12th May 2012, presented the first ever African Internet Standards forum (IETF) that was streamed live from Serekunda Gambia In Kenya IHub provided the venue and resources .There was excitement that finally one of the most meaning internet events was happening in Africa, I can’t though say the number of attendees in the forum, but most of the people attended via the WebEx, an online conferencing platform, therefore most people participated virtually, remote.
The matters on Agenda were an Introduction to IETF, its processes and why individuals need to join, there was even encouragement that it was not only reserved for geeks and tech giants but every person that was interested was invited to be part of the global IETF.
|Photo Adapted from ISOC website|
The issue that was the point of contention was the way to improve the number of graduate students, engineers and tech individuals to engage more actively in the IETF affairs, Africa is the mostly affected in terms of Attendance, physical attendance is very important vis a vis remote attendance which was also low even though it did not need any transport or accommodation to attend.
Apparently most people are not aware of IETF especially in Africa and it’s even more surprising that most people evidenced by those interviewed were academicians who have earned their PHD’s and Masters degrees from participating and using IETF conferences as forums to present their papers. This is a positive indication that more people and more so in Africa can gain much from research and involvement in IETF activities.
The African research has been said to mostly rely on the natural knowledge like Agriculture, and culture, as opposed to their more advanced counterparts from western countries whose research is based more on issues bordering on Academia, engineering, technology. Speakers urged African scholars to broaden their scope by involving themselves more to utilize resources offered by platforms like IETF Forums.
Fellowships were stressed on with many remote delegates demanding for more opportunities and sponsorships to attend such conferences, with more even arguing how easy it was from a delegate from London or USA to attend vs a delegate from Africa who even getting a simple fortnight Visa t cost him a fortune , let alone travel and accommodation : a great disadvantage indeed.
The most interesting topic to most delegates was the remotely presented by Dan York on the new RTC WEB/WebRTC which relied on the upcoming HTML 5, this platform would offer direct video communication eliminating the need for plugins and vendor based applications which have often complicated communication via the Browser platform, Many organizations have been involved in the development of this all inclusive platform using huge resources, Invitations were even more rife that ideas were still needed infact calling on the young netizens of Africa to involve themselves, read the articles on the amazing platform and give ideas.
Amid this interesting development are the Bandwidth issues that continue to dog African internet infrastructural advancement despite the major submarine fiber connections, would Africa be able to embrace this technology before the broadband prices and connectivity stabilizes, Africa can however be useful in involving themselves in how to make the RTCWeb friendly.
Another issue that still attracts a lot of Attention is the IPv6 , talk of how many African organizations are compliant from the IXP, ISP to the last mile user, its evident that more investment has to be done in terms of training , infrastructural development and most importantly for the courage by organizations to actually take a step forward and implement IPv6 its 10 years already since preparations of IPv6 began.
Its Key also that the DNSEXT , matters of how to develop the DNS standards better in the times when security and increase in the number of people now utilizing the internet rich resource, especially now in the times when the mobile internet access is no longer a dream but a reality that organizations have to concentrate resources in advancing infrastructure that will fully serve the mobile client in terms of mobile applications, Security , Access ,less platform dependent software.