“My first encounter with Shara was in the mid-1990s, through my consulting with CSIRO. By 1999 she and I, together with Dennis Cooper, constituted the Steering Committee for CSIRO’s Center for Networking Technologies for the Information Economy (CeNTIE). When Dennis took over running the project in 2003, Shara and I made up the Steering Committee ourselves. I sure enjoyed that. I had long looked to Shara for keen insight as an industry analyst in networking and telecoms. When we got to work closely together steering this program her expansive knowledge provided valuable context to guide the program to maximum relevance. She helped the projects avoid dead ends by pointing out where others had gone before, either successfully or unsuccessfully, and identified gaps where the projects could make a difference. Her feedback was methodical and well documented, and she delivered it in a constructive and inspirational manner. She was always open to my ideas and often asked for my opinions and the Silicon Valley slant. I was sad when the program came to its conclusion in 2006 but I have kept in touch with Shara ever since. I read her newsletters and learn from them things I did not even know I was ignorant about.
Now, as a futurist, Shara demonstrates an uncanny grasp of a broad range of technology (her technical background proving to be an essential asset) along with an understanding of society and its capabilities to absorb new technologies. In 2015 some colleagues at CSIRO/NICTA/Data61 and UNSW and I organized a symposium on Software-Defined Networking (SDN) in Sydney, called SDN Down Under, and Shara was one of the first speakers we recruited. Her talk centered on smart cities, which are widely enabled by SDN, but her focus was on how we as urban residents will experience and benefit (or otherwise) from what smart cities can bring us. Some of the ideas were shockingly novel, but not far-fetched. That evening, at the symposium dinner, Shara’s presentation dominated the conversation. Shara does her homework, is meticulously prepared, and speaks with conviction and credibility. I felt privileged that she agreed to speak at the symposium, and she raised its take-home value for attendees. Absolutely first-rate.”