless transformation of their planes is not just about enhancing the wireless experience of their passengers.  It is about providing all of their employees to work wirelessly.  All of their bag scanners now use mobile devices for bag management, which has drastically improved baggage operations.  Guests are even complimenting the performance and speed of the wireless experience of their hospitality rooms as well.

The central hub of the conference is the Innovation Zone, which features the many products of Aruba.  This includes exhibit rooms that center on key industries such as healthcare, retail, education and hospitality, allowing conference attendees to witness how Aruba is helping to transform these industries.

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