Blog OCTO

Happy Halloween 2021: Spine-Tingling and Hair-Raising thoughts from the Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks

David Coleman Director, Wireless Networking at the Office of the CTO Published 29 Oct 2021

Happy Halloween everyone! To celebrate this ghostly holiday, I thought I would query the team at the Office of the CTO with this question:

“As a technology leader, what is the spookiest or scary thing in your field of expertise that haunts you as we move into the future?”

The team delivered with an assortment of answers that range from thought-provoking terror to humorous consternation. Grab a bag of popcorn, and take a moment to read the eerie responses:

man with beard
Daniel Schieber – Principal Architect

Well, first, I have an immediate spooky concern: The fact that personal data becomes a currency devalued, without anybody paying attention that they are giving up their freedom – being exploited willingly, but unknowingly.

Then, I have a long-term scary worry:  Singularity – should we ever create a machine that can to learn and do so faster than us, we will be immediately outclassed and obsolete. We probably can then hope for a benevolent artificial intelligence (AI) or anything that shortens our misery. Something like “I have no mouth, and I must scream” would be the horror version.

man with sword
Kurt Semba – Principal Architect

It still haunts me that companies in this industry still operate primarily siloed. From supply chain, all the way to the end-customer offers – every company involved along that path still uses their own internal data and tools and doesn’t provide open interfaces to efficiently collaborate. Hopefully, one day, blockchain-based solutions will integrate that chain of partners and interactions end-to-end.

vampire
Marcus Burton – Wireless and Cloud Architect

As for a legitimate “scary” concern, it’s definitely the semiconductor supply chain shortages. The scary part is the corresponding fallout in technology rollout delays and their impact on businesses and the values they bring to the world. But, on a more serious note, it’s also a concern regarding the implications of globalization and concentrated supply chain bottlenecks and corresponding political tensions. As for a tongue-in-cheek answer, it’s gotta be the Wi-Fi vs. 5G debate. The enterprise IT community is swept away by operator 5G marketing. We need to embrace some healthy skepticism around cellular’s approach to private networks. There are skeletons in the cellular closet (see what I did there?), but we haven’t unburied them yet because we’re still in the early adopter trial phase of small rollouts.

ghost with goggles
Puneet Sehgal – Program Manager – Business Initiatives

Having a great idea but sitting on it for too long and missing the bus on the future of enterprise network technology and security.

 

werewolf
Jon Filson – Senior Producer, Content

The biggest thing I see has to do with the concept of “learned helplessness.” Basically, we are being taught that parts of the world are so complicated that they cannot be understood. For example, this has happened with cars — you used to be able to fix them yourself, and now you can’t to the same extent. The world of networking could go that way, but it’s too important to just be left to the experts. The wider world needs to understand how enterprise networks are shaping our lives and can be used as a force and how they can be used as a force for good if we think carefully about their proper implementation.

ghost woman
Divya Balu Pazhayannur – Director of Business Initiatives

What haunts me? The move towards media content, application experiences, and machine interfaces that are designed to be addictive, with prioritization of user engagement taking precedence over all else – value, truth, and even the user’s well-being.

frankenstein
Doug McDonald – Director of Product Management

In my last job role, I was responsible for an extensive hospital-grade wired & wireless infrastructure using Extreme Networks solutions. As good as any business-critical network is architected and maintained, we all know there are times of downtime or outage regardless of quality infrastructure. One of our biggest struggles was ensuring end-user devices functioned 24x7x365. In a world of never-ending firmware/software upgrades, there is always a possibility of interruption. Since the hospital never sleeps, the IT professionals are essentially working on the airplane critical systems while in the air all the time. In the spirit of Halloween, I often joke when an issue arose, the clinician mob would begin to sharpen their pitchforks and light their torches to find who was responsible for this patient-care-impacting event. Perhaps rightfully so, the clinicians like the movie Frankenstein felt compelled to take matters into their own hands. Fast-forward today, we have developed an entirely new way of providing visibility into the edge that will help prevent the mob from gathering outside your castle walls. Extreme Intelligent Insights coming to a network near you in early 2022.

zombie
Tim Harrison – Director of Product Marketing, Service Provider and Portfolio

I’m most concerned about how technology has influenced human evolution. Life on earth has been influenced in development by natural processes – as a reaction to an environment beyond the organism’s control – and progress moved at a slower speed. Since humanity has begun to harness the natural environment and modify it, we see generational differences directly influenced by the presence (or absence) of natural systems. In an age of technological change that potentially produces new paradigms multiple times within a generation, what will become of humanity’s capacity to absorb and react to this rate of acceleration? Will we lose a part of ourselves that adjusted to change over longer periods of time? Will we change to catch up, or will we find ourselves challenged to reconcile our biological limitations with our technological state?

skeleton
David Coleman – Director of Wireless

For over 22 years, I have been hearing propaganda nonsense about the adverse health effects of Wi-Fi and how it makes you sick as a dog. But what if the doomsayers are correct?  Have the Wi-Fi radio waves been slowly melting the skin off my bones? The horror!  I can assure you that any weight loss has strictly been intentional … all kidding aside, Wi-Fi is safe, and maybe this is a topic of discussion for a future blog.

Are there ghouls and goblins that keep you up at night? We would love to hear from you. Contact my spooky colleagues, and let’s have a conversation.

Email: Office of the CTO

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