The opening ceremony of the week-long 29th South Asian Network Operators Group (SANOG) Conference was held at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat here on Monday.
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC was the chief guest and Dr. Ismail Shah, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was the guest of honour.
SANOG provides an opportunity to bring together network operators for educational as well as co-operation purposes. A regional forum to discuss operational issues and technologies of interest to data operators in the South Asian Region, scope of SANOG is in line with established practices like NANOG in North America, RIPE Meetings in Europe and APRICOT in Asia. Earlier, 8th and 13th SANOG conferences were also hosted by Pakistan in 2006 and 2009.
SANOG 29 consists of conference presentations, tutorials and hands-on workshop tracks. The first three days will consist of conference and tutorial presentations from diverse local and international community, and will focus on current technology updates, trends and challenges related to data networks.
The event is being jointly organized by HEC and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in collaboration with Internet Society (ISOC), Asia Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) and Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed underlined that academia has a strong connection with the rapid technological advancement and ongoing digitization process. He said that HEC, since its inception in 2002, has been actively playing its role in increasing equitable access to quality higher education and encouraging relevant research activities.
He added that HEC has taken a number of measures for growth of ICT in the country. In this sphere, HEC has taken various initiatives including establishment of Pakistan Education and Research Network (PERN), Digital Library, and Cloud Data Centre. He maintained that HEC evolved Smart University concept in view of future challenges and opportunities in the higher education sector. He said that HEC has set up Offices of Research, Innovation and Commercialization as well as Business and Technology Incubation Centres in many universities in the country.
“Owing to these steps, Pakistan has ICT setup in higher education that is seen as one of the best in the region,” the Chairman remarked. He hoped that the week-long SANOG Conference will bring about concrete recommendations for further development of ICT in Pakistan which could be implemented by academia.
In his address, Dr. Ismail Shah shed light on the speedy diffusion of new technologies, especially broadband applications, in Pakistan. He informed that the number of broadband subscribers has reached 40 million in Pakistan covering 87-90 per cent population.
Discussing future prospects in the digitization age, he said that the world is heading towards a cyber-physical system and the future will witness many evolutions like branchless banking, driverless cars, further development of cloud computing and novelties in artificial intelligence. He stressed the need for planning to have a rightly trained human resource to deal with new technologies so as to keep pace with the world.
Mr. Anwar Amjad, Director General, Information Technology, HEC, and Mr. Aftab Siddiqui, Co-chairman, SANOG, presented an introduction to the 29th SANOG Conference and informed that 8th, 13th and 20th SANOG conferences were also hosted by Pakistan in 2006, 2009 and 2012. They said that SANOG provides an opportunity to bring together network operators for educational as well as co-operation purposes.
On the occasion, Mr. Yusuf Bhaiji, Programme Manager, Cisco, and Mr. Haris Shamsi, Vice President, Inbox Business Technologies delivered their keynote speeches on “Future of Networks, Networking, and Networkers” and “Software Defined Everything”, respectively.
The event includes five-day parallel workshops on three different tracks i.e. Domain Name System (DNS)/DNSSEC, IPv4/IPv6 Routing, and Campus Network Design and Security. These workshops will be conducted by eminent national and international experts.