Talcove: A business case for IPv6

What’s exciting about the transition to IPv6 are the broadband applications it will enable

The details of technology are not interesting to most people, but the potential applications are interesting. At this stage in the government’s transition to IPv6, the primary focus is on making it work, not on using it to solve problems. However, forward-thinking people in government and industry are focused on the business case and the applications that IPv6 will deliver in the future.

As next-generation Internet technology is deployed, the advances in security and quality of service necessary to support advanced telemedicine at any broadband-equipped location will become readily available. Medical diagnosis and treatment will benefit from a global pool of linked health care expertise.

One of the most exciting developments is the vast number of mobile medical devices that will be available. IPv6 will allow the medical community to create a system of sensors and health screening devices that can be used anywhere at any time. Patients with known conditions will be remotely monitored and tested, and remote mobile medical networks will be quickly set up in response to emergency situations.

Federal agencies have already begun planning and using efficiency-enhancing technologies such as radio frequency identification in the supply chain and are exploring how IPv6 can transform the business of government. Applications such as logistics tracking, cargo container screening and cradle-to-grave product tracking will benefit from IPv6’s advanced capabilities.

Conserving energy and alleviating traffic congestion have long been goals of government. But in recent years, living and working “greener” has taken on new importance. Many IPv6 applications will help federal agencies and their employees become more environmentally responsible. Building IPv6-based sensor and control networks will provide as much as 30 percent greater efficiency in managing and operating buildings. The use of IPv6 to support teleworking and secure remote access will enable agency officials to travel less and work from home or close-in telework centers.

The advanced security and mobility capabilities enabled by IPv6 will help organizations get the right information to the right people at the right time during emergencies, without compromising sensitive data. IPv6 will provide the necessary tools for agencies to continue operating during disasters and to improve their overall mission effectiveness.

The transition to IPv6 could be viewed as an extremely technical — even esoteric — exercise. But the advanced IPv6 applications developed and deployed in the next 30 years will yield real-world benefits. They include better access to telemedicine, increased readiness to respond in emergency situations and more efficient supply chain management, to name a few. With IPv6, government can improve the quality of public services via enhanced security, mobility, access to information and ability to collaborate.

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