From the May 2007 issue of Entrepreneur

IPv6 may not be high on your list of business priorities, but it's high time for a closer look. IPv6 is basically the next-generation IP, and it will eventually replace the older IPv4, which is rapidly running out of addresses. The protocol also features a host of enhancements and extra features that make it a jumbo step forward from IPv4.

"The value of IPv6 is that you will be able to communicate with [and] establish connectivity to your goods and services where they're being used," says Stephen Oronte, senior director for Network Centric Solutions at Command Information, an IPv6 training and services provider in Herndon, Virginia. Everything from washing machines to streetlights could be IP-enabled and be part of the network. That leaves plenty of room for growing technology companies to create new products and services that take advantage of the advanced features of IPv6.

There are many compelling reasons for businesses of all kinds to dedicate some study time to IPv6. "It's going to provide them with direction, future competitive advantage, differentiation of their products and services, and potentially totally new markets and revenue opportunities," says Oronte.

IPv6 is already here in a lot of forms. Chances are your new network router in the office is IPv6-ready. Windows Vista is IPv6 by default. Many mobile phones are already IPv6-capable. When you're upgrading your technology or figuring out your business goals, bring up IPv6. "You should consider [the fact] that everything at some point will be connected to the network, and procure accordingly," says Oronte. For more information, visit Command Information or stop by the IPv6 Portal.