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Aruba Atmosphere 15 years later: Beyond just a gathering of Airheads

If Aruba’s 2016 APAC Atmosphere message was, “Networks must be adaptable and be able to innovate,” Atmosphere’s message in 2017 returns to Aruba’s roots in security, with the launch of Secure Fabric 360, which leverages Aruba’s existing footprint in networked environments, and solidifies it with contextual intelligence.

In 2002, Aruba, notably came into existence because of the prevalence of WiFi usage. co-founder, VP and GM of Aruba Networking, Keerti Melkote described, “WiFi was everywhere and there was demand for secure mobility; you had to prove you are a valid user to gain access to network

As the login experience became a feature that is characteristic of Aruba Networks, they introduced secure network access control (NAC), ClearPass, to enable access to different users and different devices.

Keerti reminisced also that in 2002, network still wasn’t allowing us to really be away from our workplace. “If you can’t solve security, you can’t really embrace WiFi.

“As we looked at the whole thing, we wanted to bring a new engineering committee with us; one that wasn’t fixed on just networking and IP networking.”

This idea kickstarted a user conference called Airheads, which has since expanded to also include executives and technology and business partners who want to participate.

“It’s been over 15 years now, and Airheads is now Atmosphere, with nearly 1900 attendees this year,” Keerti shared.

Of this, 25-percent are new attendees.

Anything, but airheads

Aruba CTO, Partha Narasimhan, described the Airheads community, as an online and also offline, industry-wide forum for network engineers and users.

Popular topics include, new use cases for connected technologies, and even sharing of best practices.

As all these are collected and documented over time, they go into the Aruba Solution Exchange, which shares predominantly about configuration and network design principles.

Significantly, learnings from the Airheads community, are inputted into Aruba’s product roadmap, said Partha, who used to lead Aruba’s wireless product development.

One of the commitments Aruba made last year, was to ensure further its tight collaboration with Airheads, be it in the physical space or online space, as well as during regional events and local events.

Perhaps due to this, Aruba’s growth in APAC has been substantial, its wireless portfolio actually growing two times that of the industry.

Recap of applications

In a way, the opening keynote for ATM 2017, was also a nod to Aruba’s vision for adaptable networks, with Dr. Jordan Nguyen, a futurist and biomedical engineer, showcasing the work he was doing to enable more contribution by disabled folk.

For example, with only her eyes and connected technology, a young female with cerebral palsy was able to go on stage to hold her own rock concert.

Inspired by his survey findings that 1 in 20 people in his country of Australia, have mild to severe disability, but that they were more motivated, happier and wanting to contribute to society, Dr. Nguyen is involved in a number of projects that leverage connectivity and artificial intelligence, to basically build a technology bridge between the brain’s electrical impulses and physical objects like a vehicle, for example.

 

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