Today marked the unofficial start of CES with Press Day taking over the show. Across the LVCC, the big guns in consumer tech such as LG, Bosch and Panasonic held their press conferences for an eager international press corps. But beyond the show floor, another important aspect of CES ramped up as the conference tracks opened their doors.
One of the best things about CES is the wide array of conference sessions and panels that take place throughout the week on a broad range of topics. This afternoon, I was focused on an important panel being held in the second floor of North Hall. The panel discussion was titled “Your Customers are on the New Internet. Are You?” and it was the only event specifically focused on the Internet’s evolution to a new addressing standard called IPv6.
The panel was moderated by CTA’s Brian Malkwalter and featured experts including John Curran from the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), Paul Saab from Facebook, John Brzozowski from Comcast and Samir Vaidya from Verizon Wireless.
In September of 2015, ARIN, the organization responsible for distributing IP addresses for the American market, announced that it had run out of its free pool of IPv4 resources. That means the 4.3 billion Internet addresses that made up the entire IPv4 protocol had all been spoken for. This announcement was a perfect example of how far the Internet has evolved over a very short time. As Google’s Vint Cerf put it, the experiment escaped the lab.
What the exhaustion of IPv4 resources means for businesses and average users is significant. We stand poised to enter a new world of connected technologies that will all require an Internet connection of some type. The growth in mobile devices and Internet appliances that will mark the foundation of the Internet of Things needs space to grow. That means the consumer technology companies making the latest and greatest products need to adopt IPv6 as soon as possible to facilitate that growth. IPv6 is no longer an extra feature. It’s a requirement to success in today’s crowded digital marketplace.
But how do the customers featured in the panel’s title come into play? Interestingly, some industries have been at the forefront of IPv6 adoption, namely wireless carriers and large ISPs like Comcast. Mobile devices have been baking IPv6 into the cake for a while now and many people are on IPv6 devices without knowing it. Since IPv6 cannot work directly with IPv4 traffic, any website or e-commerce platform on one standard cannot establish a direct end-to-end connection with the other. The traffic must be translated through NAT (Network Address Translation). That means a customer accessing an IPv4 based website on an IPv6 only iPhone won’t really be seen by the company looking to gather important data on an prospective sale.
Communicators are also at risk. Without accurate analytics, it is impossible to tell a client that their messages are reaching the right audiences with absolute certainty without a direct end-to-end connection. Stanton Communications faced this new reality head-on last year by making our own website IPv6 enabled. Now we know exactly who is looking at our content and from where they are accessing our site. Our analytics are clean and we are ready for the next chapter of the Internet’s evolution.
While the CES panel may have happened in one day, the march towards IPv6 continues in earnest. Companies with a stake in the Internet or those who rely on analytics to accurately forecast and monitor Internet traffic and engagement should move to IPv6 as soon as possible. Thankfully, the experts at ARIN have a number of resources available to help with the transition. Visit teamarin.net/get6 for up-to-date information on how you can make the move to IPv6. You can also follow #Get6atCES for more on ARIN’s presence at the big show.