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OSHEAN’s 20th Anniversary

Posted By David Marble, Wednesday, October 30, 2019

 

As one can easily tell, I am not the most prolific blogger, but I am compelled to write this post in acknowledgement and pride of OSHEAN’s 20th anniversary.  OSHEAN’s history is a story of vision, strong execution and a wonderful membership collaborative driving its direction.  In preparation for our upcoming member event, OSHEANCon19, I located the original founding documents and was pleased to see that the program narrative in our articles of incorporation, bylaws and various regulatory submissions still hold true today, including  to “…serve the needs of RI’s K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state and federal agencies, non-profit research organizations, workforce development initiatives and economic development efforts.”

 

Founded in 1999 by RINET, URI and Brown and accelerated with a $100K grant from Rhode Island’s Slater Technology Fund, OSHEAN was off and running with a service architecture of one router and 30 Mbps of Internet bandwidth from UUNET.  Today, OSHEAN is proud of its network consisting of 600+ miles of private fiber, 100+ Gbps of IP, Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) core transport, 200+ nodes of packet optical networking and a highly sophisticated, secure, low latency, routed fabric.

My career started in 1983, the year that AT&T was broken up under an anti-trust case.  That event, in many people’s opinion, started the digital revolution as it opened the telecommunications market to competition and ushered in the innovations that built the Internet. As I pause to reflect on where we are in 2019, I am struck by the historical analogies of societal eras where innovation led to the discovery of processes, systems and technologies that can change the world. 

 

It is helpful to put into perspective just how early we still are in this new information age and the byproducts of that naiveté.  We are experiencing harsh lessons in the form of social media manipulation, privacy invasions, and cybersecurity attacks as we learn how to harness new capabilities and put them to their best use. We are making mistakes and learning the consequences of our actions just as we were once burned by fire, suffered industrial accidents and discovered that nuclear energy could either power or blow up cities. 

 

The fundamental idea of “harnessing” requires iterative and continuous learning, incremental improvements to minimize unintended consequences and the maturation of intended use.  One of the best parts of my job as president and CEO of OSHEAN is that I get to witness the amazing results of harnessing our technologies for the public good.  From blended learning in the K-12 classroom to the extraordinary acceleration of research disciplines, the rapid advancement of technology behind the scenes such as super-computing, cloud computing, big data systems, advanced broadband networking, machine learning and AI are fueling innovation and discovery at a pace heretofore unseen. There is also a call to society in general to pay attention to and participate in the discussions the industry is having around awareness, ethics and applications of technology in the digital transformation of our institutions.

 

Celebrating 20 Years of Connections that Pioneer Progress” has been the guiding phrase in the celebration of OSHEAN’s anniversary.  These “connections” can be either the network itself or between the people in our community and sphere of influence.  Our digital magazine, the eCurrent, chronicles our connections and the progress we’ve enjoyed and provided together. In this special anniversary edition of the eCurrent, readers will enjoy member perspectives, industry insights and a reflection on the past as we look toward the future; I think it should be on everyone’s reading list.

 

As an eternal optimist - and in the face of the negative diatribe about some of technology‘s current advancements by the media - I am both proud of that progress and energized for the future of OSHEAN and its membership.

 

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