Macquarie invests in AI-enabled Wi-Fi intelligence

Tuesday, 02 March, 2021

Macquarie invests in AI-enabled Wi-Fi intelligence

Macquarie Telecom has launched a new SD-LAN service, stimulated by increased demand from its customers for greater performance, automation and intelligence in Wi-Fi networks, and cloud connectivity.

SD-LAN — software-defined local area networking — is an application-driven architecture that decouples hardware and software in Wi-Fi networks, making them easier to operate, integrate with other network components and scale. It builds on the principles of software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).

The new service comes on the back of increased demand from Macquarie’s customers for enhanced Wi-Fi automation and intelligence, driven largely by increased network activity. Macquarie is investing $3.9 million in personnel, operations, and research and development (R&D) over the next five years to build out the service.

The Australian telco has successfully trialled the SD-LAN service with a leading Australian tyre and auto repairs company and an ASX-listed dental company, with both organisations now signed up for a wider rollout.

A solution to manage restrictions

With the threat of abrupt COVID-19 restrictions still affecting Australia, the service can be used to help offices, restaurants, airports and other industries keep count of the amount of people in a premises or particular zone, helping to ensure compliance with government or company policies.

“The SD-LAN service uses anonymised location analytics to regulate the density of people in a given floor plan, triggering an automatic alert when that number is reached and a new Bluetooth or Wi-Fi device enters the premises,” said Luke Clifton, Group Executive, Macquarie Telecom.

“The application of this technology is incredible for office managers balancing a hybrid workforce, restaurants and hospitality venues with limits on numbers, and airports once they return to increased levels of travellers. Limits can be set, adjusted and fed to operational teams in minutes.”

Macquarie has leveraged the Juniper Networks-owned Mist Platform to develop its SD-LAN service. This uses AI and machine learning to identify all the data points in a network, create a baseline for what ‘the norm’ looks like, and constantly assess and correct anomalies to maximise performance.

“We are investing in technologies and partnerships that enable Australian businesses to adapt to a new and fast-changing norm,” said Clifton.

“SD-LAN is a customer-first architecture that will help companies automate and stay at the forefront of technology they need. The service will be fully managed and supported by our dedicated customer support team here in Australia.”

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