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Aruba Boosts the AI-Driven IT/OT and IoT Edge into a Unified Platform

By Arti Loftus
September 11, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving a new age of computing, increasingly changing the way that traditional IT and OT systems are seen and being used, and in many cases as with legacy machine-to-machine (M2M) systems, replacing them entirely. IoT has the capability to alter every industry, from logistics to healthcare with advanced software applications that can monitor and control sensors, mobile devices, and a growing number of machines remotely. IoT enables flexibility, automation, and real-time monitoring for almost any environment from the cellular level. 

Unifying IT and OT systems and usages into a single centralized platform, businesses are able to remove inefficiencies and other challenges to interoperability, enhance automation, and expedite collaboration and innovation.

California-based Aruba is reshaping the network edge approach to better address the IoT through visibility, security, and AI/ML automation. As outlined in an announcement early last week, Aruba's Edge Services Platform (ESP) now delivers a fully programmable platform to generate contextual information about elements such as user and device identity, location, security posture, and applications in order to power more efficient decision making and what the company labels "AIOps."

Aruba is touting Aruba ESP as the first fully programmable platform to unify IT, IoT, and OT networks with zero-trust security and AIOps. Specifically, Aruba AIOps uses artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to continuously optimize, detect, isolate, and remediate network issues that impact reliability.

As sources of IoT, IT, and OT data expand, it becomes increasingly difficult to isolate the source of problems or optimize the infrastructure. This latest move continues the company's technology evolution concerning AI, cloud, and mobility at the network edge, and it hits on what it considers to be the most significant pain point for enterprises - management complexity.

With the announcement, Aruba ESP now brings cloud, on-site, and managed service support (via partners) to Aruba's Wireless LAN access points (Wi-Fi 6), its network switches, and SD-WAN gateways giving benefits across the spectrum of IoT/OT and IT assets. The network service offering is also available through HPE GreenLake, a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) offering recently introduced by Aruba that allows customers to pay for equipment and services monthly, as opposed to as an up-front expenditure.

"Within IT/OT/IoT environments, where thousands of events can happen, management and visibility are an enterprise's two greatest assets, as this drives more accurate automation." Says Patrick LaPorte, Sr. Director of Cloud and Software Marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. 

"Automated network response from insights into events makes the real difference. To that end, Aruba now offers substantial advantages through machine learning (ML) at the edge that can identify issues with greater than 95% accuracy and in many cases before they impact the business, and this is due to our delivering a comprehensive suite of mature AI Insights which only comes from years of experience across tens of thousands of global customers in the networking and security domains. Data science shapes effective AI/ML models, and this depth of understanding allows Aruba to automatically benchmark and monitor each customer installation more accurately, with much less disruption." LaPorte continued.

Putting technology to the test in these OT/IoT environments, Aruba has announced how its new technology is applied:

Hyper-aware Smart Buildings (Education, Healthcare, Hospitality, Retail, Government)

  • Building Control and Digital Twin enablement – Using native AI capabilities to create real-time simulation models that change and learn in lock-step with the building, Aruba partnered solution, the Microsoft Azure IoT platform, can create digital twins or software models to identify sub-optimized processes, recommend operational enhancements, and monitor the trajectory of energy usage needed for proactive interventions.

  • Context-aware, Real-time Integrated Emergency Response and Notification – During an incident, building occupants need real-time safety information pushed to their mobile devices, and first responders need to continuously communicate with those in possible danger. Aruba ESP, with integrated solutions from technology partners like CriticalArc and Patrocinium, can actively communicate with tenants, visitors, and staff, and use unique 4D graphics for first responders to quickly see where people are situated within buildings.
  • Seamless Extension of the 5G Footprint with Wi-Fi – Aruba ESP allows mobile operators to extend their 5G footprint into the building and seamlessly power Wi-Fi calling while delivering gigabit-class guaranteed performance using Aruba Air Slice technology. This provides seamless user experience and non-stop connectivity without the need for costly and complex distributed antenna systems.

"Machines, applications, and interfaces are typically tailored to each IoT, IT, and OT vertical application, driving complexity in network management. I have analyzed Aruba ESP and believe its architectural platform based on a unified infrastructure, zero-trust security, and AIOps has the potential to reduce complexity and accelerate smart facility and hyper-awareness use cases both on-prem and in the cloud." Asserts Will Townsend, IT & Cloud Senior Analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.

Aruba continues to focus its efforts on secure, intelligent edge-to-cloud networking solutions that use AI to automate the network while harnessing data to drive powerful business outcomes.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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