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IPv6 Inside Everything and Everybody

With the market for connected humans reaching saturation in advanced economies, mobile operators now see connected devices as the next growth opportunity. ‘Everything that can benefit from being connected will be connected’, according to Ericsson’s CTO (source). In the meantime, Intel dreams of embedding processors into everything that can gain something from communicating. Intel is quoted as counting on embedded Atom chips to break its dependence on the slowing PC market. And pharmaceutical company Novartis is spending 24 million dollar on an ingestible chip activated by stomach acid and communicating with a patch on the skin which sends the information to a smartphone.

The IPSO , IP for Small Objects alliance receives more attention in recent months. A series of free webinars starting with 6lowpan end of this month are most timely as the internet of things and associated revenues opportunities titillate the interest of many a company looking for new growth paths and revenue streams.

While it is a given that the address format will be IPv6, management will ask, and rightly so, for traffic and revenue projections this deluge would generate.

Projections, these days, tend to focus more on when mobile internet will overtake the fixed internet. Factoring the number of human users; this should happen within five years and maybe sooner depending on the speed of deployment of 3G and LTE and price evolution, especially in emerging markets. Some traffic projections for the internet of things are also staggering, if billions of ‘things’ communicate information about themselves to other ‘things’ or computer systems. The latest Economist special report covers the topic of smart systems and talks about a sea of sensors and ‘augmented business’. ABI Research, quoted by the Economist, estimates that the number of radio chips for wireless sensors sold was 10 million in 2009 and could reach 645 million by 2015.

The most recent Cisco Visual Networking Index notes that this year video streaming will overtake peer 2 peer as the number one internet traffic generator and that by 2014 all forms of video will exceed 90% of consumer traffic. Despite a much faster growth rate, mobile IP would still be less than 10% of total traffic volumes.

Could it be that by 2015 we will associate some major internet traffic growth with communicating things?

By Yves Poppe, Director, Business Development IP Strategy at Tata Communications

(Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these articles are solely those of the author and are not in any way attributable to nor reflect any existing or planned official policy or position of his employer in respect thereto.)

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