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"Information is currency in the digital economy," said Michael Strople, Chairman of MEF and President of Enterprise Networks at Zayo Group, speaking at MEF 2017 in Orlando, FL. Strople shed light on the introduction of MEF's new 3.0 framework, an extension of MEF's Third Network vision, which is "neither a beginning nor an end, but another milestone for MEF."

As Chairman of MEF, Strople runs a professional board enabling it to operate efficiently. At the 2017 MEF event, Strople thanked the members and the contributors to MEF who "are the ones that make MEF happen" since it is a member-driven organization.

"Information is currency in the digital economy," he said. "The need to move that information around was the inspiration behind the creation of what became an $80 billion annual carrier Ethernet market that MEF pioneered 16 years ago. Our dependence and reliance on data networking in society has become a reality of modern life and a reality of modern business and ultimately integral to what we do."

A modern data network has three properties, Strople explained. It has to have fast speeds and big bandwidth; it has to be reliable because we've come to rely on it the same way we rely on electricity; and it needs to have agility for our changing and dynamic modern world. MEF's Carrier Ethernet 1.0 and Carrier Ethernet 2.0 brought the big bandwidth and the reliability, but there was room for more growth.

"Three years ago MEF introduced the Third Network concept which is where we began to tackle both the agility and the ubiquity of networking," Strople said. "Along the way, we also introduced the ideas of openness, and embraced agile development."

Over the course of MEF 2017, attendees heard a lot about the introduction of MEF 3.0 and how MEF has used it to formalize this work, but Strople pointed out that "it's neither a beginning nor an end, but just another milestone for MEF."

MEF 3.0 Transformational Global Services Framework was launched with the purpose of defining, delivering, and certifying agile, assured, and orchestrated communication services across a global ecosystem of automated networks. It expands upon Carrier Ethernet 2.0 services and technologies that provide the high performance digital fuel for today's digital economy.

"You're all here because you realize there's change going on in our industry and you realize the importance of that change," Strople said. "Change isn't new but it's so important because you're either part of the change or you get left behind. Organizations either adapt or the industry will move on without them."

He added, "MEF has proven to be an organization to help navigate that change. That change rarely happens in an orderly fashion. The questions of ‘how' and ‘when' are rarely clear until it's too late - if you're thinking about ‘how' and ‘when' for the industry, and for your organization, understand that you're not alone. Experts have gathered here at MEF17 to help and inform those decisions."

MEF is a connector organization, Strople emphasized. It's about "idea sharing, collaborating, learning and leading." The event represents an important opportunity to understand where the industry is going and the opportunities available to shape the industry's direction.

MEF 3.0 will take the industry to the next level, Strople added, by enabling service providers to retool their networks, operations, and service portfolios to be more flexible and able to quickly address customer needs. "Our focus is to make it clear how existing CE 2.0 certified companies can migrate to MEF 3.0," he said.