The Evolution of Aruba’s Smart Digital Workplace
When it comes to leading-edge design and technology in the workplace, Aruba, the networking business unit of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, believes strongly in, as some might say, "eating our own dog food” – or, as we prefer to say, "drinking our own Champagne.” A major headquarters relocation in 2017 gave Aruba the chance to push the state-of-the-art as a pioneer in the Smart Digital Workplace. We define Smart Digital Workplace as an integrated environment, optimized for the end user experience, management efficiency, environmental stewardship, and other forward-looking goals.
Through multiple phases of "Project Champagne,” we have been able to iterate and improve upon our vision. The more work we do toward our goals, the more opportunities we see to improve the workplace in order to better serve its stakeholders. Our approach employs not only our own networking, security, and location-finding technology, but also a best of breed ecosystem of partners and their offerings.
The story of Aruba’s Smart Digital Workplace journey started at our humble former headquarters location in Sunnyvale, California. Our corporate offices were located on a campus formerly occupied by Atari. The building boasted a futuristic exterior façade from the 1980s, and an interior design that complemented that design era: High-walled cubicle farms; closed, fluorescent-lit offices; and oversized conference rooms.
Laughable as it may sound in this new millennium, the vast majority of leasable office space still has similar qualities. Many spaces remain institutional-looking time capsules that don’t change. For example, wired desktop network connectivity (Ethernet) is no longer necessary for today’s computing needs, yet routinely continues to be deployed, anchoring down furniture and fixtures. Desktop phones are another example of a limiting technology that is no longer required in most cases. Designing spaces in this antediluvian manner all but assures that workplaces can’t change.
Starting in 2015, with support from our CEO and senior management, a team at Aruba decided to drive change, in concert with the planned physical move to Santa Clara. The Smart Digital Workplace project team, working with Corporate Real Estate, IT and other stakeholders, designed and built a set of workplace experiences that would leverage Aruba’s leadership in the foundational wireless technologies that were driving a new wave of companies who would soon redefine the high-tech industry and Silicon Valley itself. An emerging set of Internet titans were starting to attract talent not only through core products and innovations, but by creating more vibrant, dynamic workplaces to support agile teams, co-working, collaborative development, and other new modes of work. For many organizations, this flexibility was enabled by Aruba secure Wi-Fi technology that created an "all-wireless workplace.”
Aruba’s "Champagne” Project in a Bit More Detail
At Aruba, we’ve shared the same challenges as many other organizations and, prior to our 2017 headquarters move, we did not have a leading-edge workplace. Whether for recruiting creative talent in a red-hot job market or maintaining a culture of innovation, community and inclusiveness, we needed a new type of space to support our goals. We chose to take the innovation path.
Prior, during, and after the 2017 headquarters move, our mission was, and is, to create the "right space” to support our corporate goals for present and future. Additionally, we strove to create a living lab that could redefine the physical workplace itself with a mobile-first approach. This is the essence of Aruba Champagne.
The modern workplace is no longer just about things like cloud productivity tools, BYOD support and high-quality Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s a "bring your own app” and soon "bring your own experience” world, powered at your fingertips through an occupant experience app. Soon, physical space will adapt to users’ intents and needs automatically — leveraging the power of building IoT, mobile assistants and AI. Great spaces will be designed to continually adapt with the times.
Refining the Formulation
Through our two major "vintages” of Champagne, we’ve relentlessly aimed to reduce everyday friction for employees and guests. Whether it’s redefining the visitor check-in and space reservation process, new types of furnishing and fixtures, understanding the efficacy of an occupant experience app, or gaining real-time utilization assessments via IoT, we’ve likely integrated or tested it.
The Smart Digital Workplace is a group effort. In 2018, we publicly announced a comprehensive set of partnerships with a "who’s who” of the real estate and design world, in order to jointly tackle the unique intersection of technology and physical design. We’re starting to realize the fruits of our labor with our latest space buildout, which leverages the latest in furniture systems, technology integrations and automation.
It’s our core belief that building a high-performance smart workplace requires a mobile-first approach and a dynamic ecosystem of partners that can innovate at a faster pace than a single vendor. At the core, the workplace should be built on a world-class networking and security platform.
Today, the technology and workplace approach from Silicon Valley is not confined to just Silicon Valley and the Internet juggernauts and startups found there. All industry segments, from high tech to low tech, are turning to technology to foster continuous innovation. Building a modern workplace environment that stimulates corporate innovation, group collaboration and work-life balance is no longer a competitive advantage – it’s a competitive necessity.
We would encourage others to take the plunge – build support, learn, experiment, do POCs and pilots, and try to think about the rewards of integrating multiple technologies and designs into a first-class workplace experience. We have been able to use the lessons learned from Project Champagne to benefit our clients as well as ourselves.
This video provides more information about the Aruba Champagne initiative and its results.
This Week’s Sponsor
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is a leading provider of secure, intelligent networks that enable customers to thrive and deliver amazing digital experiences in the mobile, IoT and cloud era. We are changing the rules of networking to make it simple for IT and organizations to bridge the physical and digital worlds at the Edge. More information: arubanetworks.com.
The World’s Most Comprehensive Program on
CRE, Facilities, Technology & Innovation
The CoRE Tech 2019 education program connects you with global thought leaders and domain experts. It is designed to give Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, Energy, Sustainability and Technology professionals the insight and tools they need to be truly open to transformative change.
Join us and engage with experts discussing digital transformation, flex space and coworking, occupant experience, cybersecurity, privacy, AI and machine learning and more!
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
Convenience & Efficiency or Surveillance? Defining PRIVACY in Highly Connected Buildings - 4/2/2020
The increasingly connected building ecosystem of lights, sensors, mobile phones, cameras, voice assistants, fitness equipment, access control and more accelerates data-gathering and enables resource conservation, operational efficiency, enhanced experiences and financial optimization. On the other hand, these hyper-connected buildings also enable the potential for occupant surveillance. Building system sensors collecting, storing, analyzing, and in some cases interpreting data in every square inch of a building greatly challenge the concept of privacy. With the rise of privacy awareness and the introduction of regulatory compliance (such as GDPR in the EU and CCPA in California), building owners and operators are expected to demonstrate commitment to lawfulness, transparency, and data protection. This webinar will bring together industry leaders to discuss this timely topic and the obvious and unintended consequences of highly connected buildings.
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Brian Schwartz is responsible for Smart Building Infrastructure at over 50 centers portflio wide. He oversees the installation and support for CCTV, Wi-Fi, Energy Management, shopper counting, and DAS. Brian supports digital marketing initiatives including digital signage and property websites.
Emmanuel Daniel is responsible for building and delivering the Digital Transformation strategy for campuses across Microsoft and leads a global multidisciplinary team of architects and experience designers. He builds experiences that merge technology with the built environment, leading to the formation of spaces that respond to the needs of its users. He is also accountable for identifying, building and implementing the next generation of products that will make smarter and sustainable buildings.
Shahryar Shaghaghi, a Principal with CohnReznick Advisory and national leader of itsCybersecurity and Privacy Practice, is focused on helping clients with their cybersecurity strategy and transformation programs. By leveraging his extensive technology and risk management leadership experience garnered from his tenure with major consulting and financial services companies and his solid track record with complex and global implementations, Shahryar has successfully helped chief technology, risk, compliance, legal, finance, operations, and security officers achieve their goals and optimize their critical and strategic programs.
Charles was an early investor and advisory board member for Join. Charles was recently Co-CEO of a seed stage company developing advanced application-intent driven networking software for enterprises migrating to hybrid cloud. With nearly 17 years of leadership at Cisco, Charles most recently led development of automated software defined networking (SDN) platforms for Cisco, enabling Service Providers and Cloud companies to offer cloud-managed networking as a service to enterprises.
Alan has spent 20 years working with communication technologies, predominantly in healthcare. He has developed an expert understanding of the challenges facing healthcare and the significant value technology can deliver to overcome them. During his career he has had extensive experience in managing service and sales personnel, as well as selling, installing, and servicing complex solutions including nurse call systems, wireless phone systems, and real time locating systems. He is responsible for numerous successful implementations.