Internet minister Ed Vaizey has called on businesses to start preparing for IPv6 adoption now so that they are not adversely affected by the transition.
Speaking at the Move Over IPv4 (Bring on IPv6) event in London on Tuesday night, Vaizey issued a call to arms to the entire technology sector to work together to ensure that the UK does not lag behind on the issue.
"The title [of the event] reflects the extraordinary success of the internet. IPv4 had four billion addresses, but we've run out and we have to move to IPv6 and we have to do it seamlessly," he said.
"This is going to be a long-term effort but it's not something that the government can simply make happen. We have to work with ISPs, businesses and industry to bring about this change."
Vaizey added that the not-for-profit organisation 6UK, set up by the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation, is helping UK businesses understand the issue.
"The government helped set up 6UK as the principal forum to promote the rollout of IPv6 to UK organisations so they can make the transition and secure competitive advantage with the rapid adoption of the new internet protocol," he said.
"This will ensure that no part of UK industry gets left behind or is unaware of the changes that need to be made."
Simon McCalla, IT director of .uk registry Nominet, warned that the industry should not just use doom and gloom to raise awareness around IPv6, but should promote the benefits, such as machine-to-machine connections.
"We have to start thinking about how we are going to engage with British businesses to encourage them to understand the benefits IPv6 brings and start urging UK businesses to start planning IPv6 rollouts in their IT roadmaps," he said.
"As an industry we are going to be the ones that make the 'internet of things' a reality, so we've got to get out there and sell IPv6 as the next-generation internet."
The last blocks of IPv4 were handed out at a ceremony in Flordia in Februrary, and many internet companies are working to raise awareness by hosting a World IPv6 day on 8 June.
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