Net exec group to study IPv6 use in business

* IPv6 Business Council

IPv6 proponents have formed a council of corporate network managers that will study how best to deploy IPv6 in business environments. IPv6 is a long-awaited upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, known as IPv4.

So far, the IPv6 Business Council has attracted representatives of nine U.S. companies including Wal-Mart, Boeing and Warner Music. Council members are not necessarily planning IPv6 deployments, but they are interested in the emerging technology.

"The whole reason for the council is to link the needs of American business to the technical IPv6 community," says Tom Patterson, executive director of the IPv6 Business Council. "Until now, IPv6 has been technically focused."

The IPv6 Business Council, which will eventually have 20 members, holds twice-monthly conference calls. The group has its first in-person meeting scheduled for April in Orlando, Fla.

The council plans to issue one white paper per quarter to demonstrate what various vertical industries require from IPv6. Council members represent the high-tech, manufacturing, retail and financial services industries.

One of the council's goals is to encourage software vendors to develop IPv6-enabled business applications.

"If we get the companies as a whole to say that IPv6 would help them with HR applications and supply chain management...then [software] vendors will follow because they'll know that there's something that business wants to buy," Patterson says.

Patterson is an IT consultant specializing in security, managed services and e-commerce. He recently wrote a book on IT security issues for multinational corporations.

"When I did research for the book, I interviewed hundreds of CxOs around the world and I asked them to identify the biggest technologies that will affect their business in the next year," Patterson says. "100% of the Asians said IPv6. 0% of the U.S. CxOs said IPv6."

Patterson says the IPv6 Business Council will address this gap in understanding of IPv6 between Asian and U.S. IT executives. He hopes the council will educate U.S. companies on the many business benefits of IPv6.

"Security works better and is cheaper, faster and easier in an IPv6 world," Patterson says. "The ad hoc networking in IPv6 would let a car in a traffic jam see what's happening in the front of the line or let you play games on the Internet during a long flight. These kinds of things are a whole lot easier and a lot more realistic to do when we have an IPv6 world."

Network managers interested in joining the committee should visit the group's Web site (http://tpatterson.net/ipv6/index.html).

The IPv6 Business Council falls under the direction of the North American IPv6 Task Force, which is dedicated to the advancement of IPv6. 

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