Canadian Institution Delivers Anytime, Anywhere Learning for 100,000+ Students and Prepares to Securely Manage IoT Across 10 Campuses
SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced that Seneca, one of the largest comprehensive colleges in Canada, has deployed Aruba wireless, security and management solutions, along with Aruba’s location-based services portfolio, to expand its learning spaces beyond traditional classrooms and to improve student experiences.
With a student body of 30,000 full-time and 71,000 part-time students spread across four main campuses and six satellite locations, Seneca has seen dramatic growth in the number and diversity of devices being connected to its network. Seneca’s IT department has focused on evolving its systems and platforms to ensure that these devices can connect easily and securely, but more importantly, to improve and enhance the user experience for Seneca’s students, staff and faculty. With a digital strategy that seeks to change the way education is delivered, Seneca has also been an innovative and enthusiastic user of wayfinding and other location-based services.
“We want to make sure that our students, staff and faculty have no limitations when it comes to where and when to meet and connect,” said Hassan Assiri, Director, Infrastructure Services, Seneca. “Our network infrastructure has to support that philosophy of anytime, anywhere learning, as well as deliver a rich and satisfying experience for all of our users.”
To enable this flexible learning environment, Seneca tapped partner RDEL Technologies Inc. to deploy approximately 1,300 Aruba location-ready indoor and outdoor Access Points, Aruba Mobility Controllers, Aruba ClearPass for device profiling, and AirWavefor network management. In addition, the College has supplemented its location-ready APs with 1,200 Aruba Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and used the Meridian App Platform to enhance Seneca Navigate, the institution’s mobile app, to help students, staff and faculty navigate Seneca’s various campuses. While the app is currently focused on wayfinding, Seneca plans to incorporate more features including push notifications that could, for example, alert students to menu specials when they are near the cafeteria or inform them of special events happening in a particular Seneca Student Federation location. Wayfinding is currently deployed on three of Seneca’s campuses.
“Students love the app experience,” said Assiri. “Especially prospective and new students who are just finding their way around campus. The app saves them time and helps them quickly locate a building and a room or find their friends.”
Assiri said the feedback from faculty and staff has been just as enthusiastic, particularly amongst Seneca’s approximately 3,000 part-time faculty members at their Newnham Campus, who come onto the campus at night and are frequent users of the app.
Seneca has leveraged the strong integration capabilities of the Meridian AppPlatform to integrate its Seneca Mobile app with Seneca Navigate. Seneca Mobile app is a student-facing, transactional mobile app that allows students to view their time table, pay their school fees, view shuttle bus timings, and many more features. The integration with Seneca Navigate allows the students to launch turn-by-turn navigation directly from their time table to find the appropriate room number.
From an academic perspective, the Aruba infrastructure is instrumental in Seneca’s emphasis on digital content in its curriculum. Seneca has more than 300 programs that vary widely from aviation and business to fashion and broadcasting, so accommodating these programs means offering a wealth of resources outside of traditional textbooks and ensuring that they can be accessed quickly and easily online. Many of the classes provide students with iPads or Microsoft tablets with pre-loaded curriculum, and Seneca has recently extended tablets to their aviation program for pilots and flight attendants, to their 911 program for public safety, and to their nursing program to help interact with the patient mannequins that are used.
Said Assiri, “The Aruba Wi-Fi infrastructure has been transformative. It truly changed the way we deliver courses and allowed us to look at them through a different lens. We can put much more curriculum on the network because now we have the capacity and reliability to do so.”
To further improve upon Seneca’s educational and campus experiences, Assiri said Seneca plans to upgrade to ArubaOS 8, which will help evolve the wireless network to meet the institution’s long-term requirements.
“Things like Live Upgrade that allow us to further reduce our network downtime and AirMatch to reduce AP congestion by automatically load balancing the APs and users, are exciting features for us that will allow us to continue meeting the needs of all our users as we grow,” he said. Assiri adds that Seneca will look to build on its Aruba infrastructure in the future, extending its use of ClearPass to both the wired and wireless networks and to securely connect IoT devices.
“Seneca has embarked on a multi-year digital optimization strategy to leverage technologies like mobile, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, cloud, analytics, and Blockchain to significantly improve on areas like operational efficiency, student experience, digital learning, smart campus and digital workforce,” said Radha Krishnan, Associate VP, Information Services for Seneca. “Seneca has identified 24 digital opportunities to be implemented in the next three years. Most of these initiatives require a strong Wi-Fi network, and Aruba’s Wi-Fi infrastructure provides that foundation to jumpstart many of these digital initiatives.”
Added Assiri, “The number of tickets or complaints about the Wi-Fi has gone down to almost zero and for me, that’s success. But even more importantly, we’re confident that we have the right infrastructure in place to move forward with our future innovations and initiatives.”
About Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is a leading provider of next-generation networking solutions for enterprises of all sizes worldwide. The company delivers IT solutions that empower organizations to serve the latest generation of mobile-savvy users who rely on cloud-based business apps for every aspect of their work and personal lives.
To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.