Beacons: Aruba Networks Extends Solution

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  January 14, 2016

Aruba Networks (News - Alert) is doing some pretty cool stuff with beacons at Levi’s Stadium and elsewhere in the world. And in late 2015 the company unveiled new solutions that will enable it to take the solution it helped put in place at the home field of the San Francisco 49ers, and similar solutions it has in place at other clients, to the next level.

New from Aruba Networks are a cloud-based beacon management sensor for multivendor Wi-Fi networks and beacon analytics. Aruba Networks is also expanding its developer partner program for the Meridian Mobile App Platform, as Alan Ni, head of vertical marketing at Aruba Networks, told me in a recent interview at TMC (News - Alert) Editor’s Day.

The company two years ago acquired Meridian, a company that specialized in mobile engagement by creating a digital relationship between public venues and their visitors. This solution was initially based on Wi-Fi, Ni explained, but when Aruba Networks started work on the Levi’s Stadium project the organizations involved in the deployment figured out that Wi-Fi accuracy wouldn’t adequately support the turn-by-turn location functionality they wanted to deliver. So Aruba Networks introduced its Aruba Beacons, which are based on Bluetooth Low-Energy.

Levi’s Stadium was among the early installations. The venue leverages Aruba Beacons, Aruba Wi-Fi, and the Meridian platform, and it worked with VenueNext to create the mobile app that allows for indoor navigation to help visitors more easily locate resources such as in-venue bathrooms, food and beverage concessions, and gift shops – and get real-time information about where the bathroom and concession lines are the shortest.

Other Aruba Networks customers include the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Orlando International Airport, and the University of Oklahoma. So that was the 1.0 launch.

Aruba Networks now is in 2.0 mode with its Mobile Engagement solution, which involves the ability of its solution to manage access points and endpoints from other vendors. For example, Aruba Networks is now working with various digital signage companies so its solution can work with software from Robin to sense if someone has walked into a conference room (or not) and the sign outside that room can then let others know the space is occupied (or is available), Ni explained. He said that Aruba Networks is also looking to partner with companies in the academic and hospitality verticals to enable additional tie-in applications. In addition to Robin, Aruba Networks has partnerships with user experience design and app development agency Forge Media + Design and custom mobile app creator VenueNext, with which Aruba Networks worked on the Levi’s Stadium engagement.

Edited by Maurice Nagle