x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wi-fi supplier Aruba Networks sees buoyant growth in the Middle East

Aruba Networks, a United States-based supplier of Wi-Fi networks, expects growth of 30 per cent in the Middle East in the coming year as demand for mobility increases.

Aruba Networks, a United States-based supplier of wireless internet (Wi-Fi) networks, expects growth of 30 per cent in the Middle East in the coming year as demand for mobility increases.

Trends such as bring your own device’ (BYOD) and cloud computing have taken off in the region and are pushing the need for greater wireless connectivity.

“We expect a minimum 30 per cent growth in the Middle East,” said Bernard Guidon, a board member of Aruba Networks. “The region is very important for us, we made more investments here than anywhere else in the world.”

The company works with telecoms services providers and supplies the equipment for Wi-Fi hotspots. Its clients include the Dubai World Trade Centre, Mall of the Emirates, and Mobily in Saudi Arabia.

Aruba Networks also supplies governments, hotels, universities and hospitals. It has offices in the Middle East, in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

“If you look at the rest of Europe there is a lot of question about the economies, that is not the case in the Middle East,” said Mr Guidon. “Also, projects in Europe tend to be smaller than here. When you do a project in the Middle East, there are lots more associated with it, so the return on investment is significant.”

The fastest growing sector for Aruba is the telecoms services providers, which comprise a significant portion of its customer base.

Aruba was founded 10 years ago with the belief that mobility would be the future of computing.

“When we created Aruba ,the world was not like this. But today there is more mobility with ‘bring your own device’ and cloud computing,” Mr Guidon said. “Wi-Fi is only a means to achieve something bigger and that something bigger is all about mobility. People are moving around and not stuck in offices anymore.”

Cloud computing is set to become a US$72.9 billion market by 2015 as more companies move their data online, according to the information technology research firm IDC. That will affect the communications infrastructure of workplaces as emphasis shifts to wireless connectivity.

“Most campus networks consist of approximately 80 per cent wired ports serving individual users and 20 per cent wireless Lan (local area network) ports supporting multiple users,” said Raoul Tecala, Dimension Data’s business development director for network integration. “However, today users don’t want to be tethered to their desks and, as a result, are putting pressure on organisations to facilitate enterprise mobility.

“Networks that are 80 per cent wireless will cost far less to roll out than traditional, predominantly wired networks. We predict that in the future networks will be 80 per cent wireless and 20 per cent wired.”

Despite the overall growth in demand, Aruba’s business has been struggling in Egypt.

“The uprisings have significantly impacted our businesses,” said Mr Guidon. “We are waiting for things to calm down. We are doing a quarter of our business that we used to do before.

“Companies are nervous about things, so they are taking time to make decisions. There is delay after delay.

“The banking system is also in turmoil, which makes it difficult for companies to get the financing they need.”

thamid@thenational.ae