Aruba Networks News
Betting on Wi-Fi: The Guest Experience
The wireless network is critical to the new guest experience in hospitality gaming environments. The days of providing a poor and costly wireless experience are in the past and organizations are working to make this an integral part of the stay. To be competitive now, the guest network must meet “three Is”—Intuitive, Intelligent, and Interactive.
An intuitive wireless network is one that has been designed with the guest use cases and needs in mind. For hospitality this is ubiquitous coverage with the bandwidth to do everything guests want to do—make Voice over Wi-Fi calls, Netflix, FaceTime, provide connectivity pool side, etc. Mobile apps and analytics are becoming a big part of this process to better help organizations engage and understand their consumer’s behavior in an effort to better refine their product which is quickly shifting away from purely gaming to a destination experience. In planning for these networks, meeting with line of business owners and getting outside of IT is critical for the initial planning and design, while maintaining those non-IT relationships is important to the refinement, improvement, and development of future services.
The intelligence component simplifies user experience by being aware of the user’s context and their preferences so that an organization can anticipate their users’ needs and populate choices within a mobile app based on location or proximity to areas of interest. Simple things like detecting a known user is on-site and adjusting their room environment to their preferences such as lights on or off, curtains opened or closed, and the temperature of their room. Enabling features like location-based food and beverage ordering both improve the guest experience and generate revenue for the property. Sensor networks can provide more data points that can be factors in the overall equation. Additionally, adding a layer of analytics that are aware of movement in the network and a specific user’s demographic information can help tailor the notifications or types of interactions that are made.
An interactive network defines the moments of engagement and is an opportunity to add some human elements to the process. These interactions should feel natural, for example some organizations are leveraging beacons and mobile app technology to notify employees of the presence of a VIP guest and allow for the employees to greet that person directly. This interaction while powered by technology is very personable and can make all the difference in that person’s daily experience. Using language localization on Smartphones could be a way to detect a large foreign group and automatically shift digital signage to their native language. People are sensitive to technical interactions that feel forced or artificial (e.g. push notification via SMS to a phone) however they are almost ubiquitously open to a human interaction that makes them feel singled out for being important to the business.
Building an intuitive, intelligent, and interactive networks takes careful planning and inclusion of a multidisciplinary team that combined have a firm grasp of the business and technology to ensure a well thought out design. Aruba’s suite of products and the open RESTful API structure are ideal for building this sort of environment.
The hospitality gaming space is one in which customer experience is paramount and the wireless network must support this experience. This series will explore some of the common mistakes made and offer tips for improving the experience. The casino hotel environment is composed of two primary components—the podium and the tower(s). The podium consists of the casino, retail, restaurant, entertainment, and convention space while the towers are the guest rooms. Much like any other wireless network, use cases are important and complicated areas like the podium should be broken down further, while the tower should be as homogenous as possible to ensure a consistent guest experience across the rooms. Throughout all spaces device density, device type, use cases, channel planning, SSID planning, etc. should be carefully considered.
Podiums are always a challenge due to the diverse needs. Breaking this down into parts—casino, retail, conference center, etc. helps tremendously. Each should be designed according to its layout with use cases in mind. Care should be taken to coordinate channel selections with vendors who require their own wireless network. Ideally these should be placed on a secure VLAN tied to an 802.1x-based SSID. ClearPass is a huge asset in reducing the number of SSIDs in a location such as this. Planning for density on the gaming floor, especially support for Wi-Fi connected gaming systems such as the card tables, is key. These devices sit low and can be crowded on a busy Friday or Saturday night. Ensuring they can get back to an access point may mean APs mounted under tables, under a raised floor, or with line of sight through the pit to a nearby access point. As casinos integrate additional devices, such as robots, this density requirement becomes even more important.
The hospitality tower(s) should have a consistent experience throughout, ensuring that there are no “good rooms” or “bad rooms” from a wireless perspective. Hallways and back of house areas should not be overlooked as many hotels are providing technology for their housekeeping teams to be more efficient. In general, these rooms have lower densities, however the users expect high quality experiences in their rooms. With the trend to charge a “resort fee” often exceeding $25 or more, it is essential that these networks just work. I advocate standardization of access points (e.g. all AP-305s) and tend to use lower end access points for this space due to the cost of each one. The type of access point varies between a traditional ceiling mounted AP or a “hospitality AP” that is meant to wall mount, typically determined by the state of the network installation—wall mount APs are typically part of a refresh while ceiling mount APs are typically done on greenfield installs. AP density should be such that lower data rates can safely be pruned and that the cell sizes are small, but adequately reach into the corners of each room and the main hallway.
I am interested in what the Airheads community has seen in their travels—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
To prevent mass hunger, the world will have to double its food production by 2050
With the global population swelling to nine billion people by 2050, the world will have to double its agricultural output or face the risk of mass starvation. To tackle this critical problem, Purdue University’s world-renowned College of Agriculture has partnered with HPE and Aruba to launch a new digital ag program that uses the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to gather, transmit, and analyze field data. The ultimate goal: more effective ways to sustainably grow nutritious, healthy, and abundant food for a hungry planet.
How much irrigation is enough? What seeds grow best in a particular soil? Do they need more fertilizer? Answers to such questions spell the difference between paltry and abundant crop yields in a world that must double its agricultural output sustainably over the coming decades to prevent global food shortages.
Quick-response, data-driven farming decisions can revolutionize food production
Digital agriculture makes it possible to gather, transmit, analyze and respond to conditions in the field as never before. At Purdue’s 1,408-acre Agronomy Center for Research and Education, sensor data is sent via the Aruba wireless network to HPE Edgeline IoT Systems and then to a high-performance computing data center for analysis and AI development.
Purdue, HPE, and Aruba have developed new AgTech innovations, such as solar-powered mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for recording field data and next-generation adaptive wireless equipment for farm-scale wireless connectivity. These technologies enable Purdue to gather, transmit, and analyze field data more efficiently and effectively. Researchers will in turn better understand how soil conditions, plant growth, and other factors can help farmers make better in-the-moment decisions—and also support informed public policy. Ultimately, the researcher promises effective new ways to sustainably grow more nutritious, healthy, and abundant food for a hungry planet.
“Digital agriculture creates exciting opportunities to increase the efficiency, quality, and sustainability of global food production. Data from sensor networks can be analyzed to inform farming decisions and even public policy,” Patrick Smoker, Department Head/Director, College of Agriculture Information Technology, Purdue University. “Purdue’s relationship with HPE and Aruba plays a critical role in reducing the time it takes to translate scientific research into technologies to enhance food security and improve lives around the world.”
With the global population approaching nine billion people, agricultural productivity must double sustainably to prevent world hunger. By transforming data into actionable intelligence, the Internet of Things drives efficiency breakthroughs on which humanity’s future depends.
Learn more about Purdue’s digital agriculture initiative in this video.
It’s no secret that professional sporting venues are competing with the new 65-inch flat screen Ultra HDTV you just purchased. It probably has a soundbar with surround sound, too. Not to mention the bargain price of the beverages in your refrigerator. Why not just stay home for the next game?
Today, venues are looking to create experiences that staying at home can’t duplicate. To provide fans with something that gets them off of the couch, the Orlando Magic knew that a mobile app would be a key component. Now when you walk into the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, you get the best the home court has to offer.
Created in collaboration with Aruba and VenueNext, the Orlando Magic’s new mobile app is the latest example of how leveraging mobile engagement is making a difference for fans in the NBA.
Game-winning adoption rate with VenueNext
An impressive 90% of season ticket holders have used features in the app. One of the keys to this success is the integration that VenueNext provides. With the VenueNext backend platform, the mobile app isn’t just for seeing the team roster (which, BTW, is part of the app), but it provides so much more value. Season ticket holders can manage their tickets, exchange tickets they can’t use for “Magic Money” that can be spent like cash at the Amway Center, conveniently pay for parking, upgrade seats, and shop for team gear in the marketplace.
Getting around with Aruba
Aruba Beacons installed throughout the Amway Center make the mobile app location-aware. This enables a personalized fan experience based on their current location, and where they want to go. If a fan wants to meet friends in an onsite restaurant before the game, the app gets them there using turn-by-turn directions.
Choose Express Pickup to preorder food and pick it up on your way to your seat. And if you use the In-Seat Delivery option, you won’t miss any of the game – your food comes to you. If you are feeling generous, you can even have food and drinks delivered to your friends!
Credit card information is securely stored in the app to make mobile purchases quick and easy. You can even just scan a QR code at any Quick Pay station to make a purchase without cash and grab a drink.
Keys to Success
From my point of view, the magic to the success in Orlando is the full-featured integration and personalization that the mobile app provides. Allowing fans to have unique experiences based on their preferences is helping to get fans off of their couch and into the arena. This app is a slam dunk for the Orlando Magic fans with assists going to VenueNext and Aruba!
Check out this video to hear from the CEO and CMO of the Orlando Magic on the value of location services.
Tim Vanevenhoven is a Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at Aruba.
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Higher education has paved the way for many of the technologies we use today. With a unique set of demands and workloads comes a unique set of problems. Laptops and mobile devices have infiltrated the classrooms causing distraction to the teaching process. The future classroom is well connected with professors utilizing Wi-Fi to their advantage to create an interactive learning experience. As we prepare for this shift, we look at some mistakes that must be avoided.
1) Not Getting Buy-In
When it comes to Wi-Fi in the classroom, you must get buy-in from the right people. Meet with building management about installing a Wi-Fi solution to help professors use technology in their teaching. It’s difficult for building management to visualize new Wi-Fi hardware. Bring APs and mounts that would be used in the classroom. Remind them it’s to new teaching and learning methods.
One of the easiest supporters will be the professors. Professors are your best resource in acquiring funds for new Wi-Fi deployments. Once the service is requested by more teachers, the campus budget committee begins allocating more funds to the project.
Everyone must have the common background to reach the end goal with minimal pushback. Start here, with buy-in for any classroom Wi-Fi project.
2) Disregarding Aesthetics
It’s almost a cardinal sin to install an AP that clashes with architectural design. Installing new Wi-Fi in historic buildings can be extremely complicated and frustrating. The campus wants to maintain the original look and feel but you’re tasked with ensuring the campus is moving forward with new technology.
Ignoring the aesthetics of a building is the quickest way to get left out of future project planning.
You will want to work with the architects and their team members to prevent less-than-ideal cabling locations. Help educate them on why you need APs placed according to a design.
Giving the architects options shows them you’re a resource willing to help lend to their architectural designs without compromising the quality of Wi-Fi.
3) No Planning & Design
The Achilles heel of Wi-Fi is one no plan and design. Classrooms and lecture halls are dense with devices. Start by speaking with the professors. Understand how they want to use Wi-Fi.
The challenges are increased with students bringing in their own devices, creating a BYOD environment.
Wi-Fi is being used to create an interactive learning experience.
The approach we must take is to design and architect a Wi-Fi network to meet the requirements of classroom activities using capacity planning, predictive and validation surveys, and the selection of proper antennas and mounting solutions. You wouldn’t build a house without planning it and making a blueprint first.
The most common mistake in configuration is to allow a WLAN system to automatically make configuration decisions without tuning.
Many engineers leave auto-RF settings to their defaults. Configuration must be based upon the design for the classroom. And knowing what exactly those knobs do is just as critical as the design.
Understand what results there may be for specific settings, such as using higher minimum data rates, disabling low data rates, transmit power selections, wider channel widths, etc. Poor configuration and optimization leads to a poor user experience.
Upon completing configuration, perform a validation survey to ensure the deployment matches the design and meets the requirements.
5) No Monitoring
Working with unlicensed spectrum will gather its own set of issues. In order to support teaching and learning in the classrooms we must be proactive. Having no monitoring in place is a big mistake for a large environment supporting professors and students.
There are certain metrics and thresholds to monitor which will indicate the overall health of the Wi-Fi network. More advanced tools can drill in further to specific APs and groups of APs for accurate results down to near real-time.
Monitoring will reveal issues which may not be apparent to the end users. Issues such as retry rates, poor roaming, and average throughput. Have a system which can monitor end user experience so IT can respond quickly.
Wi-Fi is not a set and forget it technology. The unlicensed spectrum is susceptible to a variety of issues. We must treat it as a lifecycle - from planning to design, configuration, monitoring, optimization, and back again to planning. Buy-in from stakeholders help Wi-Fi objectives get closer to completion. Let everyone know how APs affect the aesthetics of the environment. It’s important to respect the look and feel of a room. Once we get past those hurdles, don’t forget to plan and design to requirements. Identify the everyone’s needs. Audit configurations of your WLAN infrastructure. Understand what each setting does and what the ramifications are. Then validate the implementation with a survey. Continue to monitor closely and make changes to improve the experience.
2017 was a big year for digital classrooms. Mobile first digital learning spread throughout K-12 districts nationwide, and it also saw an also explosion of IoT-powered devices—for almost everything related to learning. From Apple TV in the classroom to a weather station for the science lab; the automation of tedious tasks, such as taking attendance, via location-based technologies; and the growing use of big data to help personalize learning, IoT was the name of the game.
We see five key technology trends for 2018 that promise to deliver significant impacts in classrooms and across districts.
- No end in sight for IoT. Whether in classrooms or throughout your facilities, IoT-enabled demands will only accelerate in 2018. For instance, learning to write computer code that results in a new “thing” on your network for each student project, be it a gaming device or a robot. And that’s hardly all. As school networks include new devices like 3D printers and lawn sprinkler sensors, segmented, secure connections are essential to control network traffic and keeping educational applications safe.
- Security gets smarter. Last fall, the Department of Education warned K-12 districts about the rise of cybercriminals who are targeting schools with schemes such as extortion, where bad actors use ransomware to take sensitive student data hostage and demand compensation. Earlier this year, the FBI also released a notification to schools warning them of threats to schools by a group known as TheDarkOverlord (TDO). The security clock is ticking in every district, making it imperative to invest in security tools designed to help identify and remediate threats faster than ever.
- Digital realities become classroom realities. A year made all the difference between “novelty” and “applicability” for augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR). Across the curricular landscape, 2018 will bring relevant applications for AR/VR, such as placing students inside of biological specimens or transporting them back in time to experience historical events. The downside? Significantly increased network traffic that IT teams need to manage effectively to keep all types of learning projects humming.
- IT goes utility. Another trend that will rev up in 2018 is shifting away from the traditional premises-based IT model and toward purchasing and managing IT infrastructure from the cloud. With technology delivery advances and cost-effectiveness, moving the cost of IT infrastructure into operating budgets are becoming more attractive than asking taxpayers for major capital funding every three to five years.
- New K-12 paradigms arise from regional disasters. Just as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita forever changed educational paradigms when districts rebuilt from the ground up, in 2018 we’ll see a similar—but more widespread—phenomenon. Districts hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria—or consumed by West Coast wildfires—will begin adopting new educational models which will ultimately affect education nationwide for years to come.
Now that you’re armed with the insight into key digital classroom trends, the next step is to create a game plan on how to best exploit this knowledge.
Ready to go deeper? Read my article in EdTech Digest to learn which strategies K-12 IT staffs are using to take full advantage of these trends and their potential for boosting educational and organizational effectiveness.
Federal networks are under siege. Bad actors want to steal classified information or other high-value data like Social Security numbers, research data, healthcare records or soldier training information. Cyberattacks can disrupt mission operations, foment geopolitical turmoil and provide a big payday for criminals.
Cybersecurity is a top priority for Federal CIOs. Insider threat, training and workforce development, and phishing were identified as the most pressing cyber threats, according to Grant Thorton’s 2017 Federal CIO Survey.
As Federal CIOs modernize IT systems to increase efficiency and enhance digital services, they are also enhancing cybersecurity. The shift to mobile and cloud have streamlined operations and lowered burdensome operations and maintenance costs, but these same innovations have also rendered the time-tested perimeter-focused security approach insufficient.
Ensuring cybersecurity has always been mission-critical, but with more users, more devices and more data in more places, it’s exponentially more difficult. Whether through phishing, ransomware or other malware aimed at personnel and their devices, attackers are successfully breaching the network perimeter undetected. There are threats from within as well: Attackers may be disgruntled staff, dismayed with the Administration, or simply finding out what they can get away with. The proliferation of smart, connected IoT devices further expand the attack surface. Cyber risks – and successful attacks – are rising.
Without clear visibility into attack behaviors inside the network, attackers are free to steal or destroy sensitive data or disrupt operations. The dwell time of malware is significant: Cyberattackers operate undetected for an average of 99 days, according to the 2017 Mandiant M-Trends Report.
Now factor in the widespread shortage of cybersecurity professionals. Industry experts predict 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2025, up from 1 million openings in 2016. The surging need is not a surprise, either, as four years ago, the RAND Corporation called the “shortage of cybersecurity professionals a risk to national security.”
The cybersecurity skills shortage impacts both public and private sectors, but recruiting and retaining qualified cybersecurity personnel has always been challenging for government agencies, given the long hiring process and pay that isn’t equitable with the private sector. The cybersecurity problem is getting harder, and there are fewer experts available.
It’s Time for Analytics-Driven Active Cyberattack Detection and Response
Analytics-driven attack detection and response, along with a secure network foundation, can help Federal close the cybersecurity gap.
That is the goal of Aruba 360 Secure Fabric framework. 360 Secure Fabric gives IT teams visibility into active attacks and allows them to identify and mitigate advanced threats. Security and network teams have a seamless path from user and device discovery and access control to analytics-driven attack detection and response, all based on policies set by the organization.
Aruba ClearPass is the keystone of 360 Secure Fabric. ClearPass provides proactive network profiling, access control and policy management. ClearPass covers the entire range of access control – wired and wireless, guest and BYOD onboarding – and provides policy-based remediation and attack response. In January 2018, ClearPass became the first network access control solution in the industry to achieve Common Criteria certification.
Aruba IntroSpect User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is an additional key element of the 360 Secure Fabric framework. IntroSpect detects attacks by spotting small changes in user, device or system behavior that often indicate exploits that have evaded traditional security monitoring and analytics. IntroSpect integrates advanced AI-based machine learning, visualizations, and instant forensic insight, so that attacks involving malicious, compromised or negligent users, systems or devices can be found and remediated before damage is done.
To extend the security ecosystem, more than 100 third-party systems can add context to ClearPass and IntroSpect and strengthen network policies. ClearPass natively integrates with firewalls, mobile device management, SIEM, single sign-on and many other solutions to deliver end-to-end visibility and policy enforcement.
360 Secure Fabric is predicated on the Aruba Secure Core, an analytics-ready infrastructure with embedded security. Core security capabilities are built into all of Aruba’s wireless access points, switches, routers and controllers. Aruba supports FIPS encryption, and Aruba Mobility Controllers have been Common Criteria-certified since 2014.
Aruba has long been at the forefront of delivering high-performance, highly reliable and secure wired and wireless networks to all parts of the Federal market, and with 360 Secure Fabric, we underscore that commitment.
Read the blog on ClearPass’s new Common Criteria certification by Jon Green, Aruba Federal CTO.
Learn more about IntroSpect UEBA.
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Dolan Sullivan is Vice President of Federal Sales at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.
Aruba helps IT make the shift.
As organizations rely more heavily on technology to deliver users faster and better ways to perform their jobs, line-of-business executives are asking IT to shift from focusing on network break/fix activities to rolling out new services, like unified communications and location-based apps. Unfortunately, the network that the business relies on won’t fix itself, just yet.
During conversations with customer business and technology stakeholders, we started to hear that they want more automation and service-oriented IT tools. One customer mentioned that he never wants his IT team to sit in front of a management screen. His expectation is that an alert tells someone when something is wrong and there’s also an element that describes what to fix.
The role of IT is definitely changing.
Based on these discussions, we started to group management and ops features into categories so that we could better describe how Aruba technology helps IT teams make the shift. Instead of just talking about zero-touch provisioning to help speed up a deployment, the idea of grouping multiple features under a “Planning and Deployment” umbrella started to resonate.
While SNMP, CLI, and logs aren’t going away soon, but market demand for greater intelligence and pinpoint visibility has led us to introduce the idea of Experience-driven Operations Management. The takeaway is that we’ll start to develop features and deliver collateral that tells a better together story for our management and operations solutions, regardless of whether you’re looking at on-prem (Aruba AirWave) or cloud-managed (Aruba Central) solutions.
The new model.
In addition to Planning and Deployment, there are four other categories where features or solutions will be used to highlight their capabilities and value:
- Security Services
While we’re only showing a subset of features within each category, as the content is created we’ll expand on what falls into each category to solve use cases in a holistic manner. For instance, when describing how analytics help improves network performance, we’ll provide insight into what can be used for wireless as well as wired use cases.
The five categories.
Again, the idea is to provide you with the insight and guidance on how to better manage and operate your networks – even if they’re multivendor.
What are your biggest challenges with infrastructure management and operations? Tell us in the comments below.
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There’s no doubt that in today’s mobile-first world, great Wi-Fi is an expectation of every employee, customer and partner who walks through your door. Innovative organizations are going beyond great connectivity and leveraging another capability inherent in enterprise-grade wireless networks – and that is location services. Employees are comfortable using location-based apps outside the office to find a good restaurant near them, hail a shared ride, or track down their keys. At Aruba, we’re seeing rapid growth of organizations using location for mobile engagement and asset tracking to bring the next level of productivity and innovation into their workplaces.
Here are five trends that we see for how mobile engagement and asset tracking will transform the workplace this year:
- Employee-only mobile apps. We’re seeing more companies creating internal mobile apps. With these apps, businesses are enabling their employees to access information while they are on the go. To start, these mobile apps put the corporate intranet in the palm of every employee’s hand. The next step is to use apps to take the frustration out of common tasks like finding and booking conference rooms. Turn-by-turn directions get employees to the meeting on time. Location sharing enables other employees to find them easily while on campus.
- A more efficient use of workspaces. People want to choose where and how they work. With a number of people out of the office on travel or in conference rooms for meetings, many employees don’t need a dedicated workspace anymore. We are seeing organizations shifting to hot desking, where the employee reserves a desk for a day or even a few hours. Often times the reservation is done with a mobile app – sometimes just by placing the mobile device on the desired desk! Based on where people are, building lighting and temperature can be automatically adjusted based on occupancy. In addition, location services are making it easier for people to find their way around a sprawling campus or can help find someone at their desk of the day.
- High-value asset tracking. In healthcare, we are seeing demand from hospitals that want to track assets like heart rate monitors and infusion pumps using low cost tags and a mobile app. We are also seeing strong growth of asset tracking in other sectors, too, but healthcare definitely has a larger variety of assets to track. With Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) based tags, high-value assets can be easily tracked to ensure they’re available when and where they’re needed. Better tracking can improve employee productivity, and more timely service can improve patient satisfaction scores such as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS).
- Location-based analytics for real estate optimization. With real estate cost being second only to employee salaries, companies everywhere are looking to better utilize the real estate they have. In a digital workplace, these decisions can be data-driven. Data from conference room booking systems, hot-desk usage, Wi-Fi usage and mobile app analytics can be used to get the most of this expensive resource. And with clear, reliable data for how and where people work, meet and eat, businesses can make sure that their workplaces fit their needs.
- Real-time emergency notifications. Many organizations have emergency notification systems to keep their employees informed if there’s a natural disaster like a fire or a hurricane or if there’s an active shooter on campus. Increasingly, businesses, education institutions and government agencies are adding real-time mobile app indoor location capabilities to their emergency notification procedures. Alerts can be sent to employee mobile devices and customized based on people’s locations, which makes them more useful and powerful.
While this list is not everything that we’re seeing, it’s what customers are talking about most. Expect to hear more from us about how Aruba can help in these five areas.
Learn more about Aruba’s location services.
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I was not surprised to see that improved student outcomes was one of the overarching themes of the EDUCAUSE 2018 Top 10 Issues, solidifying the importance of digital technology in remaking higher education. It makes sense, given that the primary mission of a higher education institution is to produce graduates. As I think back to conversations I have had over the past year with IT professionals, it should also not come as a surprise that improved decision making and institutional adaptiveness were the other two themes identified by EDUCAUSE. More now than anytime during the past 10 years, IT is being brought to the collaborative table to solve not only connectivity demands, but to help design and deliver system, tools, and information that promotes institutional and student success, and doing so in a way that isn’t guesswork, but driven by data and insights.
What I do find hard to wrap my head around, however, is what it must feel like sitting in the CIO chair, tackling all of these issues. I am fairly confident that they must feel IT adaptiveness, the fourth overarching theme, is connected to almost all of their IT issues – that they must be agile in their response to new network demands, new instructional tools, new IoT enabled environments, new security concerns, new campus wide initiatives, new construction, new research initiatives, and so on.
My View on IT Adaptiveness
Although the official EDUCAUSE Top 10 list connects IT adaptiveness to only two issues, I’ll make a small stretch and say it goes further than that. Here is how I see this theme connected to the top 5 issues.
#1 Issue: Information Security
While utilizing student, faculty, and IoT devices can introduce benefits in enhanced instruction, efficiency, and cost-savings, they can introduce challenges for IT departments ensuring security. With the tens of thousands of devices on the network, and internal threats equally as important to detect as external threats, adopting smart and adaptive network systems that use real-time automation and machine learning for turning the network into a threat mitigation solution is more important than ever.
#2 Student Success and #5 Student-centered Institution
For the always-on connected student, it is difficult to be academically successful when connectivity challenges happen. Additionally, students expect personalized learning and living, oftentimes engaging using their phone. The expectation is that connectivity is a home-like experience – it just works. Being able to adapt the network and/or digital tools and applications quickly to meet the demands of students not only builds a student-centered institution, but also gives institutions a competitive advantage as a tech-savvy institution.
#3 Institution-wide IT Strategy and #4 Data-enabled Institutional Culture
Considering that a campus is like a city, it is no surprise that it might have distinct IT groups, each working towards their own goals. Over the past two years, there has been an increased effort to improve cross-department collaboration. With technology innovations moving toward the cloud and software, it is a prime time to look institution-wide to see where working better together makes sense. With an institution-wide IT strategy, data-driven decision making can be used as business intelligence to improve facilities, assist campus safety, reduce carbon footprint, save budget, and support student success initiatives.
Automation is Key
Being agile and adaptable is not as hard as it used to be. Network optimization via automation is a key feature that CIOs should be looking to for help. For example, empowering IT with intelligent and simplified networking tools to gain information from the network, and understand how it is impacting user experience BEFORE there are complaints helps students be successful. Machine learning that provides insights for optimizing the network is also needed, especially with challenges related to staffing. I encourage you to look at the Aruba Higher Education page for solutions that are a great match for delivering an adaptable campus network.