Q&A: HPE's networking chief opens up about intelligent edge, Cisco and micro data centers

Since founding Aruba Networks in 2002 and then staying on when Hewlett Packard bought the firm in 2015,  Keerti Melkote has seen firsthand the evolution of the wireless industry.

From the initial rush to bring laptops using Wi-Fi to the enterprise and the advent of Apple iPad – which Melkote says was a defining moment for enterprise mobility because of the device’s popularity and its need for pervasive enterprise Wi-Fi connectivity – the wireless world has changed dramatically.

And as HPE’s President, Intelligent Edge, Melkote is in a position to set the future course for the company’s wired and wireless strategy.  He recently talked with Network World Senior Editor Michael Cooney to lay out HPE’s networking challenges and strategies as it negotiates one of the most technologically and competitively challenging markets.

COONEY: In the past five years or so what do you think some of the more significant changes have been in the mobile world?

MELKOTE: The last five years of mobility has been really around the integration of applications like unified communications with mobile devices. Now your mobile device is not only providing you a telephone number on the cell network but your office number is delivered to you through a UC application like Skype for Business or games or Zoom, like we are on right now, on any number of unified-communications applications. The big upshot of this evolution was that finally enterprises are able to now unplug their telephone cables from people’s desks and go totally wireless, and that has been a significant, I would say, shift in the posture of how networks are being deployed in the enterprise to Mobile First. 

Building on top of that, there is a whole tier of location-based services that are emerging where with mobile-first all your devices are wirelessly connected. I can not only deliver network services to you, but I can also detect their assorted devices. Based off that we can bring up a whole bunch of services, things like wayfinding, navigating you from Point A to Point B or providing you location based notifications or location based workflows like checking into a hotel without having to stand at the reception desk, going to your hotel room and opening the door, etc. 

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