Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

HPE Aruba uses wifi to implement asset tracking

Steve Rogerson
June 20, 2017



Hewlett Packard Enterprise subsidiary Aruba has announced an addition to its location-based services portfolio that helps organisations track assets, resulting in improved efficiency and lower capital and operational costs associated with misplaced assets.
 
The asset tracker is integrated into the Aruba wireless infrastructure, enabling simplified, fully integrated deployments at reduced costs.
 
Organisations worldwide lose millions of dollars every year on high-value items and inventory that are misplaced, lost or stolen. Furthermore, employees and customers suffer from lost productivity and poor experiences.
 
These problems are particularly prevalent in industries such as healthcare, where items such as IV pumps and heart defibrillators are easily misplaced, resulting in 25 per cent of hospital staff’s time wasted looking for these assets and negatively impacting quality of care. In retail and warehousing, items that can’t be located quickly mean wasted time for employees, delayed order fulfilment for customers and, often, a loss of revenue for the retailer.
 
Aruba asset tracking addresses these challenges with a system that is integrated into its wifi infrastructure, eliminating the need for a separate network. Organisations also gain the benefits of accurate tracking of important items using either an intuitive, map-based mobile app or by integrating with organisations’ existing tracking systems.
 
This software allows Aruba Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled access points and sensors to act as asset tag observers, creating a sensory network that provides added value to organisations with existing Aruba wireless infrastructure. In essence, it allows their wifi infrastructure to double as an asset-tracking network.
 
BLE-enabled tags are slightly larger than a US quarter coin, making them suitable for items that range in size from IV pumps in a healthcare setting to pallets of goods in a warehouse. The tags are designed to meet environmental requirements and come with multiple attachment options.
 
The company’s configuration app makes set-up and on-going management of the tags simpler. Assets can be designated with names, photos and optional IDs so that like assets can be searched for easily. Changes can be performed quickly, near the assets, and all data are automatically saved in a central cloud database.
 
Organisations can create their own asset-tracking app for iOS or Android with the Meridian AppMaker. The AppMaker provides an SDK and APIs for seamless third-party integration and custom use cases.
 
Key to the success of Aruba’s existing location-based services and mobile engagement portfolio has been the Meridian engage partner programme. Customers have leveraged app developers to integrate and build value-added mobile apps for iOS and Android that are used with the Meridian mobile app platform and Aruba mobile engagement portfolio. Aruba is extending the programme beyond Meridian app developers to include Meridian asset tracking partners such as Emerge, Raizlabs, Stanley Healthcare and VenueNext.
 
“We are pleased to deepen our existing relationship with Aruba for location solutions in healthcare,” said Raz Evenor, director of product management at Stanley Healthcare. “Our MobileView platform combines the widest range of real-time visibility with advanced analytics for hospitals to increase safety and security for patients and staff, drive operational efficiency, and ultimately deliver a better patient experience. As technology and network infrastructure evolve, we are always looking for new ways to expand choices for our customers. This partnership with Aruba for BLE-powered asset tracking gives our healthcare customers an additional cost-effective option for management of mobile medical assets.”
 
Aruba Meridian services from HPE Pointnext provide its customers and partners worldwide with the expertise needed to take advantage of location-based services to engage with mobile users in any organisation or public-facing venue. These services can help augment customer IT and Aruba partner teams to provide the capabilities needed for the design and development of mobile applications with the Meridian platform.
 
Aruba asset tracking is one of the intelligent edge innovations that Aruba unveiled at HPE Discover. Aruba also introduced its 8400 core switch series, a core aggregation switch that delivers the performance, power, automation and troubleshooting capabilities necessary to address the challenges of mobility, cloud and IoT inherent in networks today.
 
“Aruba asset tracking has the potential to help VMI save significant man-hours and reduce the overall costs associated with locating and tracking our vehicles during their 48 stages of production,” said Michael Kell, director of IT for Vantage Mobility International (VMI), a supplier of wheelchair-accessible vans. “Additionally, with up to 2000 vehicles on our site at any given time, the manual process of identifying and locating a specific vehicle when needed for audit, or tracking one during a particular stage of production, is time-consuming and inefficient. With Aruba asset tracking, we hope to automate this process and create new efficiencies for our staff as well as speed delivery of vehicles to our customers.”
 
As a venue technology company, VenueNext provides healthcare companies with better operational awareness and efficiency via location and mobile experiences.
 
“Our customers have been asking for asset tracking that delivers visibility for critical assets with location accuracy, while also integrating with our existing application platform,” said Scott Rehling, vice president at VenueNext. “By leveraging Aruba’s asset tracking we can provide the added functionality requested by utilising customers’ wifi and beacon infrastructure, resulting in operational efficiencies.”
 
Emerge is a digital experience agency that leverages user-centred design and custom application development to solve complex problems quickly and address untapped opportunities.
 
“With the addition of asset tracking capabilities to the Aruba mobile engagement platform we can now offer our customers an innovative tool to use their mobile applications to increase productivity and customer experience in their facilities,” said Julian Pscheid, chief technology officer of Emerge Interactive. “Whether by providing front-line employees instant visibility into critical equipment location, connecting real-time asset locations to Meridian indoor turn-by-turn navigation and personalised push-notifications, or integrating location data with legacy systems, we look forward to incorporating Aruba’s asset tracking into our customers’ enterprise ecosystems.”
 
Raizlabs designs and builds iOS, Android and web apps for start-ups and big brands.
 
“Our team is constantly exploring new and emergent technologies in an effort to deliver the best possible solutions to leading competitive enterprises,” said Jason Petralia, president of Raizlabs. “As a part of this on-going exploration, we've realised the growing need for complete asset tracking and are excited about Aruba's technology advancements and commitment to a full-featured and robust solution.”
 
Chris Saso, CTO of Dasher Technologies, added: “As a leading IT provider, we are continuously looking for ways to expand our offerings to better support clients’ evolving needs. Aruba’s new asset tracking helps solve the issues that plagued the healthcare and retail industry by allowing them to leverage their wifi infrastructure for the tracking of physical assets. This allows us to engage with new stakeholders within our accounts and extend the value of our architecture and services expertise.”
 
Serving more than 1000 clients in a dozen different industries, Matrix Integration is focused on helping its clients achieve their goals through the use of technology.
 
“There has always been an existing operational need for organisations to track the movement of valued assets,” said James Aldridge, VP of technology for Matrix. “However, most organisations consider adding a completely separate asset tracking infrastructure as too costly while adding additional operational burden. By using an existing Aruba wireless infrastructure, Aruba solves these customer problems by delivering the only asset tracking that doesn’t require another network overlay, resulting in an easy-to-manage mobile solution with fast RoI.”