Paul Maris, from social media consulting agency Whizpr, was a guest at the SURFnet Client Fair (Dutch and some English) in Noordwijkerhout. Read his report below. Every other year, SURFnet invites its key clients to enjoy two full days of inspiring presentations, networking opportunities, practical workshops and delicious food and drink. Even though SURFnet has been a client of Whizpr for a very long time, I still felt I was treated like a ‘guest’. The hashtag for the event already hinted at what kind of public was in attendance: #SNRD14*. That’s right: Supernerds… a proud of it!
The importance of SURFnet
SURFnet director Erwin Bleumink opened the Client Fair with a brief overview of the two days ahead, emphasising the importance – both national and international – of organisations like SURFnet. He referred explicitly to developments within the entire SURF family (SURF, SURFnet, SURFmarket and SURFsara) as well as the necessity and benefits of mutual collaboration.
And this last word became the recurring theme of day one. Nearly all of the subsequent speakers reiterated the importance of collaboration – between the public and private sectors, the various NRENs, between SURFnet and its customers, and of course mutually among customers themselves.
Jysoo Lee, director of the KISTI Supercomputing Center in South Korea, began by talking about the intensive collaboration between the Korean government and KISTI in the field of supercomputing. Lee helped forge legislation requiring the country to invest 200 million dollars in supercomputing by 2020 in order to reclaim its key international position. Ineke Molenaars, CIO of the VUmc in Amsterdam, clearly expressed her hopes that SURFnet will be working with the Dutch healthcare system to create a HEALTHconext solution enabling all relevant users to log in and gain access to the right systems. Edgar van Leest, strategic sector manager at Brainport Development in Eindhoven, talked about how collaboration is shaping innovation in one of the world’s smartest regions. Last but not least, Tilburg University IT manager Corno Vromans concluded with some ‘lessons learned’ from the setup and implementation of SURFdrive – the personal storage service for higher education in the Netherlands – which involved close collaboration between a consultative body of representatives from various universities and experts at SURFnet.
And because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after that it was time for some fun – state-of-the-art technological fun, to be precise. SURFnet had searched every corner of the country to offer a wide variety of new technologies and novelties, both for show and to try out. For example, visitors could fly drone with their thoughts, play Pac-Man just by focusing on the screen, take part in a wild 3D race, dance along to GangNam Style with Robot Charly, take a selfie by operating a drone at eye level from an iPad and enjoy a film divided in real-time across nine different screens by multiple Raspberry Pi units.
The Dutch business community
Visitor numbers at the SURFnet Client Fair beat all previous records, and last week showed that involvement and willingness to collaborate are also both very high. SURFnet plays a key role in this respect: at a micro level, for all students who use its dozens of services, but also at macro level for the Dutch business community.
* For the sake of clarity, in reality this of course stands for the name of the fair: SURFnet Relatiedagen 2014.
Please note: Most presentations held at the #SNRD14 are available online…