What can you do to promote IPv6? Collect
and create v6 success stories
As the publisher of this newsletter, and chairman of the four IPv6 Summits
in the US organized over the last two years, Ive read or viewed
over 100 articles and presentations related to IPv6. Something is missing
from nearly all of these presentations. Where for goodness sake are stories
that the average person, even a tech journalist, can relate to? Features
are often covered, benefits less so. Even more rare are success stories
related to IPv6. Without success stories, developers dont envision
future customers, and consequently dont invest time to make related
applications or take the risk of trying new things. Since most new products
dont succeed, it takes hundreds, even thousands, of new products
or applications to allow the public to explore the phase space
and end up with a few widespread application successes. Examples are still
stories that all the readers of this newsletter can relate to: The Apple
II had VisiCalc. The IBM PC had Lotus 1-2-3. The Macintosh had desktop
publishing. The iPod has iTunes. The Microsoft X-Box has Halo I and now
II. Of course there were and are thousands of different applications for
each of these devices (iPod can hold things other than music files), but
many applications had to be made and tried out for the leading applications
to be selected by Darwinian market forces as memes that could
spread around the world.
The challenge in making IPv6 ubiquitous is that we need, say, 10,000 people
to dedicate themselves for a year or two to make new applications, or
to port current applications, or to add IPv6 to devices that arent
usually associated with the Internet (like cars, kitchen appliances, RFID
tags, mobile phones, etc.). To motivate an army of developers to drop
what they doing and start (awkwardly at first) to make v6 apps these developers
will have to have stories that will make them think that there is a potential
payoff down the road.
An industry doesnt have to be based on real products or companies
in order to have 10,000 people dedicate their lives to it for years, as
long as there are good stories. Examples include nanotechnology and staples
of science fiction. K. Eric Drexler coined the term nanotechnology
in the early 1980s, and science fiction writers went to town, starting
with Greg Bears Blood Music and continuing with what must
be hundreds of short stories and dozens of nanotech novels (Ventus
and The Diamond Age are among the best) that collectively explored
the phase space around nanotech R & D. Fast forward to 2004, and the
US government is plowing $500 million a year into nanotechnology, based
on stories rather than actual, measurable results. The space industry,
the laser industry (Martian death rays were in the Orson Wells War
of the Worlds radio play), the robot industry, and even the computer
industry all had hundreds of stories that sketched the possibilities of
the field before the first authentic successes were publicized.
How amusing that the movie I, Robot would be the first robot-focused
movie to earn over $100 million in the same year (2004) that the company,
iRobot, would have its first product to generate over $100 million in
a year, the Roomba. If I told you that I was at an event a few weeks ago
where Roomba got run over by a Segway and broke, youd remember that
story, perhaps because it sounds likethat song, Santa got run over
by a reindeer. By creating a few sentences, I got you to think about
robots and Segways, which have nothing to do with IPv6, but I dont
have comparable stories that use IPv6, yet, and so IPv6 doesnt have
the mentally resonant frequencies of many other technologies.
There are no industries that thrive and grow without success stories,
and stories are what IPv6 needs most. Stories are the limiting factor
for IPv6, yet each person reading this article could come up with a story
if he or she sat down for a few hours and thought about it. Just telling
a story to another person will actually help the process (a little tiny
bit). There are many different themes for success stories that could be
related to IPv6 that would greatly benefit our community. Here are few
suggestions (all made up, for now) to get you thinking about the sorts
of stories that we must eventually have in order for IPv6 to gain popularity
and fulfill its potential to tie all six billion people together:
Hypothetical story examples for IPv6: Man Is Not Moved by Feature Lectures
Great return on investment: At Oracle we invested $50,000
to IPv6 enable our database software, and were able to sell millions
more to the Dept. of Defense instead of repeatedly asking for waivers.
Lives saved (1): After Major Ros Dixons company
started using IPv6 on all equipment and warfighters, as well as sensornets
that enabled Marines to better recognize friend or foe, friendly fire
accidents dropped to zero, and the ratio of enemy casualties to coalition
casualties has soared in Americas favor.
Sales growth (1): Hexagos revenue from sales of
its $35,000 IPv6 tunnel broker doubled from Q1 to Q2 as ISPs all rushed
to add IPv6 offerings.
Credibility increase: When the Dept. of Defense completed
its transition to IPv6 in late 2007, a year ahead of its own target
date, it gained the admiration of the US Congress, and received funds
allocated by Congress beyond the DoDs own requests, to build
on the new potential for Network-Centric Warfighting.
Lives saved (2): By IPv6 enabling ambulances and mobile
medical equipment, European Union nations were able to triple the
number of people treated before getting to hospitals, and double the
lives saved in Golden Hour interventions.
Sales growth (2): The Consumer Electronics Association
reported that IPv6-enabled products returned because purchasers could
not figure out how to configure and begin using them was only 10%
of purchases vs. the industry standard 32% return rate.
Reduced crime: Electronic fraud complaints have been
cut by over 80% per capita for mobile commerce users using phones
with IPv6 and mandatory IPSec compared with mobile commerce users
using (private) Network Address Translation.
Better performance: New customer satisfaction at T-Mobile
in Germany has increased from 70% to 85% after IPv6 stacks were added
to new phones, doubling their battery life while doubling the average
talk minutes as well.
Government Respect: Japans government has impressed
the world by successfully transitioning its entire society to IPv6
years ahead of any other country, and is starting to build on new
capabilities in hundreds of industries.
Public excitement: Hundreds of new products and public
companies that didnt exist in 2004 are being unleashed to the
two billion Internet users, creating energy, publicity, and enthusiasm
for the Internet industry that hasnt been seen since the mid-nineties,
when the Internet accounted for 1/3rd to 1/2 of GDP growth.
In 2005, if the US Congress is smart (and it is), hearings will be held
on IPv6 and how the federal government should approach an IPv6 transition,
including whether the DoD and OMB should team up and create a plan and
a mandate for the entire federal government to transition to IPv6. Those
Congressmen and Senators will need to have some pretty compelling stories
to support the transition, because reading them the feature specs of IPv6
will bore them to death. Telling Congress about millions of people getting
new jobs, millions of transaction costs becoming lower, and future equipment
interoperating with other equipment or tools or vehicles will, on the
other hand, result in the sort of federal budget support that will be
necessary to complete the transition to IPv6 in the US.
My suggestion and request to readers of 6Sense is that you keep
an eye out for success stories about IPv6 and if and when you come across
one, please send it to me. As a way to get the ball rolling, I will be
awarding an IPv6 Story of the Month (based on what seems to me to be the
best story that will appeal to a broader audience) each month, along with
$100, enough to pay for your web hosting and blogging software for a year,
so that you can start writing about IPv6 or anything else that is of interest
to you. And, please, dont send me stories about how IPv6 will solve
the IPv4 address crisis or other problem that only an engineer
could love. These stories dont have the power to move people to
dedicate their lives to building new applications, and, at its core, the
power of stories comes from their ability to get us to act and to accomplish.
Send stories that make you feel. Send stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.