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Aruba Networks' Keerti Melkote On COVID-19 ‘Accelerating’ Network Transformation Connectivity In Crisis

Aruba founder Keerti Melkote shares how the networking firm’s employees, partners and customers are setting up new networks on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, how Wi-Fi and 5G will work together to empower the next decade of innovation, and how any doubt around the importance of digital transformation has been “completely removed.”

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Is Aruba seeing new demand for different products today due to COVID-19? 

While healthcare and taking care of our frontline healthcare workers was the first priority for us, the real crazy surge in demand that we have seen is for the work from home or learn from home-type of scenarios. Clearly, the need is there for accessing applications. In a school's case, it's classroom applications, curriculum content, as well as access to video conferencing and the ability to do distance learning. That has triggered a need to create a stable, secure and usable experience for employees that are working from home or for students that are learning from home.

We built a Remote Access Point (AP) solution back in 2008 to combat the [H5N1 Avian flu] that had just broke out. Some customers in the financial services industry took advantage of the remote AP and deployed it in executives' homes to ensure that they had business continuity even when there was an epidemic going on. This time around, of course, COVID-19 is far more disruptive than what SARS was to the world and we're seeing every corporation, every industry, and every school figure out the means by which they can connect their users, be it employees, students or teachers, or in healthcare, telemedicine for doctors and nurses. There's a huge rise in the work from home use case and a dramatic increase in demand. The value proposition we offer is the transparent, secure and easy way to connect into a network. The alternative, of course, is the VPN client that everybody is used to. When you go to a workplace, you don't use the VPN -- the network is secure. Your device just automatically connects and you're off using your applications. The VPN was certainly not built to be an always-on type of solution; it was built for occasional use. What this remote AP architecture allows customers to do is to have a more stable always-on type connection in people's homes and really deliver a great user experience. Now, obviously, demand has gone through the roof on that particular product and so we are reacting to that in our supply chain to provide customers with the products when they need it. That's the Aruba approach.

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