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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 Issue No. 36 June 2008 
 ITU undertakes new climate change challenge
The second ITU symposium on ICTs and climate change closed June 18 with a call for ITU to increase its activities in three areas: reducing energy consumption of ICT equipment; promoting efficiencies to be gained through the use of ICTs in other sectors; encouraging behaviour change – both in business and consumers.

"We are here because we are seeking to find the best ways to make ICTs a critical element in addressing climate change, and to identify the work that must be carried out in standards development, environmental monitoring, climate change mitigation and adaptation," said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

In a message to the symposium, UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon commended ITU for working with partners inside and outside the UN family to give high priority to actions in this field. "The information and communication technology sector has much to offer in creating a cleaner, greener world," he said.

Since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, in December 1997, the number of ICT users has tripled worldwide. The ICT Sector produces between two to three per cent of the total emissions of greenhouse gases, but if applied to reducing emissions in other industry sectors such as energy, transportation and buildings, could reduce global emissions by between 15 to 40 per cent depending on the methodology used to make these estimates.

The first ITU symposium on ICTs and climate change, held in Kyoto April 15-16, and co-organised by MIC Japan, drew attention to the wide variation in estimates on the impact of the fast paced ICT evolution on the global climate and recommended that ITU standardise methodologies for estimating the impact of ICTs on climate change both directly and indirectly. This was confirmed in London.

The chairmen’s reports of the two symposia will now be forwarded to the G8 Summit, to be held at Lake Toya, Hokkaido Prefecture in July 2008, and to other relevant meetings.

“We must remind ourselves that this is only a first step on the long road to finding and implementing global solutions to the challenge of climate change through the use of ICTs. What is important is not so much what we say this week, but how we act and follow up on the momentum we have created” said Johnson.

Speaker Luis Neves, chairman of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), a group comprised of key technology companies and organizations (including ITU) said that communications technology is a part of the climate change solution. A GeSI study on facilitating the low carbon economy in the information age has been published.

The London symposium was chaired by Mr. Tom Walker, Director, Europe and international Business Relations, Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), UK.

During the opening session BT chairman Sir Michael Rake accepted a Queen's Award for Enterprise - recognizing the company’s efforts in the field of sustainable development. The award - also received by BT in 2003 and which runs for five years - was presented by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman David Lewis on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

The ITU is expected to conduct most of its work using remote collaboration tools. It may also undertake a gap analysis of work being carried out among other standardization development organizations so as to better focus its activities. In the closing session Johnson strongly encouraged all the attendees, as well others, to participate in this work.

Presentations from Kyoto and London can be viewed here.

See also climate change news feed and video interview with Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.
   Climate Change     ITU-T News
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 New report on lawful interception
The sixth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports covers the technology and standards behind lawful interception (LI), the lawfully authorized monitoring and interception of telecommunications.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled (lawful) interception since the early days of electronic communications, but it remains a shadowy area due to the necessary secrecy that must be accorded to investigations. National laws, LI methods and standards need to be adapted to new telecommunication technologies, which continue to develop at an ever faster pace.

LI has been subject of recent discussion in different ITU-T Study Groups and there is agreement that the topic cannot be limited to its technical parameters: it involves a range of different aspects including legal, regulatory, social and political considerations, at national and international levels. Some parties view LI as a national rather than an international matter while others fear that ITU efforts might duplicate work already done elsewhere. Any discussion of LI, even from a strictly technical perspective, tends to get very quickly into a parallel discussion on human rights.

The report addresses the importance of developing international standards assuring a transparent process of interception, focusing on the sometimes conflicting goals of privacy and security.
   ITU-T News    Technology Watch
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 QoE challenge tackled in new ITU-T Rec.
A recent meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 12 saw consent – first stage of the approval process - on two key new standards for IPTV.

The first ITU-T Recommendation defines user requirements for Quality of Experience (QoE) for IPTV services.

Quality of Experience (QoE) is defined thus: The overall acceptability of an application or service, as perceived subjectively by the end-user.

The new Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. G.1080) defines QoE requirements from an end user perspective, agnostic to network deployment architectures and transport protocols. They are specified as end-to-end and information is provided on how they influence network transport and application layer behaviour.

QoE requirements for video, audio, text, graphics, control functions and meta-data are provided.

The second ITU-T Rec. (ITU-T Rec. G.1081) consented defines performance monitoring for IPTV. The goal of this is to provide higher QoS/QoE to customers by identifying, localizing and quantifying service and network issues. IPTV performance monitoring can be software based, hardware based, or a hybrid.

Monitoring parameters, monitoring points and monitoring methods are defined that allow the service provider/network operator to monitor the performance of the service delivery to the end user.

Successful deployment of IPTV services requires performance to be monitored at the customer premise (e.g. set-top-box), key aggregation points such as DSL Access Multiplexer (DSLAM) or cable modem termination system (CMTS) and at interconnect points between disparate network domains. Performance monitoring can help:
  • Find errors in an end-to-end system (system debugging)
  • Check the resource utilization and the work load of system components
  • Compare values (metrics) regarding performance of different system deployments
  • Provide a base for modelling the systemFind system bottlenecks
  • Optimize IPTV network deployment
  • Ensure that system performance does not degrade with time
IPTV standards are progressing rapidly through ITU-T's IPTV Global Standards Initiative (GSI). With successful first generation IPTV services offered by many service providers worldwide standards are seen as vital to boost next generation services where a customer may 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. More Recommendations are expected to be consented at the upcoming IPTV-GSI meeting 23-27 June in Geneva.
   IPTV   Study Group 12
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 Regional Development Forum for the Americas Region
The Regional Development Forum for the Americas Region closed 20 May 2008, in Brasilia, Brazil. The Forum, was jointly organized by 17 countries in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

At the opening ceremony, the chairman, H.E. Ambassador Ronaldo Sardenberg, President of Anatel, Brazil, confirmed Anatel’s interest in increasing its cooperation with ITU and other regulatory agencies. He stressed the importance of the Forum in terms of preparing for WTSA-08 and discussing the “standardization gap”. He pointed out that the capacity to participate in the standardization process is of fundamental importance to decrease this standardization gap between developed and developing countries.

In his speech Mr. Clovis Baptista, Executive Secretary of CITEL underlined the great impact that the information society has on society. The information society responds to society’s needs and helps people build on progress, he said. Baptista also reported an increase in the number of available services within the Americas region. A universal and suitable infrastructure is one of the objectives necessary to accelerate the process of American integration he said.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson, thanked the Ambassador for hosting the event and the cooperation of CITEL. He expressed his appreciation to countries in the Americas for their active support of ITU’s activities, especially its standardization work. He highlighted the importance of standards for international communications and global trade. Globalisation requires global standards, and a global standards body like ITU clearly has an increasing role to play, he said.

In his speech, Johnson also raised the serious problem of cost of participation, especially to meetings in Geneva, as well as the cost of membership, particularly for small start-up companies in developing countries. He said that there had been attempts to overcome these difficulties, and that the issues would be hot topics at the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08). Johnson said that he had long encouraged members to host meetings in the regions, and had recently established a fund to assist hosts with the cost of doing so, as well as for providing fellowships to attend the meetings. He also mentioned the invitation to hold an NGN Global Standards Initiative (GSI) meeting in the Americas region in September 2009. Moreover, he added that ITU-T has also been trialling new collaboration tools which will allow remote participation in ITU-T meetings.
  Developing Countries    WTSA-08    Events
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 ITU Presentation at TMF event
ITU-T NGN expert, Seungyun Lee, from the Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (Korea) will make a presentation at the upcoming Telemanagement Forum’s (TMF), Service Delivery Summit. Lee’s presentation is entitled Towards a SOA/WS enabled NGN Open Service Environment - ongoing developments in ITU-T SG13.

His abstract:

“Across the telecom industry, much work is underway to separate the communications capabilities in today’s networks from the networks themselves and to make those capabilities available for integration into the applications in the IT industry. This effort is making possible a rich menu of modular building blocks that can be easily mixed and matched with building blocks from the IT industry to form wholly new kinds of multimedia services and automated business processes that marry the rich content, data applications, and business processes of the IT world with the intelligent, real-time, in-the-network functions of the telecom domain.

Key to this effort at the core of future multimedia service architectures are the SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and the WS (Web Services) frameworks. ITU-T SG13 has started the development of specifications towards the integration of SOA and WS technical approaches in the NGN context. In line with approved and ongoing ITU-T recommendations, this presentation, building over the basic concept of NGN capabilities, will introduce some key requirements and capabilities for the support of an advanced open service environment in NGN. The integration of SOA and WS in NGN will be then examined, including some achievements and current challenges for the standards community.”

The event focuses on the drive to create an open, industry owned blueprint of how new and exciting services can be created and delivered across complex value chains. It examines standardization of key elements of service delivery platforms (SDPs), which will open up the ability of partners to add end-user value by working seamlessly together to deliver novel services, created and delivered in a fraction of the time and cost it takes today, while dramatically cutting integration costs and avoiding vendor lock-in.
   NGN    Study Group 13
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 ITU and IEEE Comsoc collaborate to bring Academia and the standards world closer
ITU-T and IEEE Communications Society (Comsoc) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aiming to better collaboration between academia and the standards world.

The document was signed during the first ITU-T Kaleidoscope conference, Innovations in NGN - Future Network and Services by Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, and Alexander D. Gelman, Director of Standards, IEEE ComSoc.

The objective of the MoU is to increase cooperation particularly in the area of events (e.g. workshops, seminars, symposia, forums and academic conferences) and publications.

The conference was the first in a series that aims at increasing the dialogue between academia, research institutes and ITU experts working on the standardization of ICTs. Held in Geneva, 12-13 May, it was attended by more than 220 participants.

Organized by ITU-T with IEEE ComSoc as Technical Co-Sponsor and supported by Cisco, Intel, the International Communications Foundation of Japan) and Sun Microsystems, the conference brought together the best academic minds from around the world to present their future visions for Next-Generation Networks (NGN).

Among over 140 papers submitted. 53 papers were presented and the best three were awarded prizes totaling $10,000 kindly donated by Cisco. These papers will be included in a future special edition of the IEEE Communications Magazine.

The winning papers were:

Architecture and business model of open heterogeneous mobile network, Yoshitoshi Murata; Mikio Hasegawa; Homare Murakami; Hiroshi Harada; Shuzo Kato.

Differential phase shift quantum key distribution, Hiroki Takesue; Toshimori Honjo; Kiyoshi Tamaki; Yasuhiro Tokura.

Open API standardisation for the NGN platform, Catherine Mulligan.

In addition to the prize pool 16 entrants received a Young Author Recognition Certificate, a recognition ITU will continue to give in future.

The conference highlighted technologies, services and applications that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure as well as looking beyond NGN. It covered multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of regulatory and societal challenges.

Attendees agreed on the the importance of strong collaboration between ITU-T, academia, and research institutes, which would be to the benefit all. The many academics in attendance expressed the importance of the role of universities in the standardization process. One issue discussed was the lowering of the ITU membership fee for such organizations, a topic that will likely be discussed at the coming WTSA-08.

Building on the success of the first Kaleidoscope event, a second conference is planned for 2009.

A live audiocast, and archived audio of the conference can be accessed here.
   NGN    Workshops
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 ITU Standard allows emergency rescue workers to identify a victim's next-of-kin
A standardized language-independent way to identify a next-of-kin (or other emergency contact) in a mobile handset's directory, in case of an emergency, has been adopted as a new clause in ITU-T Recommendation E.123.Emergency rescue workers searching for contact information for the next-of-kin to an injured person have had no globally understood way of identifying that person's details.

The directory of the injured person's mobile handset is typically used, since it usually contains the names and numbers of next-of-kin. However, without a standard way to distinguish these contacts from all other entries in the directory it is difficult for emergency workers to identify who to call. system does exist but works only for readers of latin scripts. In 2005, an English ambulance paramedic, Bob Brotchie, proposed a world-wide introduction of an easy-to-find listing of phone numbers to be called "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) in the mobile phones of victims of accidents etc.

ICE spread across Europe from the mid 2000's and started to grow into North America. In a very short time ICE became a standard phrase used by safety advice agencies and emergency services all over the English-speaking world. The United Nations issued a guidance note to its entire staff making them aware of the programme.

Even though very useful, the acronym ICE is specific to the English language, and the letters ICE is of no use to people who can not recognize letters in the Latin script.

ITU believes that international standards must be useable by anyone, regardless of language or script, and has thus taken one step further by approving the standardized language-independent version of ICE using Arabic numerals (the digits 0 through 9) instead, since they are known by all users around the world.

The new clause in Recommendation E.123 proposes to store emergency contact numbers in the form "0nx", where "n" is a digit from 1 through 9 and "x" is any meaningful descriptive character string in any language or script (e.g. "Anna" or "Spouse"). In the handset's rectory this would be displayed as "01Anna" or "01Spouse" enabling easy identification by the emergency services.

Emergency Telecoms   Study Group 2
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 ICT giants contribute to bridging the standardization gap
Nokia Siemens Networks, Microsoft and Cisco have contributed over USD 125,000 between them to establish an ITU fund to bridge the standardization gap between developed and developing countries.

ITU recently announced the fund that would be used to support forums , tutorials and workshops, participation of delegates from least developed countries in meetings, the hosting of meetings in developing countries, surveys and study programmes.

Bridging the standardization gap means allowing easier participation in the standards development process which in turn allows developing countries to profit from access to new technology development and ensures that their needs are taken into account in the development of standards.

Rajiv Kapoor, Director Carrier Standards and Architectures, Cisco Systems, Cisco: “As a technology leader, Cisco is a longtime supporter of ITU activities in many fields and especially of projects aimed at bridging the digital divide. Increasing developing country participation in the standards making process is not a short term fix. It will give developing countries a voice in the development of next generation ICTs and sow the seeds of a truly equitable information society.”

Tom Robertson, General Manager for Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft: “Technical standards play a critical role in defining the technical and economic landscape around the world. All communities affected by standards should have a voice in their creation. We are strong supporters of bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries. The ITU fund represents important efforts being made to ensure that all countries have the opportunity to contribute to standards development. We look forward to supporting the ITU's efforts to resolve disparities and bring the potential of technology development to all communities. ”Dirk Weiler, Vice President Standards and Fora at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile, Nokia Siemens Networks: “Technology is a way for the poor of the world to break free from poverty. We have identified participation in the standards making process as an important way to facilitate digital inclusion. The problem is that in the past developing countries have lacked the resources to access, implement and contribute to standards. This new initiative goes a long way to addressing the problem. We look forward to working with ITU on its continuing efforts to bridge the digital divide.”

Companies interested in making a contribution to the fund should contact Thierry Perewostchikow (thierry.perewostchikow[a] The relevant Circular Letter can be found here.
 Developing Countries    Co-Operation
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 IPR Workshop announced
ITU is hosting a workshop that will examine the critical issue of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and ICT standards.

The one day workshop will be held at ITU headquarters, 1 July.

The event, aimed at intellectual property specialists and standards makers will discuss the inclusion of patented technology in standards and the patent policy approaches to address this. International experts from both the public and private sectors from around the world will help provide an overview of the issues and share their insights on present and future developments.

The exchange of ideas and experiences facilitated by this workshop will provide valuable insight and input that can help to guide future discussion of the related issues – both at the ITU and in other fora.

Press release on common patent policy.

More information and registration here.
 IPR    Workshops
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Updated : 2008-06-30