2019 ARIN Community Grant Program Recipient Report
The Global NOG Alliance Admin Tool Project aims were to provide the Network Operator Group (NOG) community with a set of web-based tools that would ease some of their administrative burdens and enable them to concentrate on the core business of a NOG – connecting people and disseminating knowledge. In the past year the Global NOG Alliance has set up several of these tools for both general use and specifically for individual NOGs, including open source agenda and meeting organisation software, video conferencing software, document storage and collaborative working platforms.
In our research of similar and competing tools, we saw there was a disconnect between them – especially since every tool had their own registration and login system. As such, we have investigated and implemented a single sign-on service between all the tools we currently offer.
One of the further sticking points for administration which we noted in our interactions with NOGs was the difficulty they often experienced in building their meeting agendas into their websites. They were often hand-coded and tedious to administer. While commercial solutions are available, they are expensive and often beyond the reach of new and upcoming NOGs.
Focusing on this problem, the grant from ARIN has allowed us to hire a software development firm so that NOGs will be able to integrate the open source agenda and meeting organisation tool, Indico (developed by CERN), with the popular website platform, WordPress.
Due to COVID-19, this work was delayed, but the final result will enable dynamic display of meeting and conference agendas from Indico on any WordPress website. While the first iteration of this plugin is relatively simple, we intend to build on it in the future and offer even more comprehensive integration. You can read more about the event management tool for NOGs on the Global NOG Alliance website. When it’s completed, this plugin will be available to everyone, for free, through the WordPress plugin library and our GitHub repository. CaribNOG, the network operators group for the Caribbean, has been following the development of this administrative tool and have expressed interest in implementing it to streamline and improve their event management and communications capability.
We have also directed some of the ARIN grant money into offering commercially hosted online meeting platforms to NOGs in need during the global pandemic, as simple video conferencing is usually insufficient for their needs.
We have expanded our offering to NOGs with more tools to help them organise their meetings and connect members with each other. NOGs we have provided personal assistance to have included Greece, Angola, Uganda and Gambia, as well as supporting a local NGO there aimed at improving education opportunities in IT for girls. With our hosted video conferencing tool, we have provided a stable connection for many more to use during the global pandemic.
In this time of unprecedented online engagement, we expect the plugin we are in the process of creating to be exceedingly useful to NOGs, especially new and upcoming ones in developing areas.
Benefits to the Internet industry in the ARIN region
The free open source event management plugin we are developing courtesy of the ARIN Community Grant will, when complete, be available to any NOG in the ARIN region (and beyond), hopefully saving hundreds of organisers administrative headaches along the way. While COVID-19 has put a pause on many NOG activities, the Global NOG Alliance will continue to offer support and tools to NOGs in the region, and to build our suite of free tools to provide yet more utility in the future.