For nearly three months, millions of companies have been pushed out of their normal work environments due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. Many have been able to make a quick and seamless transition to teleworking thanks to a variety of cloud-based communications technologies, which have enable their employees to function from their homes. It’s been an unprecedented period in the business world, and many are still trying to figure it out. Still more are trying to define their future strategies, realizing this situation is far from being over.
So, what’s next? Now that restrictions are starting to be loosened in many places, some companies are hard at work implementing workplace changes to be able to safely bring employees back into their facilities. Others have already announced longer term or even permanent teleworking policies.
Regardless of exactly how companies choose to manage their workforces and physical locations going forward, the one thing we know is things are going to be different. Building capacities are going to be restricted, increased distancing will need to be created, sanitation protocols will need to be adjusted, and more. It’s all going to require some combination of physical, procedural, and technological adjustment for everyone.
HP-owned Aruba, which has long been on the forefront of technological innovation with its wireless solutions, recognized that workplaces will have to be redesigned, and that technology will play a key role in defining the “new normal” of business operations. Existing solutions, combined with new innovations will be combined to create safe work environments for those who need it, and continue to support remote working for others.
Supported by Aruba’s AI-powered cloud-native networking solutions, the company has announced it is working with several of its technology partners to release a set of solutions to help businesses evolve their work environments in line with current circumstances, and in a way that will ensure their ability to weather any future uncertainties. Collectively, they will allow companies to create long-term strategies that include both in-office and remote workforces, whether they are permanent or rotating arrangements.
“For too long organizations have treated working locations as a binary choice – we’re either assigned to an office or are remote workers,” said Ryan Anderson, VP of Digital Innovation for Herman Miller. “The current requirement to work remotely has blown the doors open for a new hybrid workplace reality that experience designers and technologists alike need to account for in the future. A comfortable, secure and reliable work-from-home setting will be a key requirement for this new era.”
Ryan Anderson, VP of Digital Innovation, Herman Miller
Solutions for workplace safety as employees return to their offices will help companies actively support local, state and federal safety mandates include:
- Contact and Location Tracing – Aruba will be releasing a new set of native contact and location tracing tools for existing Aruba infrastructure customers based on both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Along with many of its technology partners (like AiRISTA Flow, CXApp, Kiana Analytics, Modo Labs, and Skyfii), it will offer advanced integration to monitor social distancing and group sizes, and generate contract tracing trees of potentially exposed individuals.
- Contactless Visitor Management – As businesses look to reduce physical contact with public surfaces and devices, Aruba is working with its partners (like Envoy) to develop enhanced pre-registration, automated host notification, and auto-generated individualized visitor Wi-Fi credentials to expedite guest and visitor services while reducing human-to-human and shared device contact.
- Video and AI-based Health Monitoring – HPE Pointnext and Aruba’s technology partners will deliver and support contactless thermographic solutions to measure forehead temperature of groups of people simultaneously. The solutions will include automated voice response and access control integration to support immedate response to potential issues.
The company also offers solutions to enable secure, reliable access to corporate resources, including communications applications, CRM systems, and other services – anything employees need to work productively from anywhere.
- Secure Remote Access to Business-Critical Resources – Aruba Remote Access Points (RAPs) and gateways extend access to enterprise applications and services hosted on-premises or in the public cloud, anywhere employees work. They are compatible with broadband and cellular networks and provide both Ethernet and wireless connectivity so employees can use IP phones, VDI terminals, trading consoles, and mobile devices at remote locations with the same security and quality of service they enjoy in their offices.
- Seamless, Secure Access – Aruba’s Virtual Intranet Access (VIA) VPN software client provides secure connectivity to laptops, phones, and tablets. VIA includes an embedded firewall that intelligently segments the traffic and enforces the security policies down to each user.
We’ve already seen many companies announce some level of permanent teleworking policies. There are many reasons for it. Some may feel it’s in the best interest of workplace safety. Others have seen how productive they have been for two months of teleworking, and feel it offers a better work-life balance for workers without negatively impacting performance. Certainly, some also see it as an opportunity to cutting overhead by reducing physical office footprint – especially companies with multiple sites.
Regardless of the motivation, companies across the world are implementing a variety of new workplace strategies that will require technology support – whether that’s in the form of distancing and monitoring solutions in physical environments, or secure access to resources in remote environments.
There’s so much uncertainty surrounding the future and how long the COVID-19 coronavirus may impact us and it may be years until we finally settle on a “new normal.” Until then, the new normal is simply going to require an ability to adjust and adapt on the fly. Solutions like those Aruba and its partners are unveiling will only help as businesses and governments try to solve the challenge of sustaining business without exposing populations to increased risk.
The latest trends in customer engagement and experience, including automation, AI, and messaging/communication tools, and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can benefit organizations and their communities of customers and users, is the crux of Future of Work Expo 2021. Taking place at the brand new Miami Beach Convention Center, June 22-25, 2021 as part of the #TechSuperShow. Future of Work will again sit beside its collocated events – ITEXPO, SD-WAN Expo, MSP Expo, IoT Evolution, The Blockchain Event, and more – to deliver a compete learning and networking opportunity for business leaders who need to know what new technologies will drive their companies into the future.
Edited by Erik Linask