For a planet made up of countries, cultures and climates galore, apart from the oxygen we collectively breathe, we remain connected by one growing constant.
“One world. One Internet,” reads the ICANN motto, succinctly summarising the modern day world.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to be precise, and for the nonprofit organisation, a name is everything.
For ICANN coordinate the Internet’s global domain name system.
Simply put, to reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer, a name or a number.
That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other - ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world.
“Without that coordination from ICAAN, we wouldn't have the one global Internet that we have today,” says Tim Johnson, CEO, Dot Kiwi, and attendee of the ICANN 49th Public Meeting in Singapore from March 23-27.
The first of three public meetings each calendar year in different regions across the globe, Johnson was one of a handful of Kiwis who attended the conference, one of the most pivotal of recent times.
“There was a definite buzz to the conference in Singapore now that the new breed of domain names (gTLDs) are actually live and selling,” says Johnson, attending his sixth ICANN conference.
“It changed the dynamic of the sessions for sure and it was a great opportunity to collaborate on such a global scale.
“It’s an incredibly open environment with six sessions running parallel at any given time throughout the week, such is the vast amount of content to discuss.”
Usually comprised of more than 200 different sessions, the week-long meetings are the focal point for individuals and representatives of the different ICANN stakeholder groups to introduce and discuss issues related to ICANN policy.
To keep pace with the dynamic technologies and rapid innovation, ICANN enables consensus-driven, multi-stakeholder policy development, encouraging broad representation from the global Internet community - such as Dot Kiwi.
“The ICANN conference is a place you can be heard and one of the few genuine multi-stake holder ‘bottom up’ organisations in the world,” Johnson adds.
Located in the heart of Playa Vista, California, ICANN’s existence dates back to September 1998, when the internet was still finding its feet and the world was unaware of its growing dependence on it.
“It’s an interesting time to learn more about ICANN as they’ve traditionally been a very quiet organisation who just got on with their job,” says Johnson, who can relate directly to the unsung hero role through his unspoken work with the New Zealand Bobsled Team.
The organisation has established market competition for gTLD registrations, resulting in a lowering of domain name costs by 80% and saving consumers and businesses over US$1 billion annually in domain registration fees.
“The fact nobody does know about them is testament to the good work they have been doing behind the scenes for many years,” Johnson adds.
“The organisation is born out of the USA but they’re in the process of expanding on a global scale, cementing their place as the international regulator of the internet in the world.”
Johnson’s attendance at such events all come about since ICANN voted in June 2011 to vastly expand the number of domain names available, approving Dot Kiwi to become the world’s only .kiwi registry.
And in facilitating the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet’s unique Identifier systems, the ICANN conference naturally draws like-minded folk from all parts of the world.
“I try to be as globally and industry diverse as possible when developing relationships at conferences,” says Johnson, who has formed strong ties with .buzz and .fun.
“It’s always great to surround yourself with such sharp thinkers in the industry and the ICAAN conference is the best way to get the creative juices flowing.”
With the landmark ICANN 50th Public Meeting in London from 22-26 June this year, it’s safe to say Johnson will be there, collaborating with the masses while proudly flying the Kiwi flag.