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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 August 2012  
High-level ITU talks address rampant patent litigation
In light of recent patent disputes that have caused shipments of goods to be impounded at docks and the worldwide increase in standard essential patent (SEP) litigation, ITU will host a high-level roundtable discussion between standards organizations, key industry players and government officials at ITU headquarters in Geneva, on 10 October 2012.

The ITU Patent Roundtable will address the worldwide surge in patent litigation and the growing lack of adherence to standards bodies’ existing patent policies. Topics include potential improvements to existing policy frameworks, entitlement to injunctive reliefs, and definitions of what constitutes a royalty base.

Discussions on the relevance of current arrangements based around reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) patent policies will be a key focus. RAND-based policies have thus far been an effective way of managing natural tensions between patent holders, standards implementers and end-users. However, the definition of what constitutes ‘reasonable’, and whether or not holders of SEPs are entitled to injunctive relief are now emerging as major points of contention.

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Green Standards Week drives tech sustainability strategies
ITU’s second annual ‘Green Standards Week’ (GSW), to be held in Paris from 17-21 September, will stimulate the creation of international ‘green ICT’ standards with a view to further expanding the capabilities of information and communication technologies to boost environmental efficiency across all industry sectors.

Organized by ITU and TechAmerica Europe and hosted by Microsoft, it will gather policy makers, regulators, private sector entities, research institutes and standards development organizations (SDOs) to discuss the standardization of ICT from an environmental perspective. A High-Level Segment featuring key industry and government figures will discuss the role of global standards in spreading access to green ICT, as well the development of new standards that reflect the interdependence of industry sectors.

Read full press release

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Social Electricity takes first prize in ITU’s 2nd Green ICT Application Challenge
Andreas Kamilaris, a PhD student at the University of Cyprus, has been awarded first prize in the second ITU Green ICT Application Challenge for his “Social Electricity” proposal. The Facebook application lends a competitive edge to smart-meter readings by enabling users to compare their energy consumption with that of friends and family, or with neighborhood, state and national averages.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), ITU, and Silvia Guzmán Araña, Telefónica’s Global Sustainablity and Reputation Director, will present Andreas first prize of USD 3,000 at an award ceremony to be held on the 19th of September in Paris, at the ITU Green Standards Week. Telefónica co-organized the competition together with ITU.

Kamilaris’ motivation for the application was to create a means of better quantifying the energy-consumption data produced by smart meters. The Challenge’s panel of judges – representing ITU, Telefónica, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the European Commission – deemed his socially-powered concept the best to satisfy the Challenge’s theme of “Sustainable Energy for All”. The development of the app is almost complete and, at Green Standards Week, Kamilaris will showcase its use and operation as well as any preliminary results garnered from the “Social Electricity” pilot soon to be launched across Cyprus. Electricity-related measurements will be provided by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, which supports this project.

Honourable Mentions were awarded to another four promising apps, all similarly targeting ICT-enabled energy management.

Full story
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New ITU standards define the Internet of Things and provide the blueprints for its development
ITU-T Study Group 13 – Future Networks including Cloud Computing and NGN – has approved new standards offering a definition of the Internet of Things (IoT), characterizing the emerging IoT environment, and outlining the functional requirements of machine-oriented communication applications in an NGN context:
  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060, Overview of the Internet of Things
  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.2061, Requirements for support of machine- oriented communication applications in the NGN environment
ITU-T Y.2060 marks ITU members’ approval of a definition of IoT, terming it: “A global infrastructure for the Information Society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on, existing and evolving, interoperable information and communication technologies.

”Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060 provides an overview of the Internet of Things (IoT), clarifying the concept and scope of IoT, identifying its fundamental characteristics and high-level requirements, and offering a detailed description of the IoT reference model. Additionally, the standard presents an informative appendix discussing the IoT ecosystem and the business models of which it will be composed.

The definition is accompanied by a qualification which notes that, from a broad perspective, IoT can be perceived as a vision with technological and societal implications; which will, through the exploitation of identification, data capture, processing and communication capabilities, make full use of "Things" to offer services to all kinds of applications, whilst ensuring that security and privacy requirements are fulfilled.

Recommendation ITU-T Y.2061 provides an overview of machine-oriented communication (MOC) applications in next-generation network (NGN) environments; covering the NGN extensions, additions and device capabilities required to support MOC applications.

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ITU and ETSI renew Memorandum of Understanding
ITU and the European Telecommunications Standardization Institute (ETSI) have agreed on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will smooth the way for regional standards, developed by ETSI, to be recognised internationally.

In addition, the new MoU creates a single framework through which to channel ITU, ETSI collaboration. The agreement will replace existing MoUs with ITU-T and ITU-R, signed in 2000 and 2002 respectively.

ITU and ETSI possess complementary roles as Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), with ITU recognized as an international standardization body in the ICT field and ETSI as the European standardization organization for telecommunications.

The agreement between ETSI and ITU follows last year’s MoU between key Asian standards developers ARIB, CCSA, TTA and TTC. See press release here.

Mutual cooperation between SDOs is key to ensuring a coordinated approach to standards development. International standardization re-engineers regional standards to allow them international reach, or reconciles regional standards to form cohesive international standards.

Clear, coordinated action from standards bodies, will provide the business community with greater clarity regarding standards under development. This increased certainty will promote a faster, more efficient adoption of standards in products manufactured; leading to greater economies of scale and lower costs to consumers.

Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “ITU standards allow international access to the innovations progressing our Information Society. This is achieved through cooperation with national and regional standards bodies to uncover the most valuable innovations and standards, no matter where they originate. It is thus very encouraging to see an extension of ITU’s MoU with ETSI, an action which will ensure ITU standards reflect the current ‘state of the art’ in European ICT standardization at the international level.”

Luis Jorge Romero, Director General, ETSI: “ETSI is recognized by industry for its work in standards for ICT in the fixed, radio, mobile and broadcast domains, and our drive for excellence can be seen in our continuing focus on testing and interoperability. Our membership has grown to become global and in many cases is common with the ITU, which has resulted in a strong partnership and common goals being built up between us. Today we welcome the renewal of our relationship with the ITU and the extension of our co-operation into new fields.”
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Kaleidoscope 2013: Last Call for Papers
10 September 2012 is the submission deadline for academic papers discussing ICT’s role as an essential tool in “Building Sustainable Communities”. Kaleidoscope 2013 will be held at Kyoto University, Japan, 22-24 April, and a prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers, which will also be considered for publication in a special edition of IEEE Communications Magazine.

Kaleidoscope events are peer-reviewed academic conferences with the aim of increasing dialogue between academics and experts working on the standardization of ICTs.

Kaleidoscope 2013 is being organized by ITU with the technical co-sponsorship of IEEE ComSoc and the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE) of Japan; with financial support from Telkom SA; and in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan, Waseda University, the Institute of Image Electronics Engineers of Japan (I.I.E.E.J.), and the European Academy for Standardization (EURAS).

Additionally, Kaleidoscope 2013 recently announced the membership of its Technical Programme Committee, and has attracted two new partners from Japan: the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT), and the Telecommunications Technology Committee (TTC). Research in Motion (RIM) has also offered its support for the event, donating two Blackberry Playbooks as awards for the best papers produced by those eligible for Young Author Recognition Certificates (presented to authors under 30 years old).

Full story
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New ITU/WMO/UNESCO-IOC reports investigate the climate-monitoring and disaster-warning potential of submarine communications cables
The ITU, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC) have published three new reports analyzing the potential use of submarine communications cables to monitor the environment and provide disaster warnings. The reports provide an examination of the project’s engineering and legal considerations, and offer a “strategy and roadmap” to move the agenda forward.

The reports are freely available on ITU’s website

Equipping ‘repeaters’– instruments amplifying optical signals, placed an average of 100 km apart on a submarine communications cable – with climate-monitoring sensors could make the telecommunications network part of a real-time global ocean-observation network.

An Engineering Feasibility Study (Peter Phibbs and Stephen Lentz, Mallin Consultants Ltd.) investigates the technical feasibility of the project, outlining the requirements of a “green repeater” equipped with scientific sensors to provide decades-long time series of the rate and degree of climatic change. Concluding that it is possible to equip repeaters with a modest number of low-power scientific instruments, the report finds that the project’s principal engineering challenge remains the construction of green repeaters with a reliability and longevity equal to that of robust communications cables.

Opportunities and Legal Challenges (Kent Bressie, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP.) analyzes the project’s legal considerations; noting that commercial telecommunications and scientific applications of submarine fibre-optic cables have traditionally operated independently of one another, and that the convergence of these applications presents a scenario not easily fitting within the jurisdictional categories established by international law.

Finally, a Strategy and Roadmap (Rhett Butler, University of Hawaii) takes into account the scientific, business, engineering and legal considerations of this ambitious project; offering a United Nations “strategy and roadmap” to advance the agenda led by ITU, WMO and UNESCO-IOC.The reports’ conclusions will provide fuel to discussions at an upcoming workshop on the subject, 20-21 September, hosted by ITU, WMO and UNESCO-IOC. The workshop is part of the second ITU Green Standards Week in Paris, 17-21 September, an event gathering players from all industry sectors to determine how ‘green ICT’ standards can effect economy-wide improvements in environmental sustainability.
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Second meeting of ITU-T’s Focus Group on Smart Cable Television
All interested parties are invited to participate in the second meeting of ITU-T’s Focus Group on Smart Cable Television (FG SmartCable) in Boulder, USA, 20-21 September 2012, hosted by Cisco Systems. The deadline for contributions to this meeting is 13 September. The meeting is open to participation by all interested parties, including non-members of ITU, free of charge.

FG SmartCable is on course to mapping Smart Cable TV’s standardization landscape; gathering experts from government, industry and the standardization community to determine the field’s interoperability shortfalls and standardization gaps, and thereby provide the basis for future ITU-T standardization work in this regard.

At the same venue, 17-19 September, Cisco Systems will host a number of “rapporteur group meetings” for participants in the work of FG SmartCable’s parent group, ITU-T Study Group 9 (Broadband cable and TV).

FG SmartCable’s first meeting in June, well attended in Geneva and remotely, decided the group’s management team and initial work plan.

In broad terms, the group will examine: the use cases and requirements of Smart Cable TV applications, advanced transport technologies including cable-related aspects of Machine to Machine communications (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT), secure content and application delivery, user interfaces and accessibility, and multi-screen and mobile device applications.

For more information on FG SmartCable’s structure and working methods, please visit the group’s webpage here.

To participate in the group’s work, please contact ITU-T’s FG SmartCable Secretariat at
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Standards education group established
A new group has been established to investigate academia’s approach to ICT standardization, with a view to increasing the weight assigned to the subject in academic curricula. It will also aim to identify ITU-T action to aid its academic membership in this endeavour. The Draft Terms of Reference for the TSB Director's Ad Hoc Group on Standards Education are available here.

The Ad Hoc Group will include representatives of ITU-T, academia and other standards development organizations (SDOs) interested in collaborating to advance standards education worldwide. Participation is open to all interested parties, including non-members of ITU, free of charge.

In this context, “standards education” relates not to technology-focused topics, but rather to education on the importance of standards to the ICT sector, and by extension, to the operation of businesses and economies at large. ICT today underpins almost all commercial activity and it is essential that we familiarize students with ICT standards development processes, standard strategy planning, and business case studies demonstrating the importance of international standards to industry.

A tentative work plan for the group includes; performing a “gap analysis” regarding ICT standardization courses currently offered by universities; gathering information on standards education programs from relevant external groups; developing course or curricula “templates” to be used by academia in constructing standards-education offerings; and identifying strategies to facilitate the adoption of credit-eligible courses in undergraduate and graduate programmes.

The group’s first meeting will take place during the Joint ITU-GISFI-DS-CTIF Standards Education Workshop, 8-9 October 2012, Aalborg University, Denmark.

For more information, please see the Ad Hoc Group’s webpage here.
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African regional groups identify their priorities for ITU-T
Recent ITU meetings addressed the challenges facing African countries in the measurement of Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of Experience (QoE) parameters for voice, 3G and Internet mobile networks – nearing completion of guidelines for a QoS regulatory framework for ICT services. The meetings also addressed environmental concerns associated with ICT development, such as the growing e-waste challenge, the measurement of human exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF EMF), and the need to develop a sustainable means of extending telecoms-network coverage to the rural areas of developing countries.

The four ITU events were held in Cotonou, Benin, 16-20 July, hosted by Benin’s Autorité Transitoire de Régulation des Postes et Télécommunications (ATRPT):

Workshop on practical measurement of QoS/QoE parameters for regulatory compliance; and Meeting of Africa Regional Group within ITU-T Study Group 12 (Performance, QoS and QoE)

The workshop was attended by over 80 participants from 21 African countries, gathering representatives of ministries, regulators, operators and vendors to discuss QoS/QoE aspects of Africa’s expanding mobile networks.

The Africa regional group within ITU-T Study Group 12 (SG 12) advanced its draft guidelines for a QoS regulatory framework for ICT services, which are intended to supplement existing ITU-T recommendations on QoS. Nearing this task’s completion, the group indicated that it will now direct its attention to ‘QoE web browsing’ under Question 13/12, and the ‘Roadmap for Interconnection of Packet-based Networks’ under Question 12/12.

Workshop on Tackling Climate Change and SAR Measurement; and Meeting of Africa Regional Group within ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change)

The workshop was attended by over 70 participants from 21 African countries, discussing the application of ITU-T’s ‘green ICT’ standards and the measurement of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of RF EMF produced by mobile-telephony base stations and devices.

The Africa regional group within ITU-T Study Group 5 (SG 5) highlighted energy efficiency, e-waste reduction and issues related to climate change as its priorities for 2013.

Full story
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Lao PDR Workshop offers concrete actions to bridge the standardization gap
A recent ITU workshop in Lao PDR has offered a number of actionable suggestions to extend ITU’s efforts to bridge the standardization gap. Notably participants called on ITU to assist governments of developing Asian countries in establishing national and regional “standardization secretariats” to oversee the development of countries’ standardization capabilities and to ensure all regions an equitable representation in international standardization processes.

Held in Vientiane, 30-31 July, the workshop was ITU’s first event in Lao PDR and attracted over seventy participants, including representatives of Lao’s key trade partners such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. The event was organized in association with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Lao PDR and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of the Republic of Korea, with the generous support of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).ITU was urged to assist countries in their establishment of standardization secretariats, to aid in the development of policy and regulatory frameworks conducive to the rollout of broadband and Next-generation Networks (NGN), and to offer guidance in the spectrum planning required to support mobile broadband and the shift from analogue to digital television.

Environmental protection and sustainable development also featured prominently in the workshop’s discussions and, to address these concerns, the region’s countries were encouraged to form an Asia Pacific ‘regional group’ within ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change).

Specifically, the regional group will highlight e-waste as a major concern to the naturally-rich region, and will play a role in the development of guidelines to developing nations on the implementation of ITU-T’s ‘green ICT’ standards.

Full story
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ITU-T's work on ICTs and driver distraction gets boost
ITU Council has endorsed “ICTs and improving road safety” as the theme for 2013’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day acknowledging that information and communication technology (ICT) standards have the potential to significantly reduce driver distraction and road accidents.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) aims to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. It takes place on 17 May every year, which is the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.

Given the critical need to filter the provision of information in such a way that it does not distract drivers’, ITU-T’s Focus Group on Driver Distraction (FG Driver Distraction) has been bringing together experts from government agencies; standards development organisations; academic and research institutes; and the automotive, telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors since the beginning of 2011.

Open to participation by all interested parties, including non-members of ITU, the group is essentially undertaking the groundwork required to launch ITU-T standardization activity in the field of driver distraction.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Intelligent transport systems will enable vehicles to communicate to optimize the flow of traffic, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, increase safety, and significantly improve the driving experience. With the advent of the Internet of Things there is the potential of a ‘fully-networked car’ that can save millions of lives.”

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Alex Ntoko appointed ITU-T’s Chief of Operations and Planning
Alexander Ntoko has taken up a new role in the ITU as Chief of the TSB’s Operations and Planning Department, a post of critical importance in crafting and executing the strategic movements of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

Ntoko relinquishes the post he held for five years as Chief of ITU’s Corporate Strategy Division (CSD) where his responsibilities included ensuring organization-wide consensus and support for the development, implementation and evaluation of the ITU Strategic Plan. He has also assisted and advised the Secretary-General in policy and strategic decisions and was responsible for the coordination of ITU’s inter-sectoral activities in many areas, perhaps most notably regarding the Internet and Cybersecurity.

He has been a member of ITU’s staff for more than 20 years; playing a key role in the introduction of Internet and Cybersecurity to ITU’s work plan in the ’90s, and leading the implementation of projects related to the Internet, ICT applications (e.g., e-health, e-government, e-agriculture, e-education, e-payment and e-business) and cybersecurity solutions involving advanced security technologies such as biometric authentication and Public Key Infrastructure. Ntoko’s appointment follows a rigorous application process receiving 250 individual applications and interviewing 12 candidates in a first-round of interviews as well as another 4 in a second.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), ITU: “Alex Ntoko will add great value to the activities of ITU-T, and we are very pleased to have filled this important position with someone of his caliber. Drawing from his extensive experience in the ICT field, Alex won’t hesitate to effect the changes needed to improve our services, and we are privileged to count him a member of ITU-T’s strategic management team.”
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Updated : 2012-09-28