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Archive for October, 2014

WHY IS NO ONE QUEUING FOR IPV6?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Last month was all about the iPhone 6.

This month, we’re sticking to the number 6 but will raise you one in global importance: Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). Before we delve into this little known evolution, let’s gain some perspective by looking at a better known phenomenon in the contemporary tech landscape: The Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things encompasses an increasing volume of devices which are newly Internet-enabled, and hence now inter-connected. The result is an unprecedented and, at times, unfathomable web of functional devices which can be controlled and automated.

In a recent Technology Industry Outlook Survey released by KPMG, 1 in 5 technology executives cited the Internet of Things as the biggest driver of their company’s revenue in the next 24 months.

There are some fantastic industry innovations going on in various sectors which demonstrate this new age of hyper-connectivity in all things. For example:

Medicine (e.g. the Mimo baby monitor which communicates with a smartphone aimed at preventing SIDS)

Energy & Infrastructure (e.g. Echelon’s smart lighting system which automates the lighting required for time of day, season and weather conditions)

Retail (e.g. In-store analytics technology which allows real-world AB testing of merchandising in supermarkets)

The socio-economic implications of further innovation in this space are vast. However, there is a crucial limitation we need to overcome to experience this growth: the evolution of connected technology has out-paced the Internet itself. We need to evolve Internet Protocol or face negative growth.

Our legacy Internet Protocol (IPv4), facilitates the connection of 4.3 billion unique IP addresses (and hence devices). Cisco estimates that 2-3 billion of these unique addresses are currently in use, but that 99% of objects which might one day join the Internet of Things remain unconnected. There’s hence a potential for approximately 40 billion connected devices to exist by 2020, which is a scary number when facing the inadequacy of addresses remaining under IPv4.

In layman’s terms, the Internet is running out!

 

Enter: IPv6, the new Internet Protocol. It allows for 340 undecillion IP addresses to answer global demand (and this is a real number according to Computer World). The process of transitioning to this new protocol actually began in 1998. 16 years later, only around 4% of global internet traffic is carried by IPv6 which remains a major growth threat to the Internet of Things, and in turn to businesses.

Google has published country-specific statistics which enable us to rank Australia against the world. Our adoption is sitting at 1.03%, compared to 9.47% in the US and as high as 11.45% in European countries. Slow adoption is a problem in the wider APAC region, with Japan being the only country surpassing the global average.

The major barrier to IPv6 adoption is the financial expense to service providers of upgrading their hardware to support the new protocol. Initially, there was only one Australian provider offering IPv6 (Internode), with the roll out given a ‘long term’ priority status (if any) with mobile carriers. For these companies who dictate Australians’ Internet access, there is a ‘Band-Aid solution’ widely adopted called Network Address Translation (NAT). NAT allows multiple devices to use the same IP address, which allays the inevitable shortage but arguably ignores the longer term issue.

It would seem that governmental intervention will be required to either mandate IPv6 uptake among service providers, or to indirectly achieve this by educating Australian consumers about the potential barrier to growth our slow uptake represents.

As things are sitting, IPv6 adoption isn’t keeping many of us awake at night. But with connectivity and technical innovation playing such a crucial role in Australian and international business growth, perhaps we should be as impatient for IPv6 as we seem to be for the iPhone 6.

By Bobbie Gersbach, Digital Manager at Vizeum

 

 

The future of the humble living room

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The future of the humble living room is evolving as an interconnected ecosystem of how audiences consume content, beyond a single screen. This cultural progression of content consumption is made possible through an array of new technological devices, including tablets, smartphones, laptops and gaming consoles, all of which provide a new interactive consumer experience. Collectively and individually, these devices have paved the way towards an evolution of the humble living room. This digitally lead, interconnected ecosystem provides users with a seamless and sophisticated experience, one that devalues the satisfaction previously obtained through a single device.

 

Rather, consumers have developed an appetite for using multiple devices simultaneously, where each device fulfils an individual need. The reliance on one device for gratification or relaxation has expanded this role to multiple channels, and therefore changing the norm of audience viewing habits and the user-channel relationship.

 

In addition to the above, Personal Video Recorders (PVRs), Catch Up TV (CUTV) and Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) platforms are further fuelling personalised consumer content experiences. Customised applications and products are providing consumers a deeper sense of engagement, and ultimately providing a richer experience beyond what was initially knowingly desired. These modern service platforms like NetFlix have provided consumers with alternate means of consuming content at their own leisurely pace (or potentially binge addiction). The likes of Seven Network will also introduce a HbbTV service, further adding a personal touch to individual content consumption.

 

Whilst we can agree that the launch of Free TV Plus in Australia will aid in this channel shift, it is not of certain that the old velvet recliner chair will have as much of a work out as it did previously. Nonetheless, we can hypothesise that there are further changes to be made to the living room, not only by way of the number of screens or channel agnostics, but also to the manner in which people engage with each device in its unique format as this continues to evolve across multiple screens and devices towards seamless interconnection.