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IAB Minutes 2013-09-04

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Minutes of the 2013-09-04 IAB Teleconference (Tech Chat & Business Meeting)

1. Roll-call, agenda-bash, administrivia, minutes

1.1. Attendance

  • Bernard Aboba
  • Jari Arkko (IETF Chair)
  • Mary Barnes (IAB Executive Director)
  • Marc Blanchet
  • Ross Callon
  • Alissa Cooper
  • Lars Eggert (IRTF Chair)
  • Russ Housley (IAB Chair)
  • Eliot Lear
  • Barry Leiba (IESG Liaison)
  • Xing Li
  • Cindy Morgan (IAB Executive Assistant)
  • Erik Nordmark
  • Andrew Sullivan
  • Dave Thaler
  • Hannes Tschofenig
  • Heather Flanagan (RFC Editor Liaison)
  • Mat Ford (ISOC Liaison)
  • Joel Halpern
  • Alexey Melnikov (RSOC Chair)
  • Olaf Kolkman (present through item 2 only)

1.2. Administrivia

An item on the instructions for the IAB Liaison to the NomCom was added to the agenda.

2. Tech Chat: Innovation at the Waist

Olaf Kolkman delivered a presentation called “Innovation at the Waist,” asking whether it is possible to innovate at the waist of the hourglass, when technologies such as IPv6 and DNSSEC have a difficult time being widely deployed.

Drawing from Everett Rogers’ “Diffusion of Innovations,” Olaf Kolkman described the 5 decision stages:

  1. Knowledge: An individual is exposed but doesn’t know much about the innovation.
  2. Persuasion: The individual seeks more information.
  3. Decision: The individual weighs risks and benefits and takes the decision to adapt or reject.
  4. Implementation: The individual implements the innovation and may seek further information.
  5. Confirmation: The individual confirms the decision that implementation is useful and deploys to full potential.

Looking at the Knowledge, Persuasion, and Decision stages, Olaf Kolkman asked how knowledge spreads, and how decisions are made. Dave Thaler noted that during the Knowledge and Persuasion stages, whether the information is positive or negative makes a difference, and that detractors of one solution are often proponents of another. Olaf replied that social networks drive the spread of information, and that they are often most effective when the social network shares values but lacks previous awareness. As for the decision-making, that tends to fall into one of three categories:

  1. Optional Innovation-Decision: This decision is made by an individual who is in some way distinguished from others in a social system.
  2. Collective Innovation-Decision: This decision is made collectively by all individuals of a social system.
  3. Authority Innovation-Decision: This decision is made for the entire social system by few individuals in positions of influence or power.

Olaf Kolkman noted that the decision whether to deploy IPv6 for example is Optional, but that the Internet as a whole works on Collective Innovation-Decision. Dave Thaler likened it to the chicken-and-egg scenario, where an operator can choose to deploy something on their own, but the pieces to make it work properly must already be in place across the entire network; because of that, IPv6 was previously Collective since a decision to implement had to be made by vendors of hosts, routers, applications, servers, tools, etc., but has now largely advanced to an Optional decision to deploy now that implementations are largely there. Dave also noted that the decision to implement and the decision to deploy could thus be different in this taxonomy.

Olaf Kolkman asked what properties of the innovation inform the decision-makers, and suggested the following, observing that these are consistent with RFC 5218:

  • Complexity/Simplicity: Is the innovation difficult to use? If so, the individual that needs to make the decision is less likely to adopt it.
  • Relative advantage: Does the innovation bring relative improvement?
  • Compatibility: Is the innovation compatible with what the individual already has deployed?
  • Trialability: Can the individual try the innovation? Is it testable? Can the innovation be rolled back if necessary?
  • Observability: Does the innovation have some cool? Can you talk about the innovation at the bar?

Olaf Kolkman stressed that the relative advantage is important. In the case of IPv6, you don’t want users of IPv6 to experience less value on their network than those still using IPv4. The decision-makers must decide whether the value of the innovation outweighs the potential loss of users whose specific applications may break. Dave Thaler noted that in such cases (including deployment of CGNs), the value is being lost by the application developer, and not by the one who deployed the technology in a given network.

Olaf Kolkman pointed out that while early deployment comes with known risks such as bugs and increased capital and operating expenditures, laggards are at risk for decreased market shares down the line.

For group decisions, attractors must be identified, a sense of vision must be shared, and attempts must be made to reduce costs. Regulation and subsidies may be one way to achieve this, if the innovation can be argued to be for the common good. Olaf Kolkman noted that IETF standardization is very much about having a shared vision of the Internet.

For individual decisions, complexity must be reduced, compatibility must be maintained, and benefits must be observable. Open-source and free software can play a large role in reducing the costs of deployment.

Olaf Kolkman concluded that preaching to the choir is easy because the values are already shared; the challenge is in adapting the message to reach the social values at the edge of your network. He suggested that activities like World IPv6 Day and World IPv6 Launch help by showing the actual effects of the risks, and increasing the trialability and observability.

The slides from Olaf Kolkman’s presentation are available here (PDF).

3. Program Meetings at IETF 88

Russ Housley asked if any Programs are planning to meet on the Friday or Saturday prior to IETF 88, as the Secretariat will need to know that as soon as possible. Program Leads responded that their meetings will all take place during the IETF week itself. Cindy Morgan will pass that message along to the Secretariat.

4. Mailing List on Internet Governance and IETF Technical Work

The IAB approved the text for the announcement of the mailing list on Internet governance and IETF technical work. The IAB Chair will send the announcement on behalf of the IAB.

5. NomCom Instructions

The board discussed the IAB’s instructions for the IAB liaison to the NomCom.