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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 Issue No. 35 May 2008 
 IPTV experts host webinar
ITU-T IPTV experts Ghassem Koleyni and Simon Jones will lead a live web seminar (webinar) on IPTV standardization, May 7 at 1600 CET.

Click here to register, for the webinar hosted by industry analyst Heavy Reading. By registering you will be able to listen to and take part in discussion as well as view presentation slides.

Koleyni and Jones will present standardization from an ITU perspective with experts from other standards bodies, including the DSL Forum and ATIS, explaining how they have worked with ITU to produce the first set of global IPTV specifications, available here. Malcolm Johnson, Director ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said: “I encourage anyone involved in the deployment of IPTV services at any level to take this opportunity to learn about this important set of standards as well as quiz our experts on the topic.

We have already seen first generation IPTV services and as these mature we may see a change in regulation or market demand that will require interoperation between service and/or network providers. A potential outcome of this will be that a customer can go into shop, buy an IPTV box, call their network operator and sign-up and then access services from a range of third party service providers. It is to meet that need that the value of ITU’s work on standardisation will be realised.”

If you can’t join the live event registration will give access to an archive file of the event.

   Events    Home Networking
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 ITU tasked with climate change challenge
The ITU/MIC Kyoto Symposium on ICTs and Climate Change closed 16 April with agreement that ITU should play a significant role in the global effort to combat climate change. A number of actions were recommended for ITU. Among them ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T) was tasked with the development of an internationally agreed standard methodology to measure the impact of ICTs on climate change, both in terms of the direct emission of greenhouse gases, and the savings that can be generated in other sectors of industry through the application of ICTs.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson, supported the meeting’s recommendation that an ITU-T Focus Group would be an appropriate vehicle to take forward this work. He said that he would propose the formation of a new group to ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) at its next meeting in July. However, to move quickly, he encouraged the submission of proposals on the terms of reference for this group, as well as initial proposals on methodologies, to:

Johnson also proposed that a draft Resolution would be presented at this year’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08), in Johannesburg, October. The document is expected to outline ITU-T’s responsibility in identifying the role that ICTs should play in the mitigation and monitoring of climate change and target carbon emission reductions for the industry.

Experts agreed that the chairman’s report of the Kyoto event provides an excellent start point for the Resolution which will be discussed in further detail at the second ITU symposium on ICTs and climate change, 17-18 June 2008 in London. More information is also available in the meeting summary and the ITU background report.

The chairman’s report of the Kyoto symposium will also be forwarded to upcoming meetings of the World Economic Forum, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministerial meeting in the Republic of Korea, the G8 meeting in Japan and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The second ITU symposium on ICTs and climate change, will be held 17-18 June in London, hosted by BT. The London event will also be broadcast as a live Webinar. Register here.

Presentations from Kyoto can be viewed here.

See also climate change news feed for more detailed reports on the Kyoto event.

   Climate Change    Technology Watch
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 ITU-T/IETF interoperability issues addressed
Fears that a set of next-generation network transport specifications developed by ITU-T could cause interoperability problems have been allayed. The IETF and ITU will work together to extend IETF MPLS functionality to address the needs of the transport network. The work will move forward recognizing that the sole design authority for MPLS resides in the IETF, and the domain of expertise for Transport Network Infrastructure resides in ITU-T SG15.

ITU-T has been developing extensions to Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) MPLS to address the requirements of the transport network (T-MPLS). However, concerns were raised by the IETF that the approach taken by the ITU-T was incompatible with widely deployed - MPLS - technology. These concerns have been allayed with the agreement that the IETF and ITU-T will work jointly on the development of a transport profile for MPLS technology which will now be referred to as “MPLS-TP”. The Joint Working Team (see previous newslog entry) consisting of experts from the IETF and ITU-T has recommended that IETF MPLS technology should be extended to meet the requirements of the transport network. The proposal is based on technical analysis that showed that the IETF MPLS architecture can be extended to provide the functionality required by the transport network as defined by ITU-T's Study Group 15. The ITU-T has accepted this proposal and the IETF will develop a transport profile for MPLS (MPLS-TP) with input from ITU-T to ensure that the requirements of the transport network are fully addressed. Details of the proposal and the technical consideration are available here.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said, “Given the complexity of today’s networks it is inevitable that we will, from time-to-time, see divergent approaches. What is important is that we quickly agree on a way forward. The experts in the joint group have worked hard to find a cooperative solution rather than going our separate ways. This is an excellent result and bodes well for the future collaboration between ITU and IETF.”

Russ Housley Chair of the IETF, “I am very optimistic about the outcome, and I see this as a significant milestone in the cooperation between the ITU-T and the IETF.”

   Study Group 15    Co-Operation
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 ITU experts enable risk management strategies with new standards
Six new standards enabling a more secure ICT environment have been approved by ITU. Experts say that the standards represent an important achievement reflecting the needs of business in establishing risk management strategies and the protection of consumers.

Three ITU-T Recommendations cover a definition of cybersecurity, a standardized way for vendors to supply security updates and guidelines on spyware. While the other three focus on countering the modern day plague of spam by providing a toolbox of technical measures to help consumers and service providers.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “In the real – non-virtual – world risk management is well understood and so the infrastructure has been developed to protect against theft, fraud and other kinds of attack. The virtual world should be no different. And standards can provide the backbone for this risk-management infrastructure.”

Standards give businesses the systematic approach to information security that they need to keep network assets safe. The adoption of multiple – proprietary – approaches is, experts agree, an inherently more vulnerable approach.

Recommendations on spam are a direct response to a call from the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T. Members asked that ITU-T define technical measures to tackle this plague of the digital world following growing global concern at additional costs and loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecoms operators and business users.

Herb Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T’s Study Group 17 that looks at cybersecurity: “ITU-T is in a unique position given its international scope and the fact that it brings together the private sector and governments to coordinate work on standards and influence the harmonization of security practices worldwide.”

The Recommendations in brief

ITU-T Rec. X.1205 establishes a definition of cybersecurity noting that this understanding is needed in order to build a foundation of knowledge that can aid securing the networks of tomorrow. Network protocols, it says, were developed in an environment of trust but today cybersecurity threats are growing.

ITU-T Rec. X.1205 provides a classification of security threats from an organization’s point of view. It gives a layered approach to security enabling organizations to create multiple levels of defence against threats.

ITU-T Rec. X.1206 is designed to make it easier for systems administrators to manage patches/updates from multiple software vendors. The work was driven by concerns that the number of different methodologies used to deliver software updates was becoming a headache for companies. The Rec. gives a vendor-neutral framework for automatic notification of security related information and dissemination of updates.

ITU-T Rec. X.1207 gives guidelines enabling users to identify spyware and for vendors to avoid their products being mistakenly identified as such. The Recommendation promotes best practices around principles of clear notice and user’s consents and controls. Authors of the Recommendation say that it develops and promotes best practices to users on PC security, including use of anti-spyware, anti-virus, personal firewall, and security updates of software on client systems.

ITU-T Rec. X.1231 sets out the requirements for combating spam and will serve as the startpoint for all further anti-spam standardization work. It gives an overview of methodologies to counter spam and describes the general characteristics of spam whether for e-mail, SMS, VoIP or other emerging forms of spam. It also outlines key ways to counter spam, and a hierarchical model to establish an efficient and effective anti-spam strategy.

ITU-T Rec. X.1240 is aimed at end users and focusing just on e-mail spam, brings together various mature spam combating technologies in order that users can select the most appropriate.

ITU-T Rec. X.1241 promotes greater cooperation between service providers in tackling spam. In particular the document provides a framework enabling a communication methodology for alerts on identified spam.
   Standards    Security    Study Group 17
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 ITU-T forms Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability
Following an ITU-T workshop on accessibility last year at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio, a Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD) has been established by ITU-T. The DCAD will facilitate interaction between relevant bodies and ensure that information and communications technologies (ICT) accessibility and tools to facilitate it are included in the key debates around Internet governance.
DCAD aims to help build a future where all sectors of the global community have equal access to communications and online information as well as the ability to participate in IGF discussions and seminars. The initiative takes into account the fact that all communities can benefit from ICTs and improve their quality of life, a view supported by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The coalition is currently composed of eight organizations, and is open to any entity or individual working in the field. If you wish to be part of this effort please contact the Dynamic Coalition Secretariat.

Further information on ITU and ICT accessibility can be found here.

   Accessibility    Co-Operation
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 Academia accepts challenge to find innovation in NGN
An ITU event will bring together the best academic minds from around the world to present their future visions for next generation networks (NGN). The three best papers will be awarded from a prize fund donated by Cisco totaling $10,000.

Innovations in NGN, 12-13 May, Geneva is the first in a series of conferences under the banner ‘Kaleidoscope’ that will bring closer ties between ITU, academia and research organizations. The event, technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society attracted around 140 contributions with its initial call for papers. From this, 54 of the most visionary papers have been selected by a review panel of 140 experts from around the world for presentation at the conference. The event will also host the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ITU and IEEE Communications Society.

Innovations in NGN will highlight technologies, services and applications five years and beyond that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure and lead to the ubiquitous network society in which information can be accessed anywhere and anytime by anyone and anything. It will also cover multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of regulatory and societal challenges.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Technology is a critical determinant of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. And, education is key to the accelerated development of information and communications technologies (ICT) and contributes to the increased use of these technologies all over the world. Without the involvement of the world’s universities and other academic and research institutions we would not have reached the level of innovation that we see today. The Kaleidoscope series is an excellent innitiative to capitalize on the fruitful relationship that we already have with academia and take it to another level.”

ITU has a long history of collaboration with academia and many standards (ITU-T Recommendations) have been developed with academic input. Some leading Study Group positions are held by university professors. The Kaleidoscope initiative will encourage a new type of engagement along the lines of an academic conference. Authors whose works are selected for the event’s proceedings will gain extra academic recognition by being published online by IEEE. The standards world will profit from new ideas for possible future development.

Innovations in NGN is to inspire contributions towards a kaleidoscopic view of communication habits for the future. We know what NGN is in terms of the underlying technology, but we don’t know what services will emerge, how NGN will affect the marketplace for ICT, and how society will be affected. This, first in the series of Kaleidoscope conferences is free for anyone to attend and will shed light on some of these questions as well as inspire debate and future work on the future of ICT and ICT standardization. Please register at
   NGN    Workshops
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 It's good to collaborate
“Increase productivity, save time and money while reducing your company’s carbon footprint”; this is the ambitious sales pitch for a new family of tools that promise to offer the 3Cs - communication, collaboration and coordination - without the requirement for physical travel. For ITU-T, whose basic mission is to encourage collaborative work among a global membership on the development and adoption of international standards, remote collaboration is a daily necessity.

A new report, the fifth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports, describes how Remote Collaboration Tools can facilitate collaboration with colleagues, and support businesses in overcoming the geographical limitations of everyday work. Remote collaboration tools can be used alongside, or integrated with, traditional office applications (such as e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets) or as an enabler of collaboration, communication and coordination. Using online meetings, collaboration that might not have occurred otherwise (as a consequence of tight schedules, long distances, or the high cost of business travel), may now take place.

For developing countries, remote collaboration tools can thus be seen as a helpful instrument in overcoming the digital divide and for “Bridging the Standardization Gap”, an ITU initiative to facilitate the participation of developing countries in the standards development process.

Furthermore, replacing long-distance travel by online meetings makes remote collaboration tools a clean, green technology, which is particularly important in the context of current global concerns over climate change. In 2007, ITU-T organized and provided logistical and secretariat support for some 85 meetings/workshops, representing a total of 339 meeting days, as well as numerous smaller informal meetings, such as rapporteur groups of steering committees. Holding even a small number of those meetings online would reduce travel and therefore have a significant impact on ITU-T’s carbon footprint.

The upcoming and second ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change (17-18 June 2008 in London, supported and hosted by BT) will be available as a webinar in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world. Provision will also be made for remote participants to submit comments and questions.

Download Technology Watch report on Remote Collaboration Tools.

Accessibility    Climate Change
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 Detecting, tracking and monitoring with Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN)
When you enter a modern office building, such as ITU-T’s office in Geneva, it is quite common for the glass doors to open automatically and for lights to come on as you enter a darkened room. This “magic” is achieved by motion sensors. But entering a building in the future, you might be welcomed by name with a personal greeting and given security access suitable to your status (e.g., employee, delegate, newcomer). To do this without human intervention would require not only intelligent sensors but also perhaps ID tags and readers and interaction with a database.

In a new Technology Watch briefing report from ITU-T, the term “Ubiquitous Sensor Networks” (USN) is used to describe networks of intelligent sensor nodes that could be deployed “anywhere, anytime, by anyone and anything”. The technology has huge potential as it could generate applications in a wide range of civilian and military fields, including ensuring safety and security, environment and habitat monitoring, real-time healthcare, landmine detection and intelligent transport systems (ITS).

Sensor nodes may vary enormously in size, cost and complexity. Their characteristics are highly application-specific. Depending on the sensor type, the links between sensors may be provided by either wired or wireless communication. Energy-efficient operation is an important requirement for scenarios where sensor nodes are deployed in hazardous or inaccessible environments.

The variability of USN poses a challenge to researchers and a number of different standards development organizations (SDOs) are already engaged int this field. Within ITU-T, USN standardization is being carried out under the auspices of the Next-Generation Network Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). The new report, the fourth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports, describes the different components of USN, notes the standardization work currently going on in ITU-T, and gives an overview of the different fields of applications of USN in both, developed and developing countries.

Download Technology Watch report on Ubiquitous Sensor Networks

   Climate Change    NGN    Technology Watch
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Updated : 2008-05-01