A while back, I heard someone say "the Internet of Things will happen once we have IPv6." While I understand the sentiment, we need to get away from NAT'd devices, IPv6 is not, by itself, sufficient to make the Internet of Things take off.
We could talk about a lot of missing pieces, but Bob Frankston is talking about one that seems very fundamental: connectivity.
Bob's article makes an interesting point: we assume that we connectivity is something we buy from an ISP or the phone company, but there's nothing that says that has to be so.
"In a sense the Internet is similar to other transitions. Railroads were transformative because they enabled commerce over a distance but, over time, became captive to the accidental properties of the rails and rolling stock and the attendant business models. We are able to "conquer distance" using facilities such as roads and sidewalks. Such facilities differ from railroads in that value accrues to society as a whole rather than having an owner which is required to limit access in order to make a profit.
Today we would say that railroads were TaaS or Transportation as a Service as opposed to DIY transport in which we walk or use whatever means are available. TaaS would be a rent-seeking model that can only provide transport to destinations that would generate revenue to the provider.
Traditional telecommunications is CaaS (Communications as a Service) and its history mirrors that of the railroads to the point that the FCC is modeled on the agency that regulated railroads. The implicit assumption is that we must have a railroad-like system because in the days of the telegraph, analog telephony was very much like a railroad with a service provider assuring reliable delivery.
And the Internet, going back to the days of the radio packet networks, has shown us how to do our own communicating using any means available. We understand how to take advantage of opportunities and don't require ordered or reliable delivery. What we do need is an economic model that doesn't require a direct relationship between the user (or application) and the parties along the path who may be assisting in the transport of packets. This is more like a sidewalk assisting walking than a railroads notion of assistance as a service.
It's not just about money --- relying on a third party for one's name as in the case of the DNS is also a problem. But the economic model is the gating factor because it's hard to workaround a rent-seeker who owns the path and who must make a profit if we are to communicate at all.
We think of telecommunications in terms of the services provided --- telephony and television being primary. But now that all content is converted to bits and we can use services from others (VoIP, Hulu, Apple TV, HBO etc.) as well as services we create ourselves.
In this formulation everything is reduced to charging us to exchange bits. No wonder it's so important for the carriers to make sure that all the access points are locked down. If the carriers are to charge you for exchanging bits they must first prevent unbilled bits from passing."
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc