Are you ready for IPv6?

Internet Protocol (IP) – I believe this word is no stranger to many of us. From IP-enabled cameras to HDMI over IP IR controllers, it is without a doubt that the AV industry is embracing the functionality of IP rather quickly.

In what is called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators are embedded in physical objects, ranging anything from refrigerators, loudspeakers, media players to even water heaters.

Linked through wired or wireless networks using the Internet Protocol to connect to the Internet, the process to transfer data does not require human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Basically, it’s to give an inanimate object the means of receiving feedback and information on its own without any interference from us.

An important factor in the development of the Internet of Things, the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the latest revision of the IP as the earlier version, IPv4, began to run out of allocated addresses worldwide.

With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, IPv6 ensures that we have a continuing pool of resource as we move over to the new protocol. As compared to IPv4 address space with only 3.7 billion theoretical unique addresses, IPv6 address space can support 340 undecillion (i.e. 340 trillion trillion trillion) addresses. Additionally, IPv6 is also considered the most suitable technology for the Internet of Things because of its scalability, flexibility and open end-to-end connectivity.

What does this means to the AV industry?

With this seemingly inexhaustible amount of IP addresses and enhanced features – what better time it is than now to start the concerted development of IP-enabled AV products and devices? In short, the current transition to IPv6 and focus on the Internet has created a platform for growing innovations and future business opportunities.

For manufacturers, it is time to revise some products to include more ‘Smart’ functions. In terms of product development and research, IP might be an area to start exploring intensively.

For system integrators, now is the time to brush up on IT knowledge as more and more devices go ‘online’. By understanding its application, it will definitely help in coming up with better, and more creative solutions for your clients, adding value to your service.

As IP-based technologies mature, the range of corporate deployments will increase. Now is the time for executives across all industries to structure their thoughts about the potential impact and opportunities likely to emerge from the Internet of Things and IPv6 Technology.

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*This commentary was first published in the Oct-Nov 2014 issue of Systems Integration Asia

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