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Happy Techno Thanksgiving 2021: Thoughts from the Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks

David Coleman Director, Wireless Networking at the Office of the CTO Published 22 Nov 2021

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving, one of the most important holidays in the United States. Most Americans spend Thanksgiving with family and friends. They do this to show appreciation for what they have in life, including their home, family, health, friends, and food. Thanksgiving is also a national holiday celebrated in Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia. I would say that the spirit of Thanksgiving can be found around the globe, with people celebrating Thanksgiving in their own ways — by giving thanks in prayer, volunteering at a local food bank, or simply sharing a meal with loved ones.

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Technology is a constantly evolving industry, and in the last few years, it’s been particularly explosive. So, to celebrate this memorable holiday, I thought I would query the team at the Office of the CTO with this question:

“As a member of the Office of the CTO and a technology leader, what are you most THANKFUL for in regard to technology in 2021?”

The team delivered an assortment of answers that range from introspective to thought-provoking:

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Yury Ostrovsky – Sr. Technology Manager

Despite the situation (the Pandemic), technology allowed us to work, communicate with family and friends, enjoy musical and other events, and keep most people sane.

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Tim Harrison – Director of Product Marketing, Service Provider

It can be hard to pinpoint where 2020 ended, and 2021 began psychologically, but the rapid delivery of vaccines based on mRNA technologies really made the difference for me this year. This was a game-changer in so many ways. It showed that we – as a species – have the ability to apply technology for the betterment of everyone but that we have a long way to go to address the changes we’ve made to our planet, which have accelerated our exposure to viruses. I hope that 2022 will bring significant innovation advancements in climate technologies to slow down our impact and reduce the risk of pathogens that threaten our wellbeing.

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Kurt Semba – Principal Architect

Using technology, we have been able to stay in touch with our friends and family during the lockdowns and social distancing. It also enabled millions of office workers to continue working remotely and thus keeping a steady income and a sense of purpose.

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Jon Filson – Senior Producer, Content

I love sports. A lot. One of my stepdaughters just signed to play soccer for ETSU in Tennessee next year — go Bucs! I could not be happier about this. I am mostly happy, though, that due to technology, I can be a more plugged-in Bucs booster from Toronto than I could have dreamed of even just a few years ago. Last decade, I’d be hugging my stepdaughter goodbye after she settled in her dorm and maybe getting down to the school to see a game, what, maybe once a year? Twice? At most. I live in Toronto. It’s a fun run to Tennessee, but not an easy one. Today digital communities make it much easier to be a fan and follow a team from anywhere. The effort and encouragement teams and fans themselves have put into creating better experiences for remote fans has been a win-win on all sides. As well as ETSU, I am a fan of the Miami Dolphins, and I do everything I can to see the team in person every year. But I’ve also joined a huge digital community of Fins fans worldwide, in networks and digital groups, and we all get to sit on the same roller coaster car each season together now. It’s flat-out great. Extreme does a lot of work with sports teams and colleges, building Wi-Fi in stadiums and improving fan and team experiences across the board. Still, sports teams of all types have committed to digitally engaging remote fans everywhere, and for that, I’m thankful.

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Doug McDonald – Director of Product Management

On many fronts, the technical response to the COVID endemic has been amazing. Contact tracing, electronic vaccination cards, screening kiosks, occupancy management are just a few technologies to be thankful for in this new world order.

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Puneet Sehgal – Business Initiatives Program Manager

Let me start by saying – it is a very difficult question to answer because one is spoilt for choices here. The pandemic made our interaction with technology, not an option but a must-do every day. I am thankful for Wi-Fi (and yes, 5G also, lest I sound biased), which ensures I have network bandwidth to consume multiple cloud applications simultaneously.  This allows me to be on Zoom call for work while my daughter consumes her latest episode of Peppa pig online. I am also thankful for feeling truly connected with a seamless and increasingly safe experience (I say increasingly safe because can you be fully safe till you are alive?) across all my tech devices, despite being physically cut-off from half my world. Don’t blame me if my gratitude list slowly starts to bubble up to the reality of the Infinite Enterprise (as we call it here in Extreme).

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Divya Balu Pazhayannur – Director of Business Initiatives

This year, I am most thankful for the way technology has connected us. There was a lot of fear about technology cutting down on what made us human – our ability to express emotion, empathize and share precious moments. In the second year of the pandemic, social tools have really improved to the point that productive and engaging meetings can be done without losing the ability to truly connect with someone.  On the personal front, the maturity of our technological tools ensured that we stayed connected with loved ones despite cheap and easy travel being shut down. While these tools have existed for a while before the pandemic, they have reached a level of maturity in connectivity, ease of use, and personalization that enabled us to share our fears, our concerns, and our many little spots of happiness in the midst of chaos.

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Markus Nispel – Head of Incubator

I am thankful for mRNA … just that more people need access to it, and use it

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David Coleman – Director of Wireless

As a longtime enterprise networking professional, I’m thankful for all the opportunities technology has given me to travel globally and make friends easily with people from other countries. And I am grateful that I have found myself in an industry where I am surrounded by people that are so much smarter than me. I would like to think that a small fraction of their knowledge is absorbed by me from time to time. And this old turkey is thankful (humbled is probably a better word) that some of my contributions, such as writing Wi-Fi blogs and books, have impacted the careers of others in this industry.

How has technology impacted your Infinite Enterprise? We would love to hear from you. Contact my colleagues, and let’s have a conversation.

Email: Office of the CTO

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