Are you Mobile Ready?

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The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) released an interesting report this week called Measuring the Information Society 2010. This report is interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is because it contains some remarkable statistics.

According to the ITU report at the end of 2009, there were 4.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions globally. In developing countries, mobile cellular penetration has more than doubled since 2005, from 23 per cent to 57 per cent at the end of 2009. At the same time, although Internet use globally continues to grow, only 18 per cent of people in the developing world are connected. In the developed world, this number jumps to 64 per cent. There’s a huge divide here amongst who’s using mobile, and it’s one I think we need to explore.

I pointed out a few weeks ago in a presentation to high tech Ottawa CEOs that many people in the developing world will never use a computer as we do in the developed world. Instead of accessing the Internet on desktops and laptops like most of us do in Canada, they’re going directly to mobile.  In fact, Ericsson reported last month that mobile data traffic has overtaken voice after growing 280 per cent each of the last two years.  This is due in no small part to smartphone use in the developing world, which is growing at an incredible fast pace.  Ericsson predicts that by 2020, there will be 50 billion mobile devices worldwide.

In Canada, we’re not big mobile users. Canadians lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to mobile use: just 60 per cent of Canadians use a mobile phone, according to comScore Inc. and that number hasn’t changed y much in the past couple of years. Compare that to nearly 90 per cent market penetration in the U.S. and over 100 per cent Europe and some developing countries and some pretty interesting questions emerge.

In my last blog, I wrote about how new technologies and applications in the social media world are revolutionizing society. Some of the most powerful tools on the Internet are optimized by use on mobile devices – Twitter, location-based services, etc. This week HP bought Palm for more than $1 billion, and ACER plans to launch a full line of mobile Internet devices next month.

What’s the net result of this?

Clearly, mobile is growing. I predict that soon it will be the way in which most of the world’s population access the Internet. What does that mean for Canadians? Are we going to be left behind when it comes to harnessing the real power of the Internet – how it can mobilize people in the physical world – to the rest of the world?  Are Canadian businesses ready to shift the way they communicate with their customers using mobile-ready web sites and applications?  Are Canadian businesses ready to provide applications and technology for this brave new world?  Are Canadian networks ready?  Are you ready?


Location, location, location

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Last week, a member of the CIRA Communications and Marketing team attended the 140 Characters Conference in New York City.

The 140 Conference is about looking at what Jeff Pulver, the organizer of the conference, calls “The State of NOW”. By that, he means how the worldwide adoption of social media – in particular Twitter – affects a number of industries, including advertising, educations, media, politics, and so on.

I asked my colleague to let me in on what’s on the horizon – what’s hot – not just for Twitter, but for social media in general.

The new trend in Twitter apps revolve around location-based services. You’ve likely heard of Foursquare and Gowalla, and last week Twitter announced it will launch its own location-based service. These geolocation services aren’t exactly new, Foursquare was the ‘darling’ of South by Southwest in 2009.

What is new is the how these technologies are being, or will be, used.

Think about the possibilities afforded by location-based services when combined with a tool like Meetup, an online social networking site that facilitates offline meetings.  Scott Heiferman is the CEO of Meetup.com, and is one of the visionary leaders of the New York technology community. In fact, you can read about him in a recent issue of New York magazine. Heiferman is passionate about using the online world to enable offline meetings.

I know what you’re thinking: we’re now going to meeting the physical world? In some respects, it’s a case of what’s old is new again, but what’s fascinating to me is how easily we can find people with similar interests in our area and facilitate an offline meeting, all organized on our smartphones – we can do this from anywhere, and we can do it in real time.

The ability to find each other in the online world linked not just by our interests but our geography, combined with the ability to organize an offline meeting NOW is incredibly powerful. Just think of the possibilities. We can use technology to mobilize in ways we’ve never dreamed of before. We have tools at our disposal that can radically alter many aspects of society: political activism, consumerism, the entertainment industry, you name it.

Location has been added to the digital ecosystem. Get ready folks, I have a feeling it’s going to change a lot of things. Thoughts?


ARIN’s XXV Public Policy and Members Meeting

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I am pleased that the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) will be holding their XXV Public Policy and Members Meeting in Toronto from April 18 to 21, 2010. If you are interesting in taking an active role in the policy development process behind the allocation and distribution of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs), this is your opportunity to do so.

ARIN is a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) based in Virginia, and provides the allocation, assignment, technical coordination, and management of Internet number resources for Canada, many Caribbean and North Atlantic islands, and the United States.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting at the InterContinental Toronto Centre. There are also remote participation options, such as a live streaming webcast and chat for much of the event.

The draft agenda for ARIN XXV is available online. Some of the discussion will focus on the policy issues of the depletion of IPv4 and uptake of IPv6 (a blog topic for me in the near future). The much larger IPv6 numbering system is meant to one day completely replace IPv4, but this will take many years. In the meantime, much of the Internet will run IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously to ensure all users, regardless of the protocol version they are using, will be able to interact with all content on the Internet.

Another interesting topic up for discussion at ARIN XXV is Internet address management. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is currently studying the creation of an alternative International Internet Registry model to operate in parallel to the existing RIR model.  Such a change could impact how your organization obtains its IP number resources.

In addition to the Public Policy and Members Meeting, there will be a number of informative education sessions on Sunday, April 18. Topics include the Introduction to the Policy Development Process and the Open Policy Hour. Hosting Providers & ARIN will be an opportunity to discuss how web hosting-related Internet number resource policies meet, or fail to meet, the needs of the hosting community.

ARIN will also hold a First Timers’ Luncheon for those new to these meetings and the Policy Development Process.

I encourage you to take advantage of the fact that ARIN XXV is being held in Toronto. Please attend – make sure your voice is heard.

Do you plan to attend ARIN XXV in Toronto?


The ShowUsYour.CA Winners!

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For the past seven weeks, we have been running the ShowUsYour.CA contest and we’ve recently announced the winners.

I really appreciate the fact that the 95 entries came from all regions of Canada: from coast to coast to coast. We received entries from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and from southern Ontario to the Northwest Territories. We received entries from business people, artists, writers, bloggers, poets, school kids, and even a heavy metal band from New Brunswick.

I was delighted to find out that there are so many people in Canada who took the time to create a video about why their .CA is important to them. They made us laugh, surprised us and reinforced the fact that at CIRA we do more than run a domain name registry, we really manage a public resource for Canadians.

‘ArtSchoolReviews.ca Loves Our .CA’ was chosen by public voting as the favourite video of the contest.  ArtSchoolReviews helps artists and designers find art school programs in Canada by providing an online forum for students and alumni to voice their opinions, concerns, support, or endorsements for the art school programs. They will receive a MacBook Pro and be featured in a future .CA marketing campaign.

‘DringDring.ca’ is the first runner up in the contest. Dringdring is a Montreal company founded by Annie Legroulx that produces and sells original hand-painted metal bicycle bells. Dringdring.ca will receive a 64GB iPod touch.

‘Portable Radio’s .CA Rocks’, a video about a podcast produced by grade five students in Ottawa, was the second runner up and will receive a Flip UltraHD camcorder.

You’ll be seeing these videos in the future – we plan to use them in our online marketing. We’ve already started talking about what we’re going to do next year to try and top the success of the ShowUsYour.CA contest. I can’t tell you any details yet, but I can tell you we’re very excited. Stay tuned!

Please check out the videos, and more importantly, check out their .CA websites.


CENTR Responds to ICANN’s DNS-CERT Business Case

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Last week I blogged about the comments ICANN’s CEO, Rod Beckstrom, made about the security of the DNS at the 37th ICANN meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. In that post, I noted that perhaps he made these comments in an effort to gain support for ICANN’s business case to create a DNS-Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

ICANN’s business case is open for public comment until April 14, 2010. The Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR) has publicly posted their response to ICANN’s business case. I encourage you to read CENTR’s document because I think they do a great job in outlining some of the key concerns expressed about ICANN’s proposed DNS-CERT.

CIRA is a member of CENTR, and supports CENTR’s position. I believe that other organisations/initiatives, such as DNS-OARC, may also better positioned to provide CERT functions than ICANN, and that a more efficient approach to the development of a global DNS-CERT is to support existing organizations and initiatives.   At the very least, until such time as a clear and supported rationale for Beckstrom’s case can be made.  I am not saying he does not have a case, he certainly might.  It is simply that the actual case has yet to be made.  This is the kind of activity where the devil really is in the details and the community really has not seen any to date.  The “why” and the “how”, as well as the “who” pays really need to be clarified and justified before Rod can hope to get to any kind of agreement.

CENTR is an association that provides a forum to discuss matters of policy affecting country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries, like CIRA, and advocates for the interests of our particular community.

On a side note, CENTR has a new Chairperson of their Board of Directors, (@mathieuweill).  Weill has been on the job for a little over a month now, but has been the CEO of AFNIC, the registry for .FR, since 2005.

Congratulations, Mathieu!

What do you think of CENTR’s comments on ICANN’s DNS-CERT business case?