Scott Pappan was recently named ICN’s new Chief Technology Officer (CTO), who will oversee the newly created Network Services Division. He brings over 20 years of experience in management, engineering, operations, and sales. Pappan has been with ICN since 2015 as the Engineering Bureau Chief. Prior to joining ICN, he managed government/education engineering teams that covered 10+ states with responsibilities in creating, pricing, designing, and implementing large-scale telecom solutions.
The addition of Pappan completes ICN's executive leadership team under Randy Goddard who was appointed executive director in 2020. ICN has three divisions: Agency, Administration and Facilities, and Network Services.
We asked Pappan to answer a few questions about his new role and ICN’s direction.
What is most exciting about your new role at ICN?
To get a glimpse of the future and what tomorrow will bring in technology is exciting. We at the ICN get to develop technology to better the future for our children (Education), protect our law enforcement (Public Safety), expand technology within the state (Government), and provide infrastructure that takes care of us (Healthcare).
The future of the ICN is endless. The potential capabilities of expanding wireless technologies, like being one of the first states to complete a build out of the FirstNet carrier-grade public safety network, is amazing. Now our goal is to develop products and services as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that evolves rapidly enough to continue to meet the needs of our customers.
What new technology initiatives are happening at ICN?
Where do I begin? We just finished networks for E911 Wireline services and Hosted E911 platform for Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD). We also completed a FirstNet carrier-grade public safety network for Iowa HSEMD.
The future will bring the completion of Iowa Hospital Association’s Iowa Rural Health Telecommunications Program’s (IRHTP) network core upgrade and a 100Gb ICN Network Core statewide upgrade in 2021. Furthermore, we are looking towards the development of a Whitebox solution to allow the ICN to virtualize our network on a cloud infrastructure. This will allow the ICN to build efficiencies that lower capital and operating costs.
What security initiatives are happening?
Many technology organizations are recognizing the future of optical transport as a function of both capacity and software intelligence. Virtualizing/automating our network will ease network complexity, thereby assisting the ICN as we implement technologies such as Firewall as a Service (FWaaS), Cloud Computing Services, 5G technologies, etc. This allows the State of Iowa, as a middle mile provider, the ability to push bandwidth and security to the edge, which meets the demands of our end-users.
What makes ICN unique?
Success is about dedication and commitment. People at the ICN are resilient, and we succeed in times of crisis. This dedication and support of each other is amazing.
Finally, you know you are where you are supposed to be when you realize your future is where you are currently standing. I am standing among people that have vision and foresight that will lead us all down this incredible path.
Any comments on the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on technology practices for our users?
The bandwidth needs of our Closed User Group (CUG) are increasing at a tremendous rate, and keeping up with this trend has made the ICN reevaluate how we look at broadband. The ICN is in the process of completing our 100Gb core network upgrade. We recently finished a statewide power project. The ICN touches every county within Iowa with a minimum of 1gb of bandwidth with most having a minimum of 10gb of bandwidth. The ICN’s IP fabric is now scalable and was made possible by private/public partnerships. This allows the ICN to scale to accommodate increased growth. An example of this was the pressure put on the network when COVID forced many of our agencies/customers to reevaluate their network connectivity to support remote users and statewide telehealth requirements. The result was the ICN had the capability in meeting the needs of online learning in our schools, telehealth requests, and state agencies’ bandwidth increase requirements.