Jacob Chacko, Regional Director — Middle East, Saudi and South Africa at HPE Aruba
This year marks the 50th UAE National Day anniversary. The government aims to make the UAE among the best countries in the world by the Golden Jubilee of the Union. Against this vision, it is exploring ways to use data to improve the life of citizens, increase efficiency of operations, and create more innovative business models. Gathering, accessing and analysing data can assist the government with insight to implement strategies, monitor the impact of those policies, and ensure a safe living and working environment, while data can also assist in delivering proactive services to the public.
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company is focused on creating intelligent network solutions that deliver the innovation and flexibility to power this next generation of data-driven, real-time applications.
Enhancing the citizen experience
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other emerging technologies automate and streamline processes, monitor workflows and connect citizens digitally to government agencies, for improved citizen experience, where data analytics from cloud-based network software can offer actionable insights for increased operational efficiency.
Analytics from data gathered from a variety of sources, including citizens themselves, can help to enhance daily life. For example, sensors can alert citizens to a change in air quality or traffic congestion. Insight from this data can then be used by government to plan infrastructure improvements or prioritise projects for urban change, and in turn create employment and ensure a more sustainable environment for the future.
In terms of public security, AI, cameras and sensors, along with data analytics, can improve safety for real-time surveillance and emergency response. Security forces can draw on real-time data and predictive analytics to help police and army officers make more informed decisions while on patrol.
In UAE for example, the Ministry of Interior had approved the use of smart helmets for specialist police teams fitted with thermal cameras to detect people infected with Covid-19 and sensors that can help the authorities to recognise faces.
Remote sensing data from satellites and ground-based sensors can also provide a wealth of real-time information to actively monitor public utilities to reduce waste and costs, and ensure service delivery. Data-driven analytics based on municipal consumption patterns can encourage citizens to manage their own usage of utilities, where notifications warn of overconsumption. This can also help the government to balance the supply of utilities with the actual need, reducing wastage.
Secure and efficient networking capabilities
These real-time applications have to have the capability to receive, analyse and communicate huge amounts of data, and achieving this requires powerful computing and intelligent edge network, which offers a flexible, highly reliable connection to cloud services, such as Aruba Central. If the network connecting the sensors or devices goes down, local computer, storage and resources can keep the devices working until the cloud connection re-establishes. Safety and efficiency are therefore not compromised.
Many governments around the world require the separation of open networks from classified networks but while sharing the same physical access point. With MultiZone, a capability of ArubaOSv8 operating system, government IT can create separate zones to allow multiple data classifications to share the same network infrastructure, but with appropriate levels of control. This control can be managed by Aruba ClearPass, which simplifies role-based access controls across wired and wireless networks for a unified approach.
Enabling safe operations from anywhere
There’s an increasing move by the government to develop smart city projects, built on a foundation of sensors, data analytics and intelligent edge network, to enhance operations and conserve resources, and connect with citizens and businesses in new ways. For example, automated building management systems can be used in public spaces to control lighting and temperature to maximize comfort, save energy and lower operational costs.
As government agencies are exploring the internet of things (IoT) to increase efficiency and safety of these smart cities, it’s important that the network on which the IoT is built is secure. An intelligent network can handle encryption for these devices, ensuring the integrity of communications, detect suspicious activity through analytics, and respond timeously to limit the spread of a cyberattack.
This enhanced cybersecurity can be applied to the workplace, particularly as the coronavirus has accelerated the need for a smartly re-imagined working environment. Employees in both the public sector and private sector are no longer office-bound but can operate anywhere using a number of devices, which makes them more vulnerable to threats.
Aruba Central is an economically viable cloud-managed network, which can deliver secure network services in new locations, whether to support work-from-home or government operations. Aruba SD-WAN solutions allow IT teams to quickly optimize connectivity across a hybrid WAN of Internet, MPLS, and cellular in far-reaching locations, without waiting for service providers. These systems are integrated with Aruba 360 security exchange technology, which delivers cloud-based firewall and threat protection.
New business models
As public-private ecosystems around key areas such as health care, transportation, and education, are increasing to drive dynamic and collaborative networks, government data-driven applications can be used by other stakeholders. Many businesses depend on government data to guide business investments, create new products, and encourage innovation.
Aruba’s cloud solutions can help in the creation of an open platform for collaboration between private and public sectors. These solutions provide storage capacity needed for new initiatives with easy access to data, while resolving security and compliance issues. Cloud can also help to cut costs significantly by enabling computing power and additional services to be purchased as needed, with scaling of resources up or down to support fast reaction to changing demands.
Today, more data than ever is generated at the Edge. Legacy networks are unable to cope with the massive amounts of data and decisions required in near real-time. Network architecture needs to utilize Artificial Intelligence in order to be predictive. That’s where Aruba ESP comes in. It is the industry’s first platform with an AI-powered ‘sixth sense’. The solution is designed to unify, automate, and secure the Intelligent Edge and help organizations harness its immense potential.
“Data-driven applications can provide the UAE government with the ability to make informed decisions to benefit citizens and economies. Through optimising solutions offered by Aruba, government agencies can leverage data securely, increase efficiency in operations and services, and encourage innovation for a better future,” concludes Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East, Saudi and South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.
To learn more, visit Aruba at GITEX Technology Week, taking place between October 17 – 21 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The company will be exhibiting from stand number H7-A1.