Jennifer @ Atmosphere

By jenniferlucille, Blog Contributor
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I've got to tell you, I had a great time attending Aruba Atmosphere 2015. I was thoroughly impressed by the demonstrations done live during the keynote sessions. What impressed me most was the Aruba Location Analytics demonstration. Naturally, I was paying so much attention to the presentation Sujatha Mandava was giving on the Location Analytics that I failed to snap a cell phone photo of the AirWave dashboard I was most interested in. The visualization looked similar to an Etherpeek peer map, except the data shown was the typical client movement through a wireless environment.

The user interface was fast and intuitive. The menu navigation was streamlined and was easy to understand. Once the wireless venue had been built out, the location zones could be added in to define different strategic areas of the venue. For the Atmosphere convention, the zones were the keynote stages, the breakout rooms and the special event areas. The demonstration showed a selected client on the floor plan and then went on to show the client as it moved through the venue. The demo also showed the overall data relating to how many clients went from the keynote session to the Tech Playground, or to the breakout rooms.

Understanding typical client flows through a facility can be a key indicator in how much interest the group of users has for the events taking place in each 'zone'. Adjustments to staffing or content can be made based on dwell times or repeat visitors to a given zone.

I logged into my AirWave install in my home lab, but I could not find where this visualization could be seen. I suspect it is an integration with a third party vendor to pull strategic information out of AirWave and display it in an attractive fashion.

The content was similar to the Cisco CMX reports which are available from the Cisco Mobility Services Engine, but I have to say that the ease of use for the Location Analytics which were shown during Sujatha's keynote were much more intuitive, responsive and usable seemingly out of the box. Of course I cannot know what level of back-end configuration was required to make the Location Analytics demo go off so smoothly. I can only take it at face value. I would like to know more about the visualization I saw during the demo, but I cannot find anything about it online (most likely because I don't know the technical term for the dashboard I saw).

One other thing I was impressed by during the keynote demos was the ease of use for placing beacons on the floor plans and configuring the beacons for UUIDs and transmit powers. I haven't seen a branded app like this from any of the other wireless vendors. I am interested in learning more about this as well. I hope that this app will be able to push the beacon location information to AirWave and sync the location of the beacons deployed via the app to the VisualRF floor plan maps within AirWave.

Overall I continue to be impressed by the advances that the Aruba team makes with AirWave each time I see it demonstrated. I have a base deployment of AirWave deploy in my home lab, but it is only in read-only mode. Soon I will have more space at home to turn on more vendors' wireless gear. Then, I will be able to get more information out of AirWave when it is truly monitoring my wireless infrastructure. I look forward to enabling Aruba's location analytics in my home lab.