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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 February 2012  
New work seeks to achieve cloud interoperability
Momentum towards greater interoperability between cloud services has been achieved with the announcement of new work in ITU.

ITU-T’s Study Group 13 (SG 13) has created a new Working Party (WP) on cloud computing, tasked with progressing the Technical Reports that were the output of a previous Focus Group on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) towards formalization as ITU-T Recommendations.

Cloud computing is an industry expected to grow at an annual growth rate of roughly 30 per cent, consequently more than quadrupling in size between 2010 and 2015 to become an industry worth approximately $120 billion. However, concerns with the portability – freedom to transfer data between the clouds of different providers - and the interoperability of cloud solutions has led to calls for standardization to fuel further industry growth (see ITU-T Techwatch Report, “Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds”).

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), ZTE Corporation and Microsoft are all very active within both ITU and the cloud computing field, and ITU is pleased to see these Questions placed in such capable hands.

In addition, SG 13 has appointed Monique Morrow of Cisco Systems as convener of the recently-established Joint Coordination Activity (JCA) on Cloud Computing . The JCA will coordinate the multi-dimensional study of cloud computing within the ITU, and will act as a point of contact for other organizations seeking to contribute to this work.

ITU’s cloud computing work has already attracted a great deal of interest resulting in several new memberships.

For more on this story
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Call for new apps to address ‘sustainable energy for all’
ITU and Telefónica have announced two challenges to uncover innovative ICT approaches to support the 2012 UN-declared ‘International Year for Sustainable Energy for All’.

The Green ICT Hackathon will take place on 28-29 February during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, while the 2nd Green ICT Application Challenge is now open for the submission of Concept Papers until 13 April, 2012.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “Sustainable energy for all is crucial to the future of modern civilization. ITU is committed to stimulating the creation of innovative ICT apps founded on new modes of thinking; ideas to effect the change needed to achieve a sustainable future.”

Alberto Andreu Pinillos, Chief Reputation and Sustainability Officer at Telefónica: “The Green ICT Hackathon is part of the joint activities of Telefónica’s Global Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Office, Movistar Spain and Bluevia, Telefónica’s global developer platform. These initiatives have a double objective – first, to support developers with great ideas, and second, to foster green ICT applications for energy efficiency and sustainable development.”

Full press release
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ITU IPTV standards the basis for transcontinental IPTV experiment
An international experiment deploying ITU-standardized IPTV technologies has taken place 6-8 February 2012. IPTV services were used to live-stream scenes from the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan and to provide supporting Video-on-Demand (VoD) segments.

ITU Headquarters in Geneva received the stream from the head-end server in Japan, participating alongside organizations from Japan, Singapore and Thailand in what is the first transcontinental broadcast of a live event using IPTV technology standardized end-to-end by ITU. The connection uses native IPv6 from ITU Headquarters to Japan.

Proprietary IPTV services have hampered the growth of this exciting new market, and such experiments - together with ITU IPTV Interoperability events – are important steps towards broadening the IPTV market through globally-interoperable services. Standardized IPTV will lead to a whole new market for innovation, and ITU standards will ensure this market remains open, competitive and accessible to all.

First approved in 2009, Recommendation ITU-T H.762, a “Lightweight Interactive Multimedia Environment” (LIME) for IPTV services, is the standard with which Sapporo’s live-stream IPTV application complies. Hokkaido Television Broadcasting (HTB) developed this application, and is one of many broadcasters, manufacturers and research institutes involved in the IPTV experiments. The experiments have been organized by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications (NICT) and are being conducted over its IPv6 research network, Japan Gigabit Network-eXtreme (JGN-X).

Other ITU-T IPTV standards also formed part of the infrastructure: H.770 IPTV Service discovery, H.721 IPTV terminal for VoD and Linear TV, H.701 IPTV Error correction, H.750 IPTV Metadata and the Primetime Emmy Award winning H.264 Video compression codec. The experiments also used Openflow, PCE/VNTM and sa46t.

For more on ITU’s IPTV standardization work, please see ITU’s IPTV Global Standards Initiative here.
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ITU establishes Focus Group on Machine-to-Machine Service Layer
The January meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) has established a new Focus Group on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Service Layer.

M2M refers to the ability of a machine to sense and measure certain variables, and communicate this information to other machines in a network. Included under the larger umbrella of the “Internet of Things” (IoT), M2M technologies have applications in a number of industries – e-health, fleet management, sales and payment, security and surveillance, intelligent transport systems (ITS) etc.

The group will study and evaluate the M2M landscape and M2M work currently being undertaken by regional and national standards development organizations (SDOs), with a view to identifying a common set of requirements.

The Focus Group will initially focus on the APIs and protocols to support e-health applications and services, and develop technical reports in these areas. It is suggested that the Focus Group establish three sub-working groups: “M2M use cases and service models”, “M2M service layer requirements” and “M2M APIs and protocols.” Strong collaboration with stakeholders such as Continua Health Alliance and World Health Organization (WHO) is foreseen. The Focus Group concept allows for greater operational flexibility and crucially allows non ITU members and other interested organizations to participate.

The group is expected to carry out the following specific tasks:
  • Research, collect and analyze the vertical market M2M service layer needs, initially focusing on e-health.
  • Identify a minimum common set of M2M service layer requirements and capabilities, initially focusing on e-health applications and services.
  • Study APIs and relevant protocols that satisfy the above requirements and capabilities to support the communications between the M2M applications and the telecom networks.
  • Develop technical reports to address the identified gaps and propose future standardization work for ITU-T developments on M2M.
  • Support global harmonization and consolidation by inputting its final deliverables to the parent Study Group and other relevant Study Groups as appropriate.
These terms of reference are subject to consultation of the next four-weeks.

The Focus Group will work closely with all ITU-T Study Groups, especially Study Groups 13 and 16, with the other ITU sectors (ITU-R, ITU-D) and with other relevant UN agencies, SDOs, forums/consortia, regulators, policy makers, industry and academia. Within the ITU, the group will work particularly closely with the Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative (IoT-GSI).
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Joint Coordination Activity on Cloud Computing established
January’s meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) has established a Joint Coordination Activity on cloud computing (JCA-Cloud). The work of the ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing (FG Cloud) will now be progressed through a number of ITU Study Groups with the JCA acting as a mechanism to coordinate the many dimensions of the study of cloud computing.

FG Cloud was formed following a request by leading CTOs to investigate the standardization landscape in the cloud computing market and pursue standards to lead to further commoditization and interoperability of clouds. The end goal is a cloud computing ecosystem where interoperability facilitates secure information exchange across platforms. With its work now complete, FG Cloud, in operation since May 2010, has mapped this landscape, established official liaisons with other standards developers and, as one of its deliverables, produced a technical report providing the first comprehensive view of the end-to-end architecture of a cloud computing system.

The burgeoning cloud computing market has evolved into service-oriented business models that offer physical and virtual resources on a pay-as-you-go basis – offering an alternative to in-house data centers and stringent license agreements.

The primary objectives of JCA-Cloud will be to allocate FG Cloud’s deliverables to study groups with associated domains of competence, and to ensure that the ITU-T standardization work on cloud computing progresses in a well-coordinated manner across all the relevant study groups. TSAG decided that ITU-T Study Group 13 be designated the lead study group on cloud computing.

Alongside this internal coordination role, JCA-Cloud will also take up an external collaboration role. It will analyze the cloud computing work taking place in regional and national standards development organizations (SDOs), consortia and fora, and will act as a point of contact for external bodies seeking to coordinate or collate their cloud computing standardization work with that of ITU-T. In carrying out this external collaboration role, representatives from national and regional organizations, consortia and fora may be invited to join JCA-Cloud.
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TSAG establishes new Focus Group to Bridge the Gap between Innovation and Standardization
The January meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) has established a new Focus Group on Bridging the Gap: From Innovation to Standards (ItS). Standardization converts innovations into internationally-accessible tools to aid the growth of new markets and bridge the digital divide. The Focus Group will seek to reduce the lag between innovation and standardization; an action to ensure key innovations spread as fast as possible in the global ICT market.

Of particular importance to the group will be the identification of ICT innovation in the developing world, and the task of ensuring such innovation achieves international recognition through its inclusion in the standards produced by ITU-T.

The group will carry out the following specific actions:
  • In cooperation with ITU-D, document case studies of successful examples of ICT innovations, including those that have emerged in developing countries, and identify relevant standardization gaps. Particular focus should be on the socio-economic impact of ICT innovation emerging in developing countries;
  • Analyze the innovations that may be standardized and identify best practices facilitating the implementation of such innovations in other parts of the world;
  • Identify case studies which developing countries can adopt to enhance their ICT innovation and standardization capabilities and associated socio-economic welfare;
  • Identify the difficulties faced by developing countries in bringing their ICT innovation to ITU-T;
  • Suggest future ITU-T study items and related actions;
  • Examine how other Standards Development Organizations, forums and consortia address ICT innovation and its integration into standardization activities;
  • Promote its activity at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) meeting in November 2012.
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ITU-T Technology Watch features in ITU News magazine
The two latest reports from ITU-T’s Policy and Technology Watch Division – on video games and digital signage - feature prominently in the January issue of ITU News. Published in all six official ITU languages, the issue provides a snapshot of today’s ICT ecosystem and the global ITU activities and events which aid in giving it shape.

Video games today entertain a broad cross-section of consumers and represent an extremely profitable and still rapidly growing industry. September 2011’s Technology Watch Report on “Trends in Video Games and Gaming” brings light to the major gaming terminals and platforms, game forms and genres, and how the advent of social media and mobile gaming are augmenting an already highly-networked gaming culture.

Digital signage is poised to become a very large industry, in a very short space of time. Standardization is key to the development and accessibility of digital signage technologies, and a December 2011 workshop in Tokyo, organized by ITU and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan, aimed to share ideas and insight on advanced digital signage service features and requirements, current best practices and existing standardization activities of key players. The event addressed digital signage technologies and the related standardization work being undertaken in ITU-T Study Group 16. For an in-depth view of digital signage and its market, see November 2011’s Technology Watch Report, “Digital Signage: the right information in all the right places.

Experts from industry, research institutions and academia are invited to submit topic proposals and abstracts for future reports in the Technology Watch series. Please contact for details and guidelines.
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Global CTOs call for faster progress on e-health standards
The January meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) has established a new Focus Group on Disaster Relief Systems, Network Resilience and Recovery (FG-DR&NRR).

A spate of recent natural disasters has underlined the need for preemptive disaster-response planning. ICT networks must be resilient enough to withstand disasters, but have also proven to be pivotal in providing relief to the people affected by major climatic fluctuations.

The Focus Group will coordinate ITU-T’s current work in this field, and will expand this work into two important new areas: (1) disaster relief for individuals (to notify relatives, friends or employers of a victim’s situation) and (2) disaster relief guidance (to show victims the routes to evacuation shelters, home, etc.).

For these types of standardized emergency communications to exist, ICT network resilience and recovery capabilities need to be such that networks can resume normal service quickly after disaster strikes. TSAG has thus directed the Focus Group to identify all the standardization requirements of network resilience and recovery; a study which may extend beyond current ITU work in this field.

The Focus Group’s scope is as follows:
  • identify requirements for disaster relief and network resilience and familiarize the ITU-T and standardization communities with those requirements;
  • identify existing standards and existing work related to the requirements mentioned above;
  • identify any additional standards that may need to be developed and identify future work items for specific ITU-T Study groups and related actions;
  • encourage collaboration among ITU-T Study Groups, in particular SG2, SG5, SG13, SG15, and SG17, ITU-R, ITU-D and relevant organizations and communities, including the PCP/TDR.
The Focus Group will collaborate with worldwide relevant communities (e.g., research institutes, forums, academia) including other SDOs and consortia.
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Updated : 2012-02-22