Webinar Series 2022-5: Going Beyond Connectivity (UbuntuNet Alliance Services)

Guided by Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs), National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) have primarily offered connectivity as the main service to universities (students and staff) and researchers. However, recent times have necessitated the introduction of value-added services on top of Connectivity. This webinar was held as a consultative event with members of the NREN community to solicit views on what services NRENs offer, how RRENs can serve NRENs better with regards to services.

Tiwonge Banda kicked off the workshop by giving a debrief on the services that NRENs offer. Using findings from an NREN development survey conducted during 2022 under AFD and RENATAR partnership, he demonstrated the services that NRENs offer. Eduroam, web conferencing, identity federation, infrastructure as a service, email, cybersecurity and digital library was amongst the most common services offered.

Making use of the relationship structure that governs operations amongst RRENs,NRENs and Universities, Mr Banda went on to pose the question: “If NRENs offer these services? What do NRENs expect from RRENs?” He explained that RRENs must offer services that help NRENs offer their services in the best way possible. He opened the floor to ways in which this can be attained. After presenting avenues which UbuntuNet Alliance is pursuing, he reiterated the importance of collaboration in this process, hence the need for such a workshop.

Ideas shared from the audience included the role that RRENs can act as moderators for NRENs to share concepts and ides on what works and what doesn’t. Further comments pointed out the need for an incubation process including a structured scalability model for new NRENs. Discussions went on and can be found via UbuntuNet TV on YouTube

Alex Mwotil, the service portfolio manager for UbuntuNet Alliance, rounded off the workshop by giving a presentation on the services that UbuntuNet Alliance offers currently and the forces that prompted them to be offered. This included the requests made by NRENs for such services to exist. The UbuntuNet Alliance services presentation document can be accessed here.

At the end of the webinar, participants were invited to take a short survey that questioned them on several items including the lessons gained from the workshop, their ideas regarding other workshops that they would like to see and also more ideas on the role that NRENs expect RRENs to play in order to help them in their operations.

The workshop had a total audience of 26 participants. Active participation yielded great ideas from the audience that UbuntuNet Alliance feels will help improve the service provision throughout the entire community.

The webinar held on August 10, 2022, provides an overview of the services offered by the Alliance to our Member NRENs.

Duration 41:32 minutes

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