04 March 2010

The Lessons of Wi-Fi #11: Aesthetics Matter

If you walk around most any IT trade show, a harsh reality sinks in. While a lot of engineering goes in hardware and software design, spending is often miserly when it comes to packaging design.

Consumer companies hire world-class designers - or design firms like IDEO - to create products with rakish, timeless good looks. The resulting products fit well in virtually any decor.

Step into the enterprise market and things change. Evidently many enterprise vendors believe that function trumps form. Make a product function well and no one will care that it was hit with the ugly stick. Even if the products are intended for open display - on ceilings in Board Rooms, classrooms, branch offices.

The Lessons of Wi-Fi #11: aesthetics matter. Businesses and institutions spend fortunes, large and small, with architects and interior designers to ensure that their facilities are attractive. Every component that goes into a building - from fire sprinkler heads to smoke detectors to wiring devices - must pass muster. How could any IT vendo
r believe that the very same aesthetics standards don't also apply to IT gear. Especially publicly visible devices like Wi-Fi access points.

Visit an IT trade show and you'll see shoe-box sized APs, bristling with dark, leg-like antennas. And squat APs, disk-shaped like the calling card of a digital elephant. And bulbous APs shaped like a knight's helmet.

In the landscape of the ceiling, camouflage is paramount: a diminutive, sleek design with neutral colors and a shape that matches other ceiling fixtures fits in best.
At Aruba we use world-class packaging designers to help our indoor access points blend into their surroundings. Our AP-105 Access Point is the smallest enterprise-class 802.11n AP on the market, and neutrally blends into any public environment. While its stellar performance calls attention to the product, its packaging does not.

You don't have to compromise aesthetics to get best-in-class Wi-Fi. So check out the AP-105, and leave it to someone else to relearn the lessons of Wi-Fi.