For the uninitiated, AirPlay, a proprietary protocol built by Apple, can be licensed by third-party manufacturers. That's why multimedia units such as the Boxee Box -- or any device with the AirPlay logo -- can play video and audio pushed from an iPad or iPhone. Aruba Networks has identified Wi-Fi-based projectors, TVs and printers as key devices that can leverage AirPlay.
Aruba Networks wants to do more than just borrow Apple technology, it wants to streamline it with AirGroup, which detects devices connecting to corporate wireless networks and automatically self-registering themselves to whichever group-based policy the device falls in. For example, if they register as an AirPlay-enabled harmless device (say, an AppleTV unit) the device is automatically given access via ClearPass Manager and users can start leveraging all that fun and productive wireless streaming technology. According to Aruba Networks, "AirGroup solves significant usability and performance issues related to the use of mDNS services in enterprise and educational networks," including AirPrint printer access, and wireless display mirroring.
Aruba Networks sees AirGroup as enterprise-ready, but more educational focused. Classroom-equipped AppleTV and iOS devices could simplify the sharing of presentations to two taps of a screen. And making it easy for students to connect automatically to wireless networks without complex procedures (thanks to ClearPass) is a double bonus -- this "context-aware" policy is clearly one of the better paths to the bring-your-own-device future we already live in.
If you want a little more on AirGroup can do for you, Aruba Networks has all the little details here. VARs serious about working the education vertical or proliferating easy-to-use mobile device management solutions should be giving Aruba Networks some real attention.