Aruba at MCA underpins great location aware app

I read with great interest this article by Dr Keir Winesmith, the person leading many of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s (MCA) digital initiatives.  The article touched on a bunch of ideas that are key to where IT is at the moment, and what IT leaders are trying to achieve.  Here are some thoughts:

  • As Keir points out, we are on the cusp of having more people accessing the internet from a mobile device than from a laptop or PC.  This demands a different experience of the internet designed specifically for a mobile device if it is to be effective (I find myself giving up very fast on sites whose mobile expression is awful, although Android beats the iPhone experience hands down).
  • This gives rise to the question of whether to build an app (which almost certainly accesses the internet for information) or a mobile friendly website experience – Keir’s article has some great links that cover that way better than I will.  (or you could talk to the Nexus developer team, who also have experience on opinions on this!)

The point, I guess, is that one of the design possibilities that we envisaged when selecting Aruba as the wireless networking platform for the new MCA; the Aruba system, which remains in the leader quarter according the Gartner even after the wired and wireless network were converged in their reports, has some location awareness built right in.  Instead of having an expensive overlay system of sensors, MCA were able to use the Aruba wireless access points to provide some context, so that they could tell where a user on the MCA mobile app was in the building and provide some customised experience based on that.  This is a good technology platform that the the MCA have been smart and creative enough to leverage to create a unique user experience.  Now, for me, that is good IT.

The idea of offering free internet access and then leveraging the knowledge of where the user is has some obvious commercial users, in anything from a Westfield shopping centre to a sports arena.  Cut price coffee offer?  Information on exiting?  OH&S information?  The list is endless.

With the introduction of Aruba Workspace, a BYoD toolkit which is part of the Clearpass solution, Aruba remains my first choice for reliable secure wireless that allows teams and guests to get the access they need, while solving the management challenges in a way that IT can implement without crazy expense or an ongoing management chore.

Nexus implemented Aruba here and look forward to making some sexy demo’s of how the new management software can solve challenges – stay tuned for updates on this soon.

Sean Murphy

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