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CENTR in 2022 and beyond: a General Manager's perspective

2021-09-22 Blog

General Manager, Peter Van Roste, shares some insights into CENTR’s strategic planning process and touches on some of the changes coming in the next few years.

Each year, as we prepare for our annual meeting that decides our operational goals for the following year, we have the luxury of having a gold mine at our fingertips: the CENTR services dashboards. We can check what services members are using, which are gaining popularity and which need more attention or resources.

And that dashboard spells it out clearly: despite the challenges of the last 18 months, all the indicators clearly show that the CENTR community has continued to collaborate strongly. We have seen an increased number of surveys, stable response rates, rising attendance for all online meetings and an increasing interest in our reports and analysis.

The services dashboards provide an essential ingredient for the strategic process, but more is added to the mix. The second ingredient for the draft plans is a check of the 5 year horizon. How will our industry landscape change and how can we prepare for that change and help our members adapt well in time? This tea leaf reading exercise has seldomly resulted in such a unanimous conclusion: by 2026 our environment will be structurally impacted by regulation and security. The role of a ccTLD will be even more defined by regulation, and the increasing security requirements will demand ever more attention and resources. The value and cost of a domain will go up.

Therefore CENTR plans to gradually invest in these two areas over the next 5 years. More than ever before regulators and the security community will require a partner who can consistently provide industry data on a large geographic scale. We already started the future development of our policy work by hiring a Policy Officer, and are delighted to have been joined by Louise Blandin this month. Louise will be working with our Policy Director, Polina Malaja, to increase our engagement in Brussels.

We will also continue to invest in the CENTR community crawler, to increase the understanding of the usage of domain names. With 22 members actively contributing to its development and feeding it data on a monthly basis, this tool is turning into a vital resource for CENTR members to understand the dynamics in their zone.

The future of our meetings has been laid out as well. Circumstances allowing, we will schedule in-person meetings as of February 2022, whilst ensuring that participants can still attend every CENTR meeting remotely.

We are planning a test event on 15th November in Brussels, where we will bring together 30 members to test the one thing that will decide whether we will succeed or fail: can we ensure equality of participation between remote and onsite participants?

These future plans herald an exciting few years ahead at CENTR, and we look forward to the chance of seeing you (in person) very soon!