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29 - Connecting Zeus - A Human Networking Story

Tom Fryer

Research and education networks exist to support R&E community members in achieving their goals and maximising their opportunities for collaboration. They do this by offering a multitude of essential services (e.g. connectivity, mobility, trust, identity and security, storage and clouds, real-time communication systems) which enable efficient and effective R&E cooperation and collaboration, in-country and across the globe. Yet the vital, mission-critical element which enables R&E networks to deliver a world-class service to end users is the people who work for the networks, and the global organic human network they belong to, all working for a common cause, keen to learn from each other, share experiences and find solutions together for the challenges our users face. By way of a use case in which researchers at the University of Arizona, USA, needed to be able to receive archaeological data captured at the mythical birthplace of Zeus on an unconnected remote mountaintop in the south of Greece, the lightning talk or poster will demonstrate how a human network across numerous countries proved to be the lifeblood that enabled a solution to be found and implemented so that today the data can flow unhindered from Greece to the USA. The story will highlight that through their local NREN, institutions and their end users have access not only to a plethora of services, but also a gateway to a human network of thousands around the world, eager to help and support. In summary, whilst technology is what NRENs do, a global human network is what we are.