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CDM Smith Embraces Mobile First Environment to Boost Productivity and Cut Costs with Aruba

Full-Service Engineering and Construction Firm Saves Over One Million Dollars Per Year and Enables Improved Collaboration and Efficiency for 85 Offices Nationwide

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 5:00 am PST

Public Company Information:

"Our firm is built upon people coming together and creating and implementing solutions, so the new mobile-first environment has been a positive change that helps us better fulfill our mission."

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE:HPE), today announced that CDM Smith, a Boston-based full-service engineering and construction firm that provides industry-leading solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to clients worldwide, has implemented an all-wireless, mobile-first workplace with Aruba solutions that is delivering more than one million dollars of savings annually.

Established in 1947, CDM Smith employs approximately 5,000 people in 130 offices around the globe. The majority of these employees are located in 85 U.S.-based offices, including the firm’s new world headquarters in Boston. Prompted by the prohibitive costs of installing structured cabling and a desire to increase productivity by giving employees greater mobility, CDM Smith first embraced an all-wireless environment in its headquarters office and is rolling out Aruba’s Mobile First Platform with ClearPass for secure connectivity to a number of its other locations.

Cutting costs was a driving factor for CDM Smith’s decision to go with a mobile-first, all-wireless environment. The firm’s Business Technology (BT) department had run the numbers for deploying structured cabling in their headquarters, as well as the cost of rewiring internal office moves or major modifications which happens with about 25 percent of their offices annually. With a progressive CIO who was ready to invest in a new model, and the determination that increased mobility would result in improved productivity, the firm decided to move ahead with the all-wireless network approach.

CDM Smith was also intent on bringing a mobile-first approach to its workplace. The firm’s headquarters boasts an open work plan with many “huddle” rooms and a variety of workspaces. With most employees using multiple mobile devices to conduct their work, mobility within the offices and between the floors of the building were critical for the firm. In addition, CDM Smith employees rely heavily on Skype for Business for video and voice calling as well as collaboration and sharing of documents.

The company evaluated a number of vendors but ultimately decided that Aruba could best meet their needs. Michael Woods, Director of Operations, Advanced Technology, for CDM Smith, noted that the other vendors were unable to meet all of the firm’s requirements – most importantly, the end-to-end QoS that is critical for mobile applications like Skype for Business.

“We needed a highly scalable solution that would allow our employees and clients who visit the office to connect and collaborate quickly and easily,” said Woods. “Aruba came through with the best solution.”

Working with Integration Partners of Lexington, Mass., CDM Smith deployed a combination of Aruba 802.11ac Wave 1 and Wave 2 access points for both indoor and outdoor use, Aruba Mobility Controllers, AirWave network management and ClearPass Guest. The network delivers pervasive wireless across all of the building’s offices, break rooms and cafeterias, and the outdoor APs enable access on the seventh floor terrace so employees can work while enjoying fresh air and a view of the Boston skyline.

The firm is using ClearPass to connect guests, contractors and employees’ personal devices to the network easily and securely. In addition, they are using AirWave as the primary tool to alert them to any network availability or performance issues. Woods noted that he receives daily reports from a variety of offices regarding their RF conditions, as well as alerts if there are issues with the access points. While the firm has not yet implemented Aruba Clarity – a software module for AirWave that helps organizations anticipate and resolve connectivity problems before users are affected, rather than troubleshooting after the fact – Woods was impressed by the capability when he evaluated it.

“We’re currently using AirWave mostly in monitoring mode, but I’ve seen a few situations where Clarity would help us if we were having issues with our DHCP server – something I wouldn’t normally find in a wireless monitoring tool,” he said. “It provides much more granularity and we’d like to be able to integrate that with our existing network monitoring platform.”

Eighty of the 85 CDM Smith U.S.-based locations have already deployed Aruba wireless networks, and according to Woods, the success of the all-wireless network in their headquarters has paved the way for additional all-wireless office deployments. Many offices are migrating away from traditional desk phones and using more mobile apps like Skype for Business.

Noted Woods, “Beyond the cost savings, we see a substantial increase in employee satisfaction and productivity. People really enjoy the freedom that comes with a mobile workplace – more collaborative spaces and a more open work environment – so we’re retrofitting the facilities to enable this flexibility with the new wireless network.”

Looking ahead, CDM Smith recognizes that both big data and IoT will be important to them, which makes their decision to implement a new mobile-first infrastructure even timelier. In addition to evaluating how these new technologies can benefit the firm, CDM Smith is looking to add more capabilities to its Aruba mobile-first network that can streamline their BT operations such as upgrading to ArubaOS 8.0, incorporating the aforementioned Aruba Clarity and evaluating additional ClearPass capabilities.

Said Woods, “Our firm is built upon people coming together and creating and implementing solutions, so the new mobile-first environment has been a positive change that helps us better fulfill our mission.”

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 . 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 .

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Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Pavel Radda, +1-408-419-0294
Senior Director of Corporate Communications