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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 September 2010  
 ITU is to start work on standards providing interoperability for telepresence
Telepresence is broadly speaking next generation videoconferencing that also takes into account users' position, actions and voice to render as close as possible a representation of a real life meeting.

Many products exist today that, although they are based on established protocols includ­ing ITU-T H.323, lack interoperability due to proprietary extensions.

Telepresence represents an important evolution of the videoconferencing market. Stan­dards fuelled interoperability between systems is seen as a key way to drive the market. The trend is expected to accelerate, as mainstream video applications begin to offer telepresence features.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: "We don't expect each end of a phone call to be dependent on the manufacturer of the phone being the same. The same should be true for telepresence. Anyone who has used a telepresence system will testify to its remarkable quality, it truly is the next best thing to a face to face meeting. However proprietary solutions have stifled the market. ITU's stan­dards initiative will allow us all to profit from this remarkable technology."

Specifically the new work will focus on standardizing full interoperability between telepresence systems, including facilitating the coherent presentation of multiple audio and video streams so that participants show correct eye contact, gestures etc, to give a more real life like experience.
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 ITU Interop event highlights IPTV interoperability
Industry sent out a strong message of support for ITU standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) at an event held at ITU headquarters 20-23 July. Gathered in Geneva for the first of a new series of ‘ITU Interop’ events, IPTV manufacturers took part in a set of tests to demonstrate conformity to ITU-T standards (Recommendations) and seamless global in­teroperability between their various IPTV devices.

ITU has been busy pioneering a raft of new standards for the technology, which is set to transform global viewing habits in coming years. Experts agreed that stable global stan­dards will be key to take-up of IPTV, avoiding costly and confusing ‘format wars’ and re­duced choice for consumers.

IPTV will deliver all the advantages of traditional ‘linear’ TV in terms of service quality, combined with the many advantages the Internet offers in terms of choice and interactiv­ity. It should not be confused with web streaming, because images are not delivered over the Internet, but rather to homes through a ‘managed network’. That means TV pro­grammes do not have to vie with other traffic on an increasingly busy World Wide Web, which could negatively impact the viewing experience.

Further IPTV ITU Interop events are planned for Singapore, 23-24 and 27 September, and Pune, India 14-17 December 2010.

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 ISO, IEC and ITU to hold international workshop on accessibility
Difficulty trying to access products, services, environments and facilities is an issue for any of us – let alone the millions of people around the world living with disabilities. To this end, an international workshop will be held on 3 and 4 November 2010 to review and ex­amine the standards needed for facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, environment or facility is usable by as many people as possible, including by persons with disabilities. Its impor­tance is signified by the fact that the number of persons with disabilities, either congeni­tal, acquired or as a result of age is estimated to be at around 650 million worldwide.

The WSC workshop on “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” will bring together key stakeholder groups from all over the world representing disability or­ganizations, government and regulators, standards developers, consumers, as well as product designers and manufacturers faced with accessibility requirements. The results of the conference will result in a better understanding of both the work on accessibility issues in standardization in the various areas and the needs of those most concerned. It is hoped that the groundwork will be laid and a road map drawn for future standardization initia­tives and awareness creation initiatives with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

For further information, including the full programme and registration form for the work­shop, please refer to

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 ITU’s role in ICT and road safety
A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report provides an overview of technology-caused driver distraction and surveys standards, guidelines and initiatives aiming at making the use of in-vehicle information and communication systems less distracting.

Texting, making calls, and other interaction with in-vehicle information and communica­tion systems while driving is a serious source of driver distraction and increases the risk of traffic accidents. Technology-caused driver distraction is a global problem and has its stake in the more than 1.2 million people dying in road crashes each year. These numbers are more than reason enough for the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration to launch a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) to halt or reverse the increasing trend in road traffic deaths and injuries around the world.

In April 2010, ITU Council adopted a Resolution on “ITU’s role in ICTs and improving Road Safety,” instructing the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) to bring this matter to the attention of the relevant groups in ITU-T, such as Study Group 12 and the Focus Group on Car Communication. The annual Fully Networked Car work­shop, jointly organized by ISO, IEC and ITU at the Geneva International Motor Show, will also contribute to raising awareness on this important issue.

By implementing standardized human-machine interfaces in their devices and applica­tions, manufacturers can make their use less distracting. Advanced speech recognition and text-to-speech features, and ensured Quality of Service of in-vehicle hands-free sys­tems may minimize driver distraction. Future safety technologies may temporarily or per­manently disable certain features of information and communication technologies used by the driver, based on constantly updated status information provided by sensors inside and outside the vehicle.

A dedicated website provides additional sources of information and an overview of ITU-T Study Groups with work items related to driver distraction.

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 ITU Symposium on ICTs, The Environment and Climate Change
ITU is organizing its Fifth Symposium on ICTs, The Environment and Climate Change, in cooperation with and under the auspices of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs (MSEA), Egypt.

The Symposium will be held 2-3 November 2010 at the Smart Village Convention Center in Cairo, Egypt. It will bring together leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards ex­perts and others. Participants will focus on the issue of ICTs, the environment and climate change in Africa and the needs of developing countries. The main purpose is to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities for using ICTs to monitor climate change, to mitigate and adapt to its effects and, in this light, to identify future requirements for ITU’s related work.

Topics to be discussed will include adaptation to climate change, e-waste, cost-effective ICT technologies, methodology of environmental impact assessment of ICT and financing of climate change solutions.

An output of the Symposium is expected to be the “Cairo Road Map”, a set of recommen­dations for action in relation to ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change.

This event is particularly timely, as it will take place less than a month before the opening of the 16th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 16), which will take place in Novem­ber 2010 in Cancun, Mexico and will aim at producing a new global agreement on climate change.

Additional information can be found at:

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 3rd Meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change
The next Meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) will be held on 16 September from 16.30 to 18.30 hours, in Vilnius, Lithuania during the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

ITU launched the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) in 2007 as an open body committed to moderating the environmental impact of the Internet, to seek­ing new ways to embrace the power of the Internet for reducing greenhouse gas emis­sions worldwide, and to enabling transformation in line with the objectives set and to be set under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Additional information on DCICC can be found at:

And the IGF:

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