Awards programs are usually a lot of work and a lot of fun. More importantly though, you can gain a lot of insight looking over dozens of awards entries.
Yesterday, the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) announced the finalists for its Ethernet Excellence Awards (I served as a judge on the panel). The winners will be announced at a dinner on November 18 at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. Some big networking themes run deep in the awards, which name the top technologies, companies, and people forging tomorrow's networks with Ethernet technology.
First up: Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) are breaking into the mainstream, as we start to see the first real-world implementations of these technologies in service provdier networks. This is a wide technology bucket, but the most relevant applications are orchestration, provisioning and "service chaining," all use cases for SDN and NFV to allow service providers and network operators to more quickly deliver services to customers, with less manual interaction.