Recently, Ciena called together teams from all over the Asia-Pacific region in a bid to find the best and the brightest in the field of open networking, as it held its first Open Networking Innovation Competition (ONIC). Taking the top prize in the field was Singapore Polytechnic's “SP Avengers”, who offered up a new system for managing and monitoring mobile networks.
Designed to provide some encouragement to research and education (R&E) students, the event was held in conjunction with Singapore's SingAREN and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI). Taking place over a month, the event challenged students to take Ciena's packet-optical network platforms along with various open-source tools that are currently available and create new and exciting possibilities with same. More specifically, the teams were to make an application for the Waveserver stackable interconnect system, available through the Emulation Cloud, to produce its result.
With the tools in place, the teams set out to build said new application, hoping to bring something new to the field that didn't depend on a standard hardware-based setup to back it up. Judging then took place using Ciena executives, who were looking at the various products' levels of innovation as well as possibility for use by businesses and benefits in general, both in the short- and long-term. In the end, it was the SP Avengers who took the title home, thanks to a system that made troubleshooting networks much easier thanks to remote access and a specialized visualization system.
Ciena's chief of open architecture, Rick Dodd, commented “It’s always inspiring to see what smart young engineers can build with not much time – and perhaps too much caffeine. Team SP Avengers took great advantage of the new reality of openness in networks to build an app which was both useful and cool. Congratulations to them. All of us at Ciena look forward to seeing what these talented engineers do in the future.”
Team SP Avengers developed a product that might well be put to use tomorrow in terms of troubleshooting networks; will Ciena be putting that tool to use? Is it now the property of Singapore Polytechnic? Though the SP Avengers got a fairly exciting prize out of the deal—reports note that each member of that team gets a MacBook Air, and likely gets some bragging rights and resume fodder to go with it—what about all those other potentially marketable products that were produced but not selected in that month?
It's hoped that all the rest of the teams just took their app to an app store or the like, and are getting a fair share in return. At least, though, every one involved will have a nice portfolio piece to offer up in future job hunting. Events like these can be a great way to foster young developers' resumes, though due consideration needs to be given in the event of potentially marketable products.
Edited by Maurice Nagle