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 Thursday, 31 January 2013

Attendees of the fourth meeting of ITU’s Focus Group on Disaster Relief, Network Resilience and Recovery (FG-DR&NRR) will participate in a one-day technical tour of Sendai city, the area hardest hit by 2011’s Great East Japan Earthquake, visiting affected telecommunication installations and R&D sites specialized in the study of network resilience and recovery.

Organized by ITU-T and hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Internal affairs and Communications (MIC) and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), the fourth meeting of FG-DR&NRR will take place in Tokyo, Japan, 5-8 February 2013.

The meeting is preceded by an ITU workshop on “e-Health services in low-resource settings: Requirements and ITU role”, 4-5 February 2013, at the same venue. FG-DR&NRR participants are encouraged to attend this workshop, and particularly the afternoon sessions on the 5th where e-health applications related to disaster relief will be on show.

ITU-T Focus Groups are tasked with initiating work on new standardization challenges as input to the ITU-T Study Groups. Focus groups have a great deal of flexibility to decide their structure and working methods and participation is free of charge and open to non-members of ITU.

FG-DR&NRR was established in January 2012 at a meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). The group coordinates ITU-T’s current work in the disaster relief field, and is expanding 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.).

Read more on FG-DR&NRR and its upcoming meeting here

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Thursday, 31 January 2013 10:30:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 20 May 2008

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.

A 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 directory this would be displayed as "01Anna" or "01Spouse" enabling easy identification by the emergency services.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 20:42:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 17 December 2007
 Monday, 26 November 2007

A standardized way to identify next-of-kin (or other emergency contact) in a mobile handsets’ directory, for use in case of emergency, has been sent for next level approval by Study Group 2 in May 2008.

Currently emergency service workers searching for contact information for the next-of-kin to an injured person have no commonly understood way of identifying that person’s details. Increasingly the directory of the injured person’s mobile handset is used, since it usually contains the names and numbers of next-of-kin. However, there is no standard way to distinguish these contacts from all other entries in the mobile handset directory.

A prefix to those contacts to be dialed in case of emergency is one solution. International standards must be useable by anyone, regardless of language or script. This requirement has been met by using Arabic numerals (the digits 0 through 9) since they are known by all users around the world.

The owner of a mobile handset can indicate contacts to be dialled in case of emergency by formatting the name in the form “0nx”, where “n” is a digit from 1 through 9 and “x” is any meaningful descriptive character string (e.g. “Anna” or “spouse” or “安娜”). In the interface it would be displayed as “01Anna” or “01spouse” or “01安娜”. This descriptive string is used for the “contact name” in the mobile handset directory; the actual number of the person to call in case of emergency is used for the corresponding “contact number”.

Once this standard is approved and widely implemented by individual mobile users around the world, any emergency service worker can look at the mobile handset directory and quickly identify entries tagged by the user as contact persons to call in case of emergencies.

“Emergency contact number notation” stands on the runway to take off as a new clause in ITU-T Recommendation E.123, which currently specifies, among other things, the familiar +41 22 123 456 notation for telephone numbers and other information commonly displayed on business cards.

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Monday, 26 November 2007 10:15:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 23 November 2007

A new report from ITU-T shows how Information and communications technologies (ICTs) contribute to global warming, but also how they can be used to monitor climate change, to mitigate its effects, to improve energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions in other sectors of the economy. The report -- ICTs and Climate Change -- is the third in the new series of Technology Watch Briefing Reports, launched by ITU-T in October 2007. It has been submitted to TSAG for further discussion at its upcoming meeting, 3-7 December. It is planned that an ITU symposium on this topic will be held in 2008.

Since 1970, the production of greenhouse gases has risen by more than 70 per cent, and this is having a global effect in warming the planet, causing changing weather patterns, rising sea-levels, desertification, shrinking ice cover and other worrying long-term effects. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) foresees a further rise in average global temperatures of between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees centigrade by 2030. Climate change is a concern for all of humanity and requires efforts on the part of all sectors of society, including the ICT sector. Although ICTs contribute only an estimated 2.5 per cent of total greenhouse gases, this share is set to grow as usage of ICTs expands globally, growing at a faster rate than the general economy.

ICTs are thus part of the cause of global warming, but they can also be part of the solution, for instance through the promotion of carbon displacement technologies. ICTs are also vital in monitoring the spread of global warming. One specific contribution ICTs can make is through the substitution of travel by electronic forms of communication, such as telephone calls, email or video-conferencing, all of which benefit from ITU-T¡¯s standardization work. In particular, high-performance video-conferencing, or telepresence (the topic of the second Technology Watch Briefing Report), can give the impression of 'being there, without going there'. Furthermore, ITU-T itself is also contributing to a greener future through its decision to make ITU-T Recommendations freely available online. In the mid 1990s, more than one million publications were printed by ITU but, with free Recommendations now available in electronic form, this has been cut to just a few thousand that are still printed, and carbon emissions from transport of printed copies and CD-ROMs has been greatly reduced.

Friday, 23 November 2007 14:16:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 12 November 2007

A standard that allows a warning message to be consistently disseminated simultaneously over different systems and applications has been approved as an ITU-T Recommendation.

The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v.1.1 developed by OASIS was the basis for the text that will be published as an ITU-T Recommendation following approval on 12 September. Publication as an ITU-T Recommendation (X.1303) will help ensure that CAP is deployed worldwide giving technical compatibility for users across all countries. The goal of public warning is to reduce the damage and loss of life caused by a natural or man-made hazard event.

CAP is a simple, lightweight XML-based schema that provides a general-purpose format for the exchange of emergency alerts for safety, security, fire, health, earthquake and other events over any network. CAP associates emergency event data (such as public warning statements, photographs, sensor data or URIs) with basic metadata such as time, source and level of urgency, and with geographic locations. The original V.1.1 specification was enlarged by a binary ASN.1 specification of the CAP messages that will enable the transport of CAP messages to VoIP terminals using H.323 among other systems. Experts say the use of ASN.1 significantly reduces the size of the message and therefore the potential for network congestion. OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee has also adopted the same extension.

CAP is successfully in use by a number of public emergency services and land management agencies today, and works with a wide variety of devices and messaging methods.


Monday, 12 November 2007 09:15:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 19 February 2007
The Fully Networked Car will review and examine the implications of the latest developments in the fast-moving market for information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles.

To guarantee a pass for the event to be held 7-10 March, at the Geneva Motor Show, register now. Entry to the event is without charge.

The workshop programme is now available featuring speakers from some of the biggest names in information and communication technologies (ICT) and the motor industry, including: Bosch, BMW, Cisco, Ford, France Telecom, Freescale Semiconductor, Head Acoustics, Hitachi, Intel, Motorola, On-Star, Orange, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Q-Free, T-Systems, Telecom Italia, Telecordia, Toyota, Vodafone and Ygomi. In addition to the packed programme an exhibition will allow visitors to see close-up some of the technologies being discussed.
Monday, 19 February 2007 11:31:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 31 October 2006

An ITU-T and OASIS workshop on public warning, October, attracted 80 participants and saw agreement on a number of ways forward. The event signaled a further stepping-up of cooperation between the two organizations.

The OASIS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), which was successfully demonstrated at the event, has been submitted to ITU for international standardization, officials from both organizations confirmed. Publication as an ITU-T Recommendation will help ensure that CAP is deployed worldwide giving technical compatibility for users across all countries. This action had strong support from the workshop.

The goal of public warning is to reduce the damage and loss of life caused by a natural or man-made hazard event. CAP allows a warning message to be consistently disseminated simultaneously over many warning systems to many applications.

Attendees, from policy makers to manufacturers to personnel involved in emergency management also agreed among other things to: “Coordinate actions among all relevant players to ensure that standards-based, all-media, all-hazards public warning becomes an essential infrastructure component through platforms such as the Telecommunications for Disaster Relief and Mitigation - Partnership Co-ordination Panel (PCP-TDR)”.

The workshop produced a number of other proposals, which will shortly be available from the event’s website.

In a separate announcement, OASIS said that it was happy to welcome ITU as an event supporter for its upcoming Adoption Forum, London, 27-29 November. ITU members are invited to attend the conference, titled Managing Secure Interactions in Sector Applications, at the reduced rate of EUR100 per day.

The announcements follow the June 2006 approval as internationally recognized ITU-T Recommendations of OASIS’ SAML as ITU-T X.1141 (Security Assertion Markup Language) and XACML as ITU-T X.1142 (Extensible Access Control Markup Language). See previous story.


Tuesday, 31 October 2006 16:03:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 02 October 2006
ITU-T is hosting a workshop and demonstration together with OASIS on Advances in ICT Standards for Public Warning, 19-20 October.

In the wake of the Tsunami disaster that took place on 26 December 2004 and major natural catastrophes that hit in 2005 standards development organizations (SDOs) have stepped up work on public warning in concert with organizations dealing with disaster management, prevention and relief. Emphasizing the practical application of standardized public warnings, the workshop will review relevant work by SDOs, identify standardization gaps, and identify key players to collaborate on further work as needed.

The two-day event will feature an emergency management interoperability demonstration of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) OASIS standard, as well as presentations by various players active in public warning and discussion of relevant technology issues that may also have public policy implications. 


Monday, 02 October 2006 09:24:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 13 September 2006
A new standard from ITU-T will give the ability to multicast in VoIP. The feature could be especially useful in order to provide early warnings in disaster scenarios say experts.

ITU-T Recommendation H.460.21 provides a message broadcast mechanism in H.323 systems, which are widely deployed worldwide for Voice over IP (VoIP) communications. This mechanism is akin to that of Cell Broadcast for mobile systems and can be used by network operators and service providers to deliver early warning messages to a large number of users without causing overload of the underlying network infrastructure.

Since the method utilizes standard Internet multicast procedures, the feature may be used on a wide scale to reach any number of H.323 endpoints throughout the world. Thus, the feature could be used to equal effect as an intercom like function in an enterprise or a notification system to geographically dispersed terminals.

Wednesday, 13 September 2006 09:36:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 05 June 2006

As part of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of ITU-T, you are invited to vote for the most influential standards work from ITU-T.

ITU work is behind many of the worlds most prevalent information and communications technologies. Choose here from our shortlist which you think has best shaped the ICT world of today, or feel free to suggest your own idea.



Monday, 05 June 2006 08:05:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 27 January 2006

At an early December meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 2 agreement on the allocation of a high-revenue international short message service (SMS) number to two international organisations for the purpose of fundraising was made. An official announcement in ITU-T's Operational Bulletin will be made following the decision of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The number +979 0767 was granted following a request from the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It will allow the two organizations to launch relief campaigns across national boundaries, and will encourage regular donations by introducing a recognisable and non-changing number. The 767 portion of the number spells out SOS.

Texting emerged as a popular way to contribute to relief efforts during fundraising for the earthquake in Bam, Iran, 2003 and the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Friday, 27 January 2006 10:25:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 20 September 2005

At the recent meeting of Study Group 11 a number of documents relating to the international emergency preference scheme (IEPS) were consented.

IEPS aims to provide authorised emergency personnel a higher probability of successful communication under high network load conditions such as those that might occur in an emergency.

Among the topics dealt with at the meeting were signalling for support of IEPS to comply with ITU-T Recommendation E.106. E.106 provides guidelines for extending national emergency preference schemes across international boundaries.

Because Recommendations in this area have potential national and regulatory policy implications, it was agreed to consider the documents under the traditional approval process (TAP) rather than under the alternative approval process (AAP).

ITU maintains a webpage detailing its work in the area of Emergency Telecommunications.


Tuesday, 20 September 2005 10:30:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 May 2005

More technical standards in support of telecommunications for disaster relief (TDR) and early warning (EW) should emerge following a decision by the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). The decision to create an action plan addressing this topic was also influenced by the joint Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT)/ITU meeting on the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) for disaster reduction held in Bangkok, 28 February 2005.

TSAG encouraged all ITU-T study groups to increase related standardization activity and production of other materials such as handbooks.

ITU-T Recommendations already produced in the field include specifications that allow for preference to be given to emergency calls in a disaster situation. Additionally, ITU- T earlier established a Partnership Coordination Panel on Telecommunications for Disaster Relief (PCP TDR) that includes representatives of different ITU Study Groups, other standards developing organizations (SDOs), intergovernmental agencies and relief organizations, and aims at providing a channel to exchange views and experiences on TDR.

Monday, 16 May 2005 16:33:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 12 May 2005

ITU recently lent its expertise in the field of disaster recovery and mitigation to a high-level global gathering looking to develop an early warning system for tsunamis.

A delegation headed by Houlin Zhao, director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) and representatives of the radiocommunication and development bureaux attended The Ministerial Meeting on Regional Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements, Phuket, Thailand, 28-29 January.

Envoys from 43 countries and 13 international organizations attended the event hosted by the Thai foreign ministry, to discuss arrangements for an early warning system that could help to reduce the scale of devastation following any future tsunami.

Ahead of the event Zhao said: “I believe that ITU has much to offer in the development of an early warning system for tsunamis. This tragedy has, once again, underscored the fact that information and communication technologies are a vital component in disaster relief and prevention. We have a proven track record in the field of disaster management, and I hope that we can offer some valuable advice here. The dissemination of information using these technologies is a crucial part of all disaster relief strategies. It is impossible to imagine disaster relief today without radios, fixed-line telephony and mobile phones. And now the Internet has also proved that it has an important role to play, supporting the more traditional media of radio and television.

“It is very unfortunate that it took a disaster on this scale to wake the world up to the need for an early warning system in this area. But, this meeting should serve to spearhead and coordinate in the most efficient manner the very necessary work towards a system that will reduce the devastating effects of such an event in the future.”


Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:50:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 09 May 2005
Through its work on standardization, ITU develops technical standards (known as Recommendations) that facilitate the use of public telecommunication services and systems for communications during emergency, disaster relief and mitigation operations.  In such circumstances, technical features need to be in place to ensure that users who must communicate at a time of disaster have the communication channels they need, with appropriate security and with the best possible quality of service.
  • ITU-T SG 16 work on Telecommunications for Disaster Relief (TDR)
    Since 2003 ITU-T Study Group 16 Question 27(I)/16 studies the standardization needs for the use of public telecommunication services for emergency and disaster relief operations.
  • Telecommunications for Disaster Relief and Mitigation - Partnership Co-ordination Panel (PCP-TDR)
    The PCP-TDR was created in 2003 as a forum where ?standardizers? and ?users? of TDR facilities get together to ensure that emergency and disaster relief telecommunications standards meet users? needs. Participation is open to international telecommunication service providers, related government departments, standards development organizations, intergovernmental organizations, disaster relief organizations, and other entities working in the field.
  • ITU-T Action Plan ? Telecommunications for Disaster Relief and Early Warning
    In March 2005, TSAG agreed to a first version of an ITU-T Action Plan for Standardization on Telecommunications for Disaster Relief and Early Warning (TDR/EW), motivated by the identification of the need for new telecommunication standards following the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, and proposals made to the TSAG meeting. This first version was sent to all ITU-T study groups for their action and comment. All Study Groups are encouraged to increase their activities in the definition of Recommendations and other materials (e.g. handbooks) on TDR/EW and to provide feedback to TSAG and ITU-T Study Group 2 (which is to coordinate the effort) on actions taken and on proposals for improvement to the Action Plan.
Monday, 09 May 2005 17:50:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |