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 Friday, November 23, 2012

e-health, the use of ICTs in healthcare, has been a strong feature of this Assembly. The extensive discussion in GSS and a dedicated side event complement the Committee 4 agreement on a new Resolution on e-health.

Pending final WTSA-12 Plenary approval, Information and communication technology applications and standards for improved access to e-health services instructs the Director of TSB, Malcolm Johnson, to collaborate with Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, to prioritize and coordinate work on e-health in the years to come.

This post originally from The Assembly a blog covering WTSA12
full release

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Friday, November 23, 2012 8:59:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 22, 2012
The second of the three WTSA side events will take place at 18h00 on Thursday 22 November in Room E, here at the Dubai World Trade Center.
 
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, will open the event and four invited speakers will share their experience on ICT Innovations in emerging economies.
 
Ajay Ranjan Mishra is the Chairman of ITU-T Focus Group bridging the gap: from innovation to standards and will moderate the side event. He will also give a talk about the objectives of the Focus Group, and  on the progress made so far.

This post originally from The Assembly a blog covering WTSA12
full release

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Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:59:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Speaking to delegates at WTSA-12, Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, has presented a summary of ITU-T’s major achievements over 2009-2012, taking stock of work over ITU-T’s last study period as WTSA-12 participants prepare to agree priorities for the next.

This post originally from The Assembly a blog covering WTSA12
on wtsa12.wordpress.com

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:51:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 09, 2012

In the run-up to WTSA-12, The Assembly discusses the importance of WTSA with Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH3HFlDCh0M&feature=share&list=PL61A87AA21E1C14E4

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Friday, November 09, 2012 11:45:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The programme of the ITU event examining the patent wars dogging the ICT industry has been announced with all key players registered to attend.

Representatives from Apple, Nokia, Ericsson, Microsoft, Samsung, Research in Motion, Motorola Mobility and several other key industry players will join regulators, government representatives and experts in intellectual property law to discuss how to avoid harm to the industry from litigation stemming from the use of standards essential patents.

The full day event will kick-off with a welcome address from ITU Secretary General, Hamadoun I. Touré, followed by a keynote speech from a high-level expert and then perspectives from different competition authorities.

The second part of the day will ask key stakeholders to present views unique totheir different perspectives in a “360 view” format, meaning that speakers are allowed 360 seconds to present their ideas. The sectors represented are standards development organizations (SDOs); industry players; patent offices; and academic institutions.

After lunch, participants will engage in a World Café environment allowing all participants an opportunity to exchange ideas in an interactive format. Results from this session will be fed into the final roundtable discussions moderated by a key expert in the field, Robert Barr, Berkeley University.

The two morning sessions of the ITU Patent Roundtable will be broadcast online to accredited journalists. In order to create an atmosphere conducive to fruitful negotiations, the two afternoon sessions of the Roundtable will not be webcast, recorded or accessible to the press. The Roundtable’s attendees will be permitted to report the results of discussions through their various channels, providing they adhere to the Chatham House Rule (see below).

Conclusions and closing remarks will be given by Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU.

Journalists wishing to learn the results of the discussions and negotiations are welcome to attend the ITU press conference, either in person or remotely, at the close of the event. For details of press participation please contact toby.johnson@itu.int.

Participants in the ITU Patent Roundtable, as well as non-participants, are invited and encouraged to submit written contributions to ITU concerning the issue of SEP litigation and RAND licensing commitments. Contributions should be submitted to the ITU no later than October 5, 2012 at tsbworkshops@itu.int. These contributions will be communicated to the participants and made available to the public on the ITU’s website, but will not be presented during the meeting.

Chatham house rule:

When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.


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Wednesday, October 03, 2012 7:59:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 13, 2012

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.”
 
ITU standards will fight driver distraction in two complementary ways:
 
Standards will define a communications interface to the vehicle allowing drivers to interact with external devices and applications through the vehicle’s user interface. In this scenario, all driver interaction with ICTs is channelled through a centralized point of control able to manage the degree of distraction experienced by the driver.
 
ITU's international standards will also aid application developers, network providers, device manufacturers and Driver Vehicle Interface (DVI) designers in building systems that minimize the distraction and cognitive workload demanded by in-vehicle ICTs. Such standards will provide guidance on ergonomic design principles and requirements for safe interaction with applications, and will define the functional requirements of systems managing distraction and cognitive workload.
 
For more information on FG Driver Distraction, please consult the group’s webpage here...

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Monday, August 13, 2012 8:36:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 05, 2012

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 isrecognized 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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Thursday, July 05, 2012 9:50:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 03, 2012

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 beprovided 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.
 
New Delhi’s Gauri Dutt Sharma proposed an application termed a “Standby Monitor for Home Appliances”, a living-room monitor signaling which appliances are idle and which are consuming electricity by way of sensors attached to these appliances’ power cables.
 
Gopal Tiwari, from India’s Sagar Institute of Technology and Management, produced “Electrosoft” which details an electricity-supply scheduling system of use to both households and businesses. The app regulates the electricity supply to certain energy-intensive processes, scheduling energy-consuming operations in such a way that it minimizes the energy wasted as result of human error.
 
Andy Bäcker from Spain, CEO and founder of Sustainable Reference, proposed an app entitled “SURE!” which offers a point-scoring system whereby commercial activities, at all levels of the value chain, are awarded pointsbased on the degree of their operations’ environmental sustainability.
 
Dr. Tohru Asami of the University of Tokyo proposed “An Energy Proportional Power Supply Control for Rural ICT Systems” which presents a methodology to power rural ICT systems using the surplus power produced by photovoltaic (solar) power generation units designed to serve mobile-phone base stations.
 
More information on the 2nd ITU Green ICT Application Challenge is available here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 8:40:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
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 rigourous 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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Tuesday, July 03, 2012 1:54:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A joint ITU-WHO workshop on “e-Health standards and Interoperability” at ITU headquarters in Geneva, 26-27 April, gathered experts from the healthcare and ICT communities to discuss means of leveraging today’s advanced communications capabilities to achieve more efficient, cost-effective and equitable health services worldwide.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) opening the event: "With a growing, ageing, population in the 21st century, it is clear that one of the areas where ICTs can help make the greatest difference is in the provision and delivery of healthcare. ICTs are now understood to play a pivotal role in increasing efficiency and quality in delivery of health care, and reducing risk and suffering, particularly among the most vulnerable communities in developing countries. However, in e-health unfortunately standardized solutions are rare. Interoperability is a key determinant of e-Health’s efficient and equitable rollout. This is not an area where we can afford to have costly squabbles over proprietary technologies. International standards will bring down costs, increase access, and improve efficiencies."
 
The workshop showcased innovative healthcare technologies and policy frameworks already in force, and pointed to areas where interoperable ICT standards could further stimulate such innovations’ development and implementation.
 
The workshop hosted a lively exchange of ideas and brought healthcare and ICT experts together to form the relationships certain to underpin the development of next-generation healthcare services. The workshop’s closing session focused on the future of e-Health standardization which, judging by the volume of input received from attendees, represents the beginnings of what is sure to be a very fruitful collaboration between ITU and WHO. It was suggested at the event that ITU and WHO provide a platform to lead these discussions, with the participation of the key e-health stakeholders.
 
At the event, the following actions were suggested to the various stakeholders:
 
Suggested ITU-WHO actions:

- Joint policy brief on the essentiality of standards and interoperability to the exchange of medical data, as well as outreach activities to educate policy-makers and business leaders on the relevance and application of e-health standards
- Creation of an e-health Working Group to advise ITU and WHO on steps to be taken in the future
- Collaborate with other Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) to create an information portal detailing all available healthcare standards and best practices in their application
 
SDO actions:

- Coordinate with the new HL7 initiative on mobile e-health
- ITU and HL7 to develop a specification for the use of ITU-T X.1303 CAP specification within HL7 to deliver health warning messages
- Consider effective cost models for e-health standards licensing
- Collaborate in the development of a common e-health standards roadmap; ensuring no work is duplicated, and encouraging a converged view on the structure of data and information in the e-health context
 
Points of relevance to the technical community (drawn from ICT and healthcare sectors):

- Address interoperability challenges impeding the development of an open, global infrastructure to enable the exchange of health information
- Begin development of an e-health standards ecosystem by addressing the required functional features of e-health technologies, while at the same time allowing these systems enough flexibility to evolve in line with the development of new technologies or best practices
- The imperative to e-health that is Quality of Service (QoS)
 
More information on the Workshop’s objectives: here
The Workshop’s programme (with speakers’ biographies and presentations  attached): here.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012 9:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 27, 2012

A meeting of European network operators last week (covered in this press release), concluded with a strong set of messages from industry ahead of the forthcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT).
 
The meeting, convened by ITU and the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) drew a positive focus on the possibility of the new treaty strengthening ICT sector development.
 
Concluding, Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, noted the following points had been made:

  • The new treaty should address the current disconnect between sources of revenue and source of cost to ensure a win-win for all players.
  • It should facilitate the benefits of Internet being brought to all the peoples of the world in particular by encouraging broadband roll-out and investment.
  • It should focus on telecom issues without involving the geopolitical agenda, in particular Internet governance, and emphasise the importance of liberalization and privatisation, and should recognize the role of the private sector and market based solutions.
  • Should remain high level principles providing light touch regulation that encourages investment and innovation and that any economic aspects should have a stringent impact analysis taking account of the different levels of development in countries around the world. It should be flexible recognising that tomorrow’s world will be very different to today’s.
  • Should foster the right conditions to allow markets to flourish within a long term vision backed by sustainable business models.
  • That WCIT will be an opportunity to address many of the concerns of industry and so industry should be active in the preparatory process, in particular an input on behalf of ETNOs membership would be very welcome.
  • That ITU should organise an information session after all the regional groups have concluded their preparations possibly in September.

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Friday, April 27, 2012 5:44:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 13, 2012
European operators will discuss upcoming revisions to the treaty that governs international telecommunications at a joint ITU and ETNO event in Brussels next week.
 
The meeting will discuss preparation for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) which will be held in Dubai, 3-14 December.
 
ITU representatives will describe the mechanisms for input into the WCIT process and some of the emerging themes. An open discussion will follow to allow industry to present its views.
 
WCIT-12 will review the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), the international treaty which is widely credited for creating the basis of today's connected world, thus the international regulatory framework governing all ICT technologies. The ITRs opened the door in the 1990s for mobile and the Internet.
 
WCIT-12 will express the common will of ITU's major stakeholders - its government and private sector membership - including many of ETNO's membership. Meetings such as this, as well as ITU's formal Council Working Group and the other regional preparatory meetings are part of an ongoing process to ask for input and feedback from all stakeholders.
 
Some of the proposals currently being discussed by ITU membership, governments and private sector companies from around the world, include the right to communicate; security in the use of ICTs and the protection of national resources; taxation, roaming; misuse and hijacking of international numbers and interoperability.
 
Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: "a lot has changed since the ITRs were adopted in 1988. I think we can all agree that this conference comes at a time when the technology is having a major impact on economic and social development. WCIT represents an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to extend the benefits of ICTs to all the worlds citizens".
 
For more information on the event - Revising the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) - Preparations for WCIT 2012 - and registration details see here.

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Friday, April 13, 2012 10:43:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 16, 2012

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ITU and the four standardisation bodies of China, Japan and Korea (CJK) last year, see press release here Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, led a delegation from the ITU Secretariat to the eleventh CJK Meeting (CJK-11) 14-16 March at the Seagaia Convention Centre in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan. The Indian standards body GISFI also attended the meeting as an observer as it has requested to join the MoU.

The meeting addressed global ICT standardization questions of common interest to the region’s key standards bodies: ARIB, CCSA, TTA and TTC.

In his opening speech Johnson noted that CJK governments together account for 15 per cent of the total financial contributions received by ITU from Member States, and private entities from these nations account for 20 per cent of the contributions ITU-T receives from the private sector. Moreover, CJK makes a significant number contribution to ITU meetings: 38 percent more contributions in 2011 than in 2009.

Full speech can be seen here.

CJK meetings seek to maintain and improve the commitment to mutual understanding and cooperation, and recognise the imperative of coordinated international standards for the sound progression of each of the countries’ ICT industries.  The meeting identified the following topics as candidates for collaboration under the MoU: M2M and Dynamic Spectrum Access; Future IMT; smart grid; cloud computing and security; and the work on environment and climate change.

The Deputy Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau, Fabio Leite, also participated in the meeting stressing the importance of collaboration with ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), in particular on M2M access networks where there is a clear need for interoperability between radio-based systems.

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Friday, March 16, 2012 9:00:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, December 17, 2011

Key standards (ITU-T Recommendations) on a technology (MPLS-TP) required by telecoms operators to increase network efficiency while also reducing capex and opex costs have been approved (or attained first level approval) at a recent ITU meeting.

MPLS-TP refers to extensions to the IETF's MPLS protocol developed in cooperation with the IETF. MPLS can carry packets of different types, allowing telecom operators to offer private connections as well as IP services. Many network operators expect MPLS-TP to work under the same principles as longstanding ITU transport network technologies like SDH and OTN. MPLS-TP provides network operators with a reliable packet-based technology the operation of which aligns with current organizational processes and large-scale work procedures. Its deployment may reduce the need for layer 3 routing in an operator’s network.

Another important draft standard in the field has been forwarded to ITU’s quadrennial World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12) in Dubai next year. This provides an Ethernet based protocol for operations, administration and management (OAM) for Transport MPLS (MPLS-TP). The delay in approval follows the breakdown of a deal brokered by the Japanese administration in November. The compromise proposed was intended to address concerns expressed by IETF, following a series of previous setbacks, detailed here and here. Unfortunately the IETF were unable to deliver one key element of the proposal, the ACh codepoint which contributed to four national delegations vetoing the standard.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: “I would like to thank Japan for its great effort as a neutral party to find a compromise that took into account IETF’s concerns. It is clear that the majority of the world’s ICT industry and governments supports this standard. It is a practical solution demanded by operators around the globe. I am hopeful that IETF will be able to assign the ACh codepoint before WTSA-12 which should allow the standard to be approved by consensus. ITU has a tradition of working by consensus but this is dependent on delegations being willing to compromise.”

At the close of its December meeting Study Group 15 repeated its request to the IETF to provide an ACh codepoint for the Ethernet based OAM protocols. This request is in line with ITU’s continued commitment to a collegial working environment for ICT standards development.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011 6:56:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 14, 2011

Ahead of IETF’s 82nd meeting Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) has issued a statement underlining ITU’s commitment to a collegial working environment for ICT standards.
 
"Wherever appropriate, ITU will continue to reference the deliverables of other standards bodies rather than duplicating their work, and as far as possible we try to avoid the development of competing standards. By doing so we can best serve the needs of the international ICT community."
 
The statement underlines ITU core principles on cooperation detailed in ITU-T’s strategic plan (contained in Resolution 71 (Rev. Guadalajara 2010)) : “Cooperation and collaboration with other standardization bodies and relevant consortia and fora are key to avoiding duplication of work and achieving efficient use of resources, as well as incorporating expertise from outside ITU.”
 
Full details on generic procedures for including references to documents of other organizations in ITU-T Recommendations can be found in ITU-T Recommendation A.5.
 
Consequently Mr Johnson and Mr Russ Housley, Chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have agreed that MPLS, including MPLS-TP, is defined exclusively in the standards-track RFCs. The ITU-T will reference the IETF RFCs for MPLS-TP from its Recommendations providing there is consensus that they meet the needs of its members. By mutual agreement some other specific aspects, including the equipment model and protocol-neutral management information model (G.8121-series, G.8151, G.8152), developed in ITU-T are considered part of MPLS-TP.
 

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Monday, November 14, 2011 9:24:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 09, 2010
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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Monday, August 09, 2010 10:22:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 17, 2010
Assuring worldwide interoperability is critical to reaping benefits

Geneva, 14 May 2010 - ITU has been tasked with progressing standardization in cloud computing by members and leading CTOs in the ICT space.

A new ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing has been formed to enable a global cloud computing ecosystem where interoperability facilitates secure information exchange across platforms. The group will take a global view of standards activity in the field and will define a future path for greatest efficiency, creating new standards where necessary while also taking into account the work of others and proposing them for international standardization.

Cloud computing speeds and streamlines application deployment without upfront capital costs for servers and storage. For this reason, many enterprises, governments and network/service providers are now considering adopting cloud computing to provide more efficient and cost effective network services.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: “Cloud is an exciting area of ICTs where there are a lot of protocols to be designed and standards to be adopted that will allow people to best manage their digital assets. Our new Focus Group aims to provide some much needed clarity in the area.”

Cloud computing deployments are being announced on an almost daily basis. But interoperability, say experts, is a problem. Camille Mendler, Vice President of Research at Yankee Group: “Cloud computing is the future of ICTs. It's urgent to address interoperability issues which could stall global diffusion of new services. Collaboration between private and public sectors is required, and ITU is ideally suited to facilitate productive dialogue.”

ITU-T study groups were invited to accelerate their work on cloud at the fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Lisbon, 2009) and at an ITU-hosted meeting of CTOs in October 2009. The CTOs highlighted network capabilities as a particular area of concern, where increased services and applications using cloud computing may result in the need for new levels of flexibility in networks to accommodate unforeseen and elastic demands.

Vladimir Belenkovich, Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on Cloud Computing: “The Focus Group will investigate requirements for standardization in cloud computing and suggest future study paths for ITU. Specifically, we will identify potential impacts in standards development in other fields such as NGN, transport layer technologies, ICTs and climate change, and media coding.”

A first brief exploratory phase will determine standardization requirements and suggest how these may be addressed within ITU study groups. Work will then quickly begin on developing the standards necessary to support the global rollout of fully interoperable cloud computing solutions.

A recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled ‘Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds’ describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

For further information please contact:

Sarah Parkes                                                                          
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: mailto: pressinfo@itu.int                                                                              

Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: mailto: toby.johnson@itu.int

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Monday, May 17, 2010 1:53:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Technology will bring much needed efficiency and flexibility to electricity distribution

Geneva, 12 May 2010 - Some of the world’s biggest ICT companies have tasked a new ITU group with identifying standards needs for the world’s new Smart Grid deployments, which will bring the benefits of digital technology to the existing electricity network.

ITU was asked by key CTOs to accelerate work in the area of Smart Grid at a meeting of high level industry executives in Geneva in October 2009. Agreement between a wider set of ITU members to push forward work in this area was reached at a January 2010 meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG).

“While work has been taking place in ITU-T Study Groups on this topic for some time, there was a need to engage with a wider community,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "In this case, the Focus Group allows access to all stakeholders and in particular a key part of the Smart Grid equation — the electricity companies themselves.”

Les Brown (Lantiq), who will Chair the new Focus Group, agreed. "Through this excellent initiative ITU is bringing all players together in an environment where they can create truly global specifications for the service-aware utilities network of tomorrow. Smart Grid is a dynamic addition to today’s energy networks, which will be capable of delivering customizable services on a massive scale; to ensure an efficient global rollout, global standards are a must.”

The Smart Grid will consist of solutions based on both current and future telecommunication technologies for command and control, metering, and charging. ITU’s new Focus Group will explore these requirements and corresponding standards needs. Further, the idea that Smart Grid principles could apply to the telecommunication system itself could be a topic for discussion.

According to a study by ABI Research, the number of smart electric meters deployed worldwide will rise from a 2009 level of 76 million to reach about 212 million in 2014.

Many governments have earmarked significant portions of their stimulus packages for Smart Grids. In the United States, for example, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has allocated USD 4.5 billion for investments in the Smart Grid. In Europe, the European Parliament has approved an agreement reached by the EU Institutions on a package of legislation to liberalize energy markets, including electricity and gas directives, which require EU member states to ‘ensure the implementation of intelligent metering systems’.

The Focus Group on Smart Grid will survey existing national standards initiatives to see whether these can be adopted at an international level, and will also perform a gap analysis to identify new standardization requirements that will then be taken forward by relevant ITU-T Study Groups. This exploratory phase will be relatively short before work starts on the development of the standards necessary to support the global rollout of Smart Grid technologies.

In the field of Smart Grids, ITU experts have already agreed on specifications for Smart Grid products for home networks. The specifications include a ‘low complexity’ profile that will allow multiple manufacturers to develop products that deliver the low power consumption, low cost, performance, reliability, and security that is required for Smart Grid and other lower bit rate applications.

Members of HomeGrid Forum, an independent body set up to promote ITU-T’s home networking standard, G.hn, are active participants in Smart Grid standardization efforts worldwide, including those led by NIST, IEEE, ISO/IEC, and SAE. In 2009, HomeGrid Forum formed a Smart Grid initiative group, which will help to bring a range of G.hn-based devices to the Smart Grid market and home energy management applications.

George Arnold, National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States: “We recognize the importance of international standards to the success of the smart grid — therefore we look forward to coordinating with this Focus Group on defining the scope of ITU-T work related to the smart grid.”

For further information please contact:

Sarah Parkes                                                                          
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: mailto: pressinfo@itu.int                                                                              

Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: mailto: toby.johnson@itu.int

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010 3:18:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 29, 2010
The http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ict-auto/201003/*1 concluded in Geneva, March 4 with participants calling for better cross-sector standards collaboration in order to facilitate the rollout of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “There is a will from manufacturers to implement these technologies but thus far no real breakthrough in terms of standards needed to roll this out on a global scale. Global car manufacturers don’t want to create different versions of this technology for every different market. They don’t want regional or national standards, they want global standards and ITU and its World Standards Cooperation (WSC) partners ISO and IEC are willing and able to provide these for this global partnership.”

New services and applications may be the selling points that will win car makers an advantage in the depressed market. “Today's communication capabilities give cars the potential to foresee and avoid collisions, navigate the quickest route to their destination, make use of up-to-the-minute traffic reports, identify the nearest available parking slot, alert the emergency services, monitor air pollution, minimize carbon emissions, and provide multimedia communications,” said Johnson.

The involvement  of ITU, ISO and IEC is seen as critical to ease bottlenecks resulting – in part – from poor communication between overlapping sectors; automotive, ITS players,  telecoms suppliers and operators. One conclusion of an Executive Session was that competition between standards bodies was unwelcome.

A large amount of resources has been invested in research and development, but harmonization of the many standards that exist at a proprietary or regional level is missing. This lack of global standards is considered to be an impediment  to a large scale deployment of ITS services and applications. While most agree that the technologies are at an advanced stage of development, participants agreed that clearer views are needed on what standardization work is being done and where; user, regulator and supplier liability and privacy concerns; business and payment models; interoperability requirements and who owns them.

This – the fifth - Fully Networked Car workshop organized by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), a partnership between ISO, IEC and ITU, was held on 3-4 March at the Geneva International Motor Show 2010 and focused on the latest developments in ITS technology including network requirements for electric cars. It represented a unique  opportunity to strengthen the dialogue between the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) key players, in particular with the motor industry.

Held during the 2nd Press Day and the first public day of the motor show, the event – attracting over 120 participants in 2010 - represents a matchless opportunity for experts and executives from the car industry, ICT community, governments, research and development institutes, academia to share their vision and strategies.

Speakers at a special Executive Session at the Fully Networked Car event included Christoph Huss, Vice President of BMW and President of the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA), who gave the keynote address; Juhani Jääskeläinen, European Commission; Raymond Resendes, Chief, Intelligent Technologies Research Division, United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Samuel Loyson, Orange, France; David Schutt, SAE International, USA; Yasuro Nakanomori, OKI, Japan; Russ Shields, Chairman, Ygomi and Reinhard Scholl, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

In his opening remarks, Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General, on behalf of WSC, said: "There is the need for standardization of essential technologies to provide the solid base for further innovation and the economies of scale for commercialization of technologies... Most interestingly of all, is the urgent need to consider the interoperability of all of this technology not only in the car, but in the wider infrastructure that is needed to support this revolution".

Information obtained from electronic devices as part of an in-vehicle network is critical to ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) services and applications, including emergency telecommunications. Currently, the way of extracting the vehicle information differs by manufacture, model and chassis type. Standards are being researched in the support of a Vehicle Gateway that will allow all consumer devices to work in harmony in all vehicles and with all infrastructures. Work on this in ITU is focused on a ‘Question’ within ITU-T’s Study Group 16. Contributions from ITU’s membership are being sought on a Vehicle Gateway platform for telecommunication/ITS services/applications.

Since ITS applications will have to rely mainly on existing infrastructure, NGN (Next Generation Networks) will play a key role for their deployment. This is currently considered in the framework of fix-mobile-convergence in ITU-T Study Group 13, ITU-T’s lead group lead on future networks. One of the sessions of the workshop recommended that a joint ISO / ITU-T group on in-vehicle architecture and protocols take the work forward.

Participants in one technical session at the workshop concluded that quality and naturalness of all speech services need to be increased to reduce driver distraction and seamless interaction. Agreement was reached that work on a standards-based framework for dialogue between user and device is needed, with the ITU-T Focus Group on Car Communications (ITU-T FG CarCOM) identified as the appropriate place for this work.

An electric future

Today, with the increasing deployment of electric vehicles, ICTs have a significant role to play in areas such as the careful management of battery status, warranty concerns and driver behaviour. Given the potential of these new technologies for both the automotive and the ICTs industries, it is essential for the different parties to understand the requirements for fully networked cars and agree on the solutions to be provided by the network platforms. In many cases existing telecoms infrastructure can be used.

As electric vehicles begin to find their way to our driveways and garages, knowing what is involved in charging their batteries becomes crucial. The development of smart power grids will also be vital to support the adoption of electric cars which according to some proposals can also act as storage capacity for electricity. The scale of this challenge was highlighted in one of the presentations to the workshop, citing work under way in the United States.

In the US, the electric grid is owned and operated by over 3100 utilities, using equipment and systems provided by thousands of suppliers, delivering power to hundreds of millions of users and billions of end devices. The transformation of this infrastructure into an “energy Internet” is a huge undertaking requiring an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination across the private and public sectors as well as across industry sectors. A robust, interoperable framework of technical standards is the key to making this possible.

ITU is responding to this challenge by the formation of a new ITU-T Focus Group that will help develop the necessary global standards to hasten this move to Smart Grids. The newly formed group will look at the networking between use of current control, metering, charging and electricity distribution systems.
____________________________________________________________________________________
1 New title for the event following agreement of Geneva Motor Show to support the event for next three years

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Monday, March 29, 2010 8:51:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strong commitment to leveraging the potential of the web and advanced communication tools to empower persons with disabilities

Geneva, 15 February 2010 — ITU has again demonstrated its commitment to improving access to the information society for all, through a joint workshop aimed at promoting awareness of the importance of taking accessibility principles into account when developing websites within the UN system.

In 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which obliges its signatories to provide public information in formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities. Universal Design principles which make new technologies accessible for persons with disabilities are now becoming more of an imperative, with the wide adoption of the Convention.

Organized jointly with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and held from February 2-5, the workshop was designed to help UN technical staff engaged in web design better meet the needs of disabled users.

Speaking at the opening session, Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, highlighted the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve access to information for persons with disabilities, noting that ITU has been "embracing the challenges of accessibility through standardization efforts, and has long championed the principles of inclusion and Universal Design enshrined in the UN Convention." Johnson also stressed that ITU practices what it preaches, and is working hard to make itself more accessible to the disabled.

WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry, underlined the general importance of accessibility and reaffirmed WIPO’s commitment to establishing a web environment that promotes easy access to intellectual property information. This, Gurry said, is in line with WIPO’s visually impaired persons (VIP) initiative, launched in 2008, which is exploring ways to facilitate and enhance access to literary, artistic and scientific works. He noted that only five per cent of all published works are currently available in formats accessible to the VIP community. A first web accessibility workshop was hosted by WIPO in May 2009, following a request from the VIP community.

This year’s workshop brought together leading experts in the field of accessibility from around the world, including the World Wide Web consortium, the Mobile Web Initiative, Yahoo!, Adobe Systems, and the Royal National Institute for Blind People. It also featured a full day of training sponsored by Adobe.

In the field of accessibility, ITU focuses on strategic issues ranging from the rights of the disabled, to ensuring that new ICT technical standards incorporate accessibility principles, to providing education and training on accessible ICTs. An estimated 650 million people live with disabilities worldwide.

This year’s participants agreed on the need for an annual workshop to keep abreast of technological developments and to share knowledge and experience within the UN system. "There is no better place to demonstrate our accessibility than the online resources that act as our window to the world. This is why this workshop has been so important," concluded ITU’s Johnson.

For further information please contact:

Sarah Parkes                                                                          
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: mailto: pressinfo@itu.int                                                                              

Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: mailto: toby.johnson@itu.int

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:04:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 07, 2009
ITU’s delegation to the UNFCCC Barcelona Climate Change talks has succeeded in raising awareness of ICTs as a key part of the climate change solution. In particular developing countries were receptive to the message and recognize the power of ICTs, also linking the issue to the digital divide.

At a side event jointly organized by ITU, OECD and GeSI equitable access and ensuring connectivity to schools, rural communities and health facilities were recognized as vital to economic development and to making effective use of ICTs to combat climate change.

Speaking at the event, Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s standardization bureau said: “It is generally accepted that by 2050 global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by some 80%. We can no longer talk in terms of incremental reductions of 5-10%. There is also a growing understanding that there is only one way that this can be achieved: by shifting from a high carbon physical infrastructure to a low carbon virtual infrastructure based on the evolving information society and smart technology – what we call information and communication technologies (ICTs).“

ITU will produce a communiqué that will be distributed to ITU Member States as well as parties involved in the negotiating process. One of the problems identified in the side event was that while communications ministries are aware of the link between ICTs and climate change this message is often not filtering through to environment ministries.

The following issues arose at the side event
  • The capabilities of ICTs to monitor, measure and exchange huge amounts of information and their sheer ubiquity underlines their fundamental role in improving environmental performance.

  • The  message that ICTs are a major part of the solution rather than being part of the problem has to  be emphasised further. “Smart” applications in transport, buildings and urban environments, energy generation and distribution and production are, and will increasingly be, ICT-enabled.

  • In the utility sectors ICTs can provide better information, increase efficiency, and thereby reduce emissions.

  • There needs to be a coming together of the ICT Sector with the other industry sectors that have traditionally been separate communities, in order to ensure the best use of ICTs. 

  • Developing countries should participate more in international programmes that support the development and use of common performance standards, testing, verification and certification programmes.

  • IPR policies related to global standards need to be addressed.

  • Dumping is a major concern for developing countries. Greater emphasis is needed on recycling, reduction of hazardous substances in ICTs, and refurbishment.

  • Life cycle methodologies for the ICT sector within the UNFCCC will be essential if ICTs are to play a significant role in climate change.

  • ICTs can only assist in mitigating and adapting to climate change if they are widely available. There is a clear link between bridging the digital divide and climate change. There should be incentives within the UNFCCC to the ICT industry to invest in developing countries, in particular bringing the benefits of broadband technology to schools, hospitals, and businesses. 

  • Including reference to the ICT/Telecommunication sector in the sectoral part of the negotiating text would enable a life cycle methodology to be included in the Clean Development Mechanism. This would provide an incentive to the ICT industry to invest in developing countries, help reduce the digital divide, and at the same time help fight climate change – a win-win scenario.

For video archive of ITU media briefing in Barcelona: http://tr.im/Ek5t.
See also TelecomTV coverage including: http://tr.im/Elxb
And Computer Weekly: http://tr.im/Ek4H

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Saturday, November 07, 2009 10:09:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 22, 2009
One-size-fits-all solution will dramatically cut waste and GHG emissions. "ICTs are an essential element of an effective Copenhagen climate agreement," says Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré

Geneva, 22 October 2009 — ITU has given its stamp of approval to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution. The announcement comes as ITU lobbies hard to have the essential role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) recognized in the draft Copenhagen Agreement as a key part of the solution towards mitigating climate change.

full press release

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Thursday, October 22, 2009 1:27:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 20, 2009
G.hn standard for wired home networking gets international approval

Geneva, 15 October 2009 — ITU has approved a cutting-edge technical standard that will usher in new era in ‘smart home’ networking systems and applications. Called ‘G.hn’, the new standard will enable service providers to deploy new offerings, including High Definition TV (HDTV) and digital Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), more cost effectively. It will also allow consumer electronics manufacturers to seamlessly network all types of home entertainment, home automation and home security products, and greatly simplify consumers’ purchasing and installation processes.

full press release

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:36:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 09, 2009
High-level meeting underlines importance of unified international approach to technology development

Geneva, 8 October 2009 — Nineteen CTOs from some of the world’s key ICT players have called upon ITU to provide a lead in an overhaul of the global ICT standardization landscape.

The call came at a meeting held at ITU headquarters in Geneva on 6 October between ITU senior management and the world’s technology leaders. The meeting will become a regular feature on the ITU calendar.

The CTOs agreed on a set of recommendations and actions that will better address the evolving needs of a fast-moving industry; facilitate the launch of new products, services and applications; promote cost-effective solutions; combat climate change; and address the needs of developing countries regarding greater inclusion in standards development.

Participants reaffirmed the increasing importance of standards in the rapidly changing information society. Standards are the ‘universal language’ that drives competitiveness by helping organizations optimize their efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and innovation, the CTOs agreed.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU, said: "Standards are a proven and key driver in the successful growth and deployment of new ICT products, services, and applications. And while there are many examples of successful standards collaboration, a fragile economic environment and an ICT ecosystem characterized by convergence makes it all the more important to streamline and clarify the standardization landscape. We have agreed on a number of concrete actions that will help us move towards this goal and strengthen understanding of standards’ critical role in combating climate change, while better reflecting the needs of developing countries."

The meeting reinforced the importance of standards in assuring interoperability. As operators embrace IP, the networks and services of the next 20-30 years are being developed that will help people make contact anywhere and anyhow. The emergence of technologies such as globally standardized IMS will bring customers richer services. Only agreed global standards can deliver on the promise of disseminating those services on mobiles, PCs, wirelines and home devices, CTOs agreed. At the same time, they acknowledged that new players and business models will emerge, and that the continued convergence of telecoms and IT is likely to provoke some tensions across different paradigms and cultures. CTOs pledged to cooperate to bridge the developed and developing worlds, bringing IP benefits to all while also ensuring network security and reliability.

The standardization landscape has become complicated and fragmented, with hundreds of different industry forums and consortia. CTOs agreed that it has become increasingly tough to prioritize standardization resources, and called on ITU – as the preeminent global standards body - to lead a review to clarify the standardization scenario. This will allow ICT companies to make more efficient use of resources and ensure that standards are developed in the most appropriate bodies, benefitting both industry and users.

ITU will host a web portal providing information on the interrelationship of standards and standards bodies, which would facilitate the work of industry and standards makers while promoting cooperation and collaboration and avoiding duplication.

The meeting also recognized that standards can play a critical role in ‘greening’ the ICT industry and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in other sectors, and supported ITU’s efforts to have this role recognized in the new Copenhagen Agreement on Climate Change.

An official communiqué from the event can be found here.

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Friday, October 09, 2009 3:14:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 18, 2009
The winning papers from ITU's Kaleidoscope 2009 - Innovations for Digital Inclusion academic conference shared a prize fund of USD$10,000 on 1 September. Also, at the event held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU Linux project and now President of the Free Software Foundation, presented a paper Is digital inclusion a good thing? How can we make sure it is?.

Eng. Alicia Alonso Becerra, Rector of the José A. Echeverría Superior Polytechnic Institute, Cuba awarded the prizes to the presenters:

Kamugisha Kazaura from Tanzania of Waseda University, Japan, for:  

·         ROFSO: A universal platform for convergence of fiber and free-space optical communication networks, Kamugisha Kazaura; Kazuhiko Wakamori; Mitsuji Matsumoto; Takeshi Higashino; Katsutoshi Tsukamoto; Shozo Komaki.

Ms Lina Gomez from Columbia staff member at the Centro de Investigacion de las Telecomunicaciones, Columbia for:

·         Discrimination in NGN service markets: Opportunity or barrier to digital inclusion?, Fernando Beltran; Lina Gomez.

Ms Eva Ibarrola from Spain studying at University of the Basque Country, Spain for:  

·         Quality of Service management for ISP: A model and implementation methodology based on ITU-T Rec.802 framework, Eva Ibarrola; Jin Xiao; Fidel Liberal; Armando Ferro.

Ved Kafle from India of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan for:

·         An ID/Locator Split Architecture of Future Networks, Ved Kafle; Hideki Otsuki; Masugi Inoue.

The many academics in attendance expressed the importance of the role of universities in the standardization process and the high value of strong collaboration between ITU, academia, and research institutes.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU highlighted a recently approved Resolution (Resolution 71) which invites the ITU Council to consider the admission of academic institutions, universities and associated research establishments to ITU-T at reduced cost. His proposal to the ITU Council to be held in October for a reduced fee of $2000 was welcomed by participants.

Innovations for Digital Inclusion was held at the kind invitation of Ministerio de Planificación Federal Inversión Pública y Servicios and hosted by the National Communications Commission and the Secretariat of Communications of Argentina, was organized by ITU with IEEE Communications Society as Technical Co-Sponsor and supported by Cisco and Nokia. The conference brought together the best academic minds from around the world to present their future visions to achieve digital Inclusion. The conference also included an exhibition by local Universities which provided insight into their activities.

In addition to the three invited papers, from 80+ papers submitted, 32 were presented, and the best four awarded prizes. The winning papers will also be featured in a future special edition of IEEE Communications Magazine. The consolidated Proceedings of the conference are also available and all papers will be soon also available from IEEE Xplore online catalogue.

In addition to the prize pool, eight entrants - Jose Simões, Lina Gomez, Tullio Bertini, Aline Zim, Kei Wada, Juan Pablo Bernal, Paul Plantinga and Alberto Diez Albaladejo - received a Young Author Recognition Certificate.

Building on the success of the first and second Kaleidoscope events, a third conference is planned for end 2010.

For more information and presentations from Kaleidoscope 2009, see the event web page.

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Friday, September 18, 2009 8:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Participants at a unique international gathering of standards development organizations have agreed that a major concern, especially for developing countries, is a lack of equipment interoperability. Delegates at the Global Standards Collaboration (GSC) meeting taking place at ITU Headquarters, Geneva agreed that providing for interoperability should be an important aim of standardization.

The Global Standards Collaboration (GSC) provides an opportunity to exchange information, collaborate to reduce duplication, and to support the ITU as the preeminent global telecommunication and radiocommunication standards development organization.

In addition to interoperability, standards aimed at mitigating climate change continued as a key topic of discussion, with all participants agreeing that collaboration and focus is of key importance here.

The GSC meeting saw a broad spectrum of issues covered including international mobile telecommunications (IMT), NGN (next generation networks), home networks, emergency communication, security and lawful interception, identity management, IPTV, reconfigurable radio systems, broadband wireless access and intelligent transport systems (ITS). Topics highlighted as warranting further investigation included smart grid, service oriented networks, future networks and machine-to-machine communications /smart embedded device communications.

The host, Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: “Increasing the probability of interoperability will greatly increase both the quality of standards and quality of service for service providers and end users alike. ITU welcomes the opportunity to work with the world’s most important standards bodies on this and other important matters. GSC has an enormously important role to play in globalizing the standardization process. GSC promotes the value of standardization to the international community by sending a clear message of efficiency and commitment to address global needs by working together to avoid the duplication of effort and wasted intellectual resource.”

Zhu Gaofeng, Chairman of the Council of China Communications Standards Association, next year’s GSC host: “GSC continues to be an important venue for coordination of global standardization strategies. It is clear that in an age with a proliferation of standards bodies and newly emerging technologies, industry requires this level of collaboration. I am very happy that we have achieved – again – this high-level agreement on a diverse range of issues, some of which are not just important in terms of market development but have much wider ranging social impact.”

Susan M. Miller, President and CEO of ATIS, last year’s GSC host: “The tremendous collaborative work of GSC expands our ability to deliver global standards which, at heart, are designed to promote innovation, foster market competition, advance infrastructure development, and enhance interoperability. The ability to do this is fundamental to the global ICT industry’s primary objective – responding to and delivering on user needs with innovative services and solutions in a timely and cost-effective basis.”

More than one hundred participants from eight Participating Standards Organizations (PSO) attended, along with observers from additional groups.

Participants at GSC-14 included the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) of Japan, the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA) of China, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the ICT Standards Advisory Council of Canada (ISACC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) from the U.S., the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of Korea and the Telecommunications Technology Committee (TTC) of Japan.

Guests and observers included representatives from American National Standards Institute (ANSI), APT Wireless Forum, Broadband Forum, CDMA Development Group (CDG), European Patent Office (EPO), Home Gateway Initiative, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Sector Boards 4 (SB4), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), UMTS Forum, and the U.S. Patent & Trade Office.

The official communique from the event can be found here

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009 1:36:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 11, 2009
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s standardization bureau - is interviewed here on ITU’s recent work on ICTs climate change.

The video is in support of the Light Reading Green Telecom East: Transitioning to Environmentally Responsible Networks event, taking place Wednesday, June 17, at The Westin Times Square in New York City. ITU is an official association sponsor of the conference.

Light Reading has kindly offered an unlimited number of discounted VIP Guest Packages to ITU members. In addition free admission will be granted to registrants employed by a cable or service provider, or network professionals at a large enterprise, educational establishment, utility, or government agency. Details of the offer here.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009 9:29:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 08, 2009

Episode 1 of TelecomTV's Green Planet features Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU, talking about ITU's ICTs and Climate Change initiative.

The Green Planet series provides an overview of different elements of Sustainable ICT. Featuring leading scientists, politicians and heads of industry from across the globe, Green Planet is a timely and fascinating examination of issues and solutions that will change the world.

Watch here.

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Friday, May 08, 2009 4:28:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 16, 2009

Over 150 delegates from 25 countries met last week in Colombo, Sri Lanka to discuss standardization and regulatory issues relating to next generation networks (NGN).

The event, jointly-organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), and hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka, constitutes a major step in engaging with industry stakeholders in the region and beyond on NGN standardization issues.

Participants at the event agreed to invite the ITU to establish a web-based NGN Gateway, linking NGN activities in the three ITU sectors (standardization, radiocommunication and development).

The NGN Gateway would act as an NGN information sharing point particularly aimed at developing countries and give resources such as:

  • NGN Tutorials
  • Standardization pointers
  • Governmental issue guidelines
  • Regulatory guidelines
  • Case studies on migration to NGN
  • Conformance and interoperability guidelines

NGNs are packet-based networks able to make use of multiple broadband, transport technologies, and in which service-related functions are independent from underlying transport-related technologies. Networks built on NGN technology have the potential to offer significantly lower service delivery costs, deliver a greater range of services and applications, and at the same time, support seamless and generalised mobility which will allow consistent and ubiquitous provision of services to end-users.

Various operators in the region have started the migration of their networks to NGN, however there is a pressing need to agree on a set of global standards on a range of issues, including interconnection and interoperability between networks, QoS, mobility, and IPv6.

The ITU and CTO joined forces to ensure the widest participation from Asia and beyond. Present at the event were leading operators, regulators and manufacturers including NTT, BT, Ericsson, Motorola, and ZTE.

“This is a historic event. Not only is it the first ITU-T event in Sri Lanka, it is the first joint event between ITU and CTO”, said Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU during his welcome address.

“Sri Lanka was pleased to host this event. We are committed to such collaborative arrangements with the ITU and the CTO, as we see the ICT sector as a driving force of our economy”, Priyantha Kariyapperuma, Director-General of Sri Lanka TRC added.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009 10:56:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Meeting of TSB Director's Ad Hoc Group on IPR

Geneva, 1 May 2009

Registration form

Ad Hoc Group on IPR Home

Thursday, April 16, 2009 10:05:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 27, 2009

Standardized methodologies for calculating the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been proposed by an ITU Focus Group meeting in Hiroshima, Japan.

The ITU-T Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change, a global group comprising of some of the world’s leading ICT players, has developed a method for calculating two elements:

1.   Energy usage and carbon impact arising from ICT lifecycles

2.   Decrease in GHG emissions that can be achieved with ICTs, such as substituting ICT services and devices for intensive fossil-fuelled activities for travel and transport and by replacing atoms with bits (buying an MP3 file instead of a CD), also known as “dematerialization”.

The meeting agreed on a set of four ‘deliverables’ that also give guidance on terms and definitions, including units of measurement to be used. The deliverables draw on best practices from many organizations around the world and will be published as the proceedings of the Focus Group. The next step will be to formally issue the Focus Group outcomes as ITU-T Recommendations, or standards. 

“This work has an important bearing on current and future global agreements under which countries undertake commitments to reduce their overall GHG emissions,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “Common approaches to calculating the impact of ICTs are vital to ensure coherent and effective solutions.”

Clearly, ICTs have the potential to drastically reduce GHGs. A contribution to the Focus Group meeting showed that direct e-mail has the effect of a 98.5 per cent carbon dioxide emission reduction compared with paper. The group also noted a trend towards ‘always-on’ devices that are a drain on power supplies. Recommended steps toward more efficient energy use of ICT devices are part of the output of the group.

“Even conservative estimates show a significant contribution to addressing climate change can be made through the application of ICTs,” said Johnson. “But, we cannot be content to sit and tell one another that ICTs can mitigate climate change. We must demonstrate our case with hard facts and figures. This methodology will give added credibility and coherence to the estimates of the positive impact of ICT. A common methodology will help establish the business case to go green and can ultimately be beneficial to informed consumer choices and climate-friendly business procurement.”

Dave Faulkner, BT and Chairman of the Focus Group said, “The Focus Group has highlighted ways to minimize the ICT sector's carbon footprint. But, more importantly, the group has highlighted key ways to reduce GHG emissions in other sectors by the clever use of telecommunication and ICTs. We expect these measures will be taken up by telecommunications operators and vendors around the world.”

Jason Marcheck, a Principal Analyst with Current Analysis: “Without a standardized methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of ICTs it is impossible to fully comprehend data provided by well-meaning companies. This initiative helps to provide a framework that companies can follow to give reliable data that can be compared on an international scale. It shows the importance that the ICT industry attaches to this topic, and represents a necessary step forward in standardizing the way that the industry approaches environmental sustainability.”

Takashi Hanazawa, Senior Vice President, NTT: “The development and implementation of a standardized methodology is something that all industry players have been waiting for. As an ITU member, NTT has supported this work from the beginning. Today’s announcement sends a strong message, underlining this industry’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. We applaud ITU’s efforts and join with ITU management in sending a message of environmental consciousness and belief in sustainable growth for the future.”

Makoto Totsuka, Director-General for ICT Strategic Policy Planning, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan: “Prior to the Focus Group, we have not had an international forum for discussing common measures to calculate the positive and negative aspect of ICTs. We were honoured to host the final meeting of the Focus Group and would like to thank all delegates for their efforts. We will continue to contribute to ITU activity on ICT and Climate Change and environmental issues.”

Laura Ipsen, Senior Vice President of Cisco Global Policy and Government Affairs and co-chair of the Cisco EcoBoard: “Accurate, standardized measurement is the first step towards effective reduction of the ICT carbon footprint. The ITU-T Focus Group deliverables provide a valuable foundation for further ICT industry global collaboration in helping to address the world’s environmental challenges. Cisco is committed to continuing its efforts in ITU and with customers globally for energy efficiency in an inclusive and sustainable information society.”

As part of its ongoing work on ICTs and climate change, ITU is organizing the third Symposium on ICTs and Climate Change in Quito, Ecuador, 8− 10 July 2009, hosted by Centro Internacional de Investigación Científica en Telecomunicaciones, Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (CITIC) Ecuador. More details here.



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Friday, March 27, 2009 4:37:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 12, 2008

The first global standard offering an in-home, high-speed network capable of delivering room-to-room HDTV has been agreed by ITU. The standard, published under the G.hn banner, promises high quality multimedia over power, coaxial, phone and other home wiring. It will give up to 20 times the throughput of existing wireless technologies and three times that of existing wired technologies.

The specifications will be used by chip manufacturers to build transceivers that can be incorporated into set-top boxes, residential gateways, home computers, home audio systems, DVD players, TVs or any other device that might be connected to a network now or in the future. Experts say that silicon companies will immediately start incorporating the specifications into transceivers, implying that G.hn-compliant products could be on the market as early as 2010.

Joyce Putscher, Principal Analyst at market research firm In-Stat, said, “Service operators have been looking for an international standard that encompasses multiple existing-wire mediums for video distribution. G.hn meets that requirement and it seems clear that with significant industry backing from service providers, semiconductor and equipment vendors, and the fast rate at which the process is moving to achieve a standard, we will see first equipment by 2010.”

“There’s a clear market need for a unified networking approach,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “With G.hn, every wire in every home around the world can become part of a home entertainment network. This will enable seamless communication between computers, HDTVs and telephones over existing wires. I expect that this exciting new technology will also foster innovations such as energy efficient smart appliances, home automation and telemedicine devices.”

Work on G.hn was started at the instigation of service providers looking to extend broadband and video services in the home. As well as its offer of greater speed, it may be bundled as complementary to Wi-Fi where G.hn offers greater coverage, extending, for example, to areas of a house where Wi-Fi does not reach.

The standard has achieved remarkable industry backing even before its publication. An industry group — the HomeGrid Forum — has been formed specifically to back G.hn. The goal of HomeGrid Forum is to market G.hn worldwide and to create a compliance and interoperability programme to ensure that products based on the standard will operate in any home around the world.

Other industry analysts backing the standard include Michael Wolf, Research Director at ABI Research. “If G.hn sees integration into carrier devices by 2010, we expect that some 42 million G.hn-compliant nodes will ship in 2013 in devices such as set-top boxes, residential gateways and other service provider CPE hardware,” Wolf said.

“A single, unified technology for multimedia networks over power lines, coaxial cable, and phone lines has the potential to enable a simple, easy-to-use means of networking devices in the home,” said Kurt Scherf, analyst with market analyst firm Parks Associates. “We believe ITU’s work is an important step towards eliminating fragmentation in the industry and in achieving the vision of a networked home.”

Recommendation ITU-T G.9960 focuses on the physical or PHY layer, giving the data bit rate and quality of service necessary for triple-play residential services as well as business-type services delivered over xDSL, PON, or other access technology. In step with ITU guidelines on new standards development, several power saving modes have been incorporated. Ongoing work is focused on the media access control (MAC) layer.

Friday, December 12, 2008 1:08:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The latest issue of IEEE Communications Magazine features a number of articles on ITU-T.

As well as a general article on the challenges faced by ITU-T, more detailed pieces focus on working methods, initiatives on climate change, audio coding, optical transport and bridging the standardization gap.

An electronic version of the publication can be seen here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 12:58:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 03, 2008

A key conclusion of a recent ITU workshop on IPv6 is that capacity building will be fundamental to progress IPv6 deployment. A report from the workshop is available here.

The workshop, held in Geneva on 4-5 September 2008, brought together key policy makers, standards makers and other industry figures to progress international cooperation on the implementation of IPv6.

“We have noted voices and opinions from the developing world and from the developed world, from academia and research institutes, as well as from industry members,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), in a speech to welcome workshop participants. “Often these voices focus on the issue of the management of Internet resources, including IPv6 addresses, and that it may be appropriate to consider systems that avoid some of the problems that have arisen with IPv4 allocations.”

Johnson invited the “IPv6 global community” to engage with ITU on this important topic. “It will be essential in the coming months to address some of the roadblocks that have so far stalled IPv6 implementation,” he said, adding that “ITU has proven and relevant competence as the architect and custodian of the world’s international telephone numbering system, a system which is characterized by stability”. ITU could play an active role in areas such as technical and standardization issues, which will enable the most efficient and effective usage of IPv6. It would also take part in capacity building and technical assistance to help countries in the deployment process and parallel running of IPv4 and IPv6.

Presenters highlighted Asia as home to several pioneering deployments of IPv6. Japan has long been a leader in research on the technology. China is home to the world’s biggest IPv6 infrastructure project, part of the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) programme covering more than 40 cities nationwide.

The workshop recognized the role of governments in efforts to foster the deployment and usage of IPv6. It was also noted that the transition to IPv6 might be market driven, and that ISPs keen to ensure business continuity will benefit from the migration.

Participants agreed that there is a need to share knowledge, because migration scenarios are not yet completely clear. In this regard, it could be helpful to publicize comparisons between the architecture of IPv4 and IPv6, in order to demonstrate to decision makers the value of a more agile network.

The meeting recommended creating a project within ITU to assist developing countries based on regional needs as identified by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). This project should include a training component, and should be carried out jointly by the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) and the BDT, taking into consideration the involvement of those partners willing to join and to contribute their expertise.

“The stability of the Internet is paramount. I am sure that the problems experienced so far are surmountable, and I know that ITU has the knowledge, strength and will to assist,” said Johnson.

Friday, October 03, 2008 3:24:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A meeting of the world’s leading ICT standards bodies has urged members to support the ITU-T Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change. The ITU group formed earlier in July is working on the development of methodologies for the analysis, evaluation and quantification of greenhouse gas emissions from the ICT sector and the reductions that may be achieved through the use of ICTs in other sectors, and is open to any interested organisation.

A Resolution named ICT and the Environment from the Thirteenth Global Standards Collaboration (GSC-13) meeting asks that participating standards organizations (PSOs) share their views and experiences on this topic with ITU. The Resolution gives high priority to standards development related to ICT and climate change and encourages PSOs to closely collaborate on the topic. The Resolution promotes the following areas:

- awareness of changing environment and impacts of ICTs
- energy-saving definitions, reference models, gap analysis, measurement methods, quantification methods, and requirements in a harmonized way
- development of ICT standardization that have a positive impact on the environment
- electronic working methods and its tools
- use of ICTs (e.g. USN, RFIDs etc.) for monitoring and measuring climate change.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU's Standardization Bureau said, "This Resolution promotes a spirit of collaboration and mutual support in order that this globally important issue is tackled with the utmost efficiency. ITU gives all the world's standardization bodies the opportunity to work together to apply the power of ICTs to this greatest of all challenges".

The Thirteenth Global Standards Collaboration (GSC-13) was hosted by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) in Boston, Massachusetts. One hundred participants attended. They included representatives from the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) of Japan, the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA) of China, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the ICT Standards Advisory Council of Canada (ISACC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) from the U.S., the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of Korea and the Telecommunications Technology Committee (TTC) of Japan.

GSC-13 is the latest in a series of such events that commenced in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1990. The events provide a strategic opportunity for dialogue among senior officials from national, regional and international standards bodies. The next GSC meeting will be hosted by the ITU, the 13th to 16th of July 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 1:14:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 10, 2008

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU interviewed by Gareth Mitchell on the BBC's Digital Planet programme on ICTs and climate change. Podcast available here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 10:50:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 21, 2008

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 Standardisation 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.

Saturday, June 21, 2008 6:47:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 02, 2008

Interview with Malcom Johnson, Director, ITU, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. Malcom Johnson talks about the increasing emphasis on green ICT and ICT standards for climate change.

Watch now.

Monday, June 02, 2008 10:24:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Regional Development Forum for the Americas Region closed 20 May 2008, in Brasilia, Brazil. The Forum, was jointly organized by ITU-T and ITU-D,  in cooperation with Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), and hosted by ANATEL, Brazil

More than 200 participants attended, from 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 the  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 in 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.

 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 2:01:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 6:59:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The ITU/MIC Kyoto Symposium on ICTs and Climate Change closed 16 April with agreement that ITU should play a significant role in the global effort to combat climate change.

A number of actions were recommended for ITU. Among them was a task for ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T) which was tasked with the development of an internationally agreed standard methodology to measure the impact of ICTs on climate change, both in terms of the direct emission of greenhouse gases, and the savings that can be generated in other sectors of industry through the application of ICTs.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson, supported the meeting’s recommendation that an ITU-T Focus Group would be an appropriate vehicle to take forward this work. He said that he would propose the formation of a new group to ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) at its next meeting in July. However, to move quickly, he encouraged the submission of proposals on the terms of reference for this group, as well as initial proposals on methodologies, to: tsbtechwatch@itu.int.

Johnson also proposed that a draft Resolution would be presented at this year’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08), in Johannesburg, October. The document is expected to outline ITU-T’s responsibility in identifying the role that ICTs should play in the mitigation and monitoring of climate change and target reductions for the industry.

Experts agreed that the chairman’s report of the Kyoto event provides an excellent start point for the Resolution which will be discussed in further detail at the second ITU symposium on ICTs and climate change, 17-18 June 2008 in London. More information is also available in the meeting summary and the ITU background report.

The chairman’s report of the Kyoto symposium will also be forwarded to upcoming meetings of the World Economic Forum, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministerial meeting in the Republic of Korea, the G8 meeting in Japan and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The second ITU symposium on ICTs and climate change, will be held 17-18 June in London, hosted by BT. The London event will also be broadcast as a live Webinar. Register: [more information]

Presentations from Kyoto can be viewed here.

See also climate change news feed for more detailed reports on the Kyoto event.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 3:15:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 21, 2008

Fears that a set of next-generation network transport specifications developed by ITU-T could cause interoperability problems have been allayed.

The IETF and ITU will work together to extend IETF MPLS functionality to address the needs of the transport network. The work will move forward recognizing that the sole design authority for MPLS resides in the IETF, and the domain of expertise for Transport Network Infrastructure resides in ITU-T SG15.

ITU-T has been developing extensions to Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) MPLS to address the requirements of the transport network (T-MPLS). However, concerns were raised by the IETF that the approach taken by the ITU-T was incompatible with widely deployed - MPLS - technology. These concerns have been allayed with the agreement that the IETF and ITU-T will work jointly on the development of a transport profile for MPLS technology which will now be referred to as “MPLS-TP”.

The Joint Working Team (see previous newslog entry) consisting of experts from the IETF and ITU-T has recommended that IETF MPLS technology should be extended to meet the requirements of the transport network. The proposal is based on technical analysis that showed that the IETF MPLS architecture can be extended to provide the functionality required by the transport network as defined by ITU-T's Study Group 15. The ITU-T has accepted this proposal and the IETF will develop a transport profile for MPLS (MPLS-TP) with input from ITU-T to ensure that the requirements of the transport network are fully addressed. Details of the proposal and the technical consideration are available here.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said, "Given the complexity of today’s networks it is inevitable that we will, from time-to-time, see divergent approaches. What is important is that we quickly agree on a way forward. The experts in the joint group have worked hard to find a cooperative solution rather than going our separate ways. This is an excellent result and bodes well for the future collaboration between ITU and IETF".”

Russ Housley Chair of the IETF, "I am very optimistic about the outcome, and I see this as a significant milestone in the cooperation between the ITU-T and the IETF."

 

Monday, April 21, 2008 2:45:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Six new standards enabling a more secure ICT environment have been approved by ITU. Experts say that the standards represent an important achievement reflecting the needs of business in establishing risk management strategies and the protection of consumers.

Three ITU-T Recommendations cover a definition of cybersecurity, a standardized way for vendors to supply security updates and guidelines on spyware. While the other three focus on countering the modern day plague of spam by providing a toolbox of technical measures to help consumers and service providers.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “In the real – non-virtual – world risk management is well understood and so the infrastructure has been developed to protect against theft, fraud and other kinds of attack. The virtual world should be no different. And standards can provide the backbone for this risk-management infrastructure.”

Standards give businesses the systematic approach to information security that they need to keep network assets safe. The adoption of multiple – proprietary – approaches is, experts agree, an inherently more vulnerable approach.

Recommendations on spam are a direct response to a call from the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T. Members asked that ITU-T define technical measures to tackle this plague of the digital world following growing global concern at additional costs and loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecoms operators and business users.

Herb Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T’s Study Group 17 that looks at cybersecurity: “ITU-T is in a unique position given its international scope and the fact that it brings together the private sector and governments to coordinate work on standards and influence the harmonization of security practices worldwide.”

The Recommendations in brief

ITU-T Rec. X.1205 establishes a definition of cybersecurity noting that this understanding is needed in order to build a foundation of knowledge that can aid securing the networks of tomorrow. Network protocols, it says, were developed in an environment of trust but today cybersecurity threats are growing. ITU-T Rec. X.1205 provides a classification of security threats from an organization’s point of view. It gives a layered approach to security enabling organizations to create multiple levels of defence against threats.

ITU-T Rec. X.1206 is designed to make it easier for systems administrators to manage patches/updates from multiple software vendors. The work was driven by concerns that the number of different methodologies used to deliver software updates was becoming a headache for companies. The Rec. gives a vendor-neutral framework for automatic notification of security related information and dissemination of updates.

ITU-T Rec. X.1207 gives guidelines enabling users to identify spyware and for vendors to avoid their products being mistakenly identified as such. The Recommendation promotes best practices around principles of clear notices, and user’s consents and controls. Authors of the Recommendation say that it develops and promotes best practices to users on PC security, including use of anti-spyware, anti-virus, personal firewall, and security updates of software on client systems.

ITU-T Rec. X.1231 sets out the requirements for combating spam and will serve as the startpoint for all further anti-spam standardization work. It gives an overview of methodologies to counter spam and describes the general characteristics of spam whether for e-mail, SMS, VoIP or other emerging forms of spam. It also outlines key ways to counter spam, and a hierarchical model to establish an efficient and effective anti-spam strategy.

ITU-T Rec. X.1240 is aimed at end users and focusing just on e-mail spam, brings together various mature spam combating technologies in order that users can select the most appropriate.

ITU-T Rec. X.1241 promotes greater cooperation between service providers in tackling spam. In particular the document provides a framework enabling a communication methodology for alerts on identified spam.

Monday, April 21, 2008 2:13:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T IPTV experts Ghassem Koleyni and Simon Jones will lead a live web seminar (webinar) on IPTV standardization, May 7 at 1600 CET.

Click here to register, for the webinar hosted by industry analyst Heavy Reading. By registering you will be able to listen to and take part in discussion as well as view presentation slides.

Koleyni and Jones will present standardization from an ITU perspective with experts from other standards bodies, including the DSL Forum and ATIS, explaining how they have worked with ITU to produce the first set of global IPTV specifications, available here. Malcolm Johnson, Director ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said: “I encourage anyone involved in the deployment of IPTV services at any level to take this opportunity to learn about this important set of standards as well as quiz our experts on the topic.

We have already seen first generation IPTV services and as these mature we may see a change in regulation or market demand that will require interoperation between service and/or network providers. A potential outcome of this will be that a customer can 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. It is to meet that need that the value of ITU’s work on standardisation will be realised. ”

If you can’t join the live event registration will give access to an archive file of the event.

Monday, April 21, 2008 9:04:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The first set of global standards for IPTV have been published in an online compendium.

The proceedings of the IPTV Focus Group (IPTV FG) are collected in an online document including a preface from the ITU Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) and the Chairman of the IPTV FG. They are the result of 20 months hard work by the Focus Group which has now been passed on to the IPTV-GSI (global standards initiative).

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the TSB says in the preface: “The results of the work of the IPTV Focus Group will lay the foundation for an area of ICTs that is predicted to attract up to 100 million subscribers in the next three years. It's easy to see why so many of the world's leading ICT companies have been keen to progress this work.”

As well as the 21 deliverables, the publication gives an overview of the Focus Group, its management team and the group's activities and achievements focusing on: architecture and requirements; QoS and performance aspects; service security and content protection; IPTV network control; end systems and interoperability aspects and middleware, application and content platforms.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:26:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 28, 2008

An ITU event will bring together the best academic minds from around the world to present their future visions for next generation networks (NGN). The three best papers will be awarded from a prize fund donated by Cisco totaling $10,000.

Innovations in NGN, 12-13 May, Geneva is the first in a series of conferences under the banner ‘Kaleidoscope’ that will bring closer ties between ITU, academia and research organizations. The event, technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society attracted around 140 contributions with its initial call for papers. From this, 54 of the most visionary papers have been selected by a review panel of 140 experts from around the world for presentation at the conference. The event will also host the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ITU and IEEE Communications Society.

Innovations in NGN will highlight technologies, services and applications five years and beyond that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure and lead to the ubiquitous network society in which information can be accessed anywhere and anytime by anyone and anything. It will also cover multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of regulatory and societal challenges.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Technology is a critical determinant of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. And, education is key to the accelerated development of information and communications technologies (ICT) and contributes to the increased use of these technologies all over the world. Without the involvement of the world’s universities and other academic and research institutions we would not have reached the level of innovation that we see today. The Kaleidoscope series is an excellent innitiative to capitalize on the fruitful relationship that we already have with academia and take it to another level.”

ITU has a long history of collaboration with academia and many standards (ITU-T Recommendations) have been developed with academic input. Some leading Study Group positions are held by university professors. The Kaleidoscope initiative will encourage a new type of engagement along the lines of an academic conference. Authors whose works are selected for the event’s proceedings will gain extra academic recognition by being published online by IEEE. The standards world will profit from new ideas for possible future development.

Innovations in NGN is to inspire contributions towards a kaleidoscopic view of communication habits for the future. We know what NGN is in terms of the underlying technology, but we don’t know what services will emerge, how NGN will affect the marketplace for ICT, and how society will be affected. This, first in the series of Kaleidoscope conferences is free for anyone to attend and will shed light on some of these questions as well as inspire debate and future work on the future of ICT and ICT standardization. Please register at www.itu.int/ITU-T/uni/kaleidoscope/.

ITU-T is seeking sponsors to join Cisco, ICF and Sun Microsystems and help fund the various activities connected to the event including publication of proceedings, coffee-breaks and reception. For more details contact kaleidoscope@itu.int.

Friday, March 28, 2008 3:48:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 07, 2008

Max Mosley, the head of Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, calls for accelerated standards development to support ICTs in vehicles for improvements in safety, and the mitigation and monitoring of climate change. Speaking at ITU’s annual Fully Networked Car event at the Geneva Motor Show, Mosley said that the leading edge expertise within F1 to develop “green” technologies could have applications beyond the sport, particularly in the area of fuel efficiency and monitoring of environmental impact. Most F1 teams have as many as 300 channels of information flowing between the cars and the pit crew and as the complexity of systems grow their interconnection will become critical he said.

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General, reminded participants that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has called climate change the “moral challenge of our generation”. He said: “With the Fully Networked Car we can provide traffic management, monitoring, and analysis, all of which will help meet the climate change challenge. Those who successfully meet this challenge will end up with a real competitive advantage in world markets.”

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The new 2008 Honda Racing F1 “Earthdreams” car with Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General; Max Mosley, President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU.

Michel Mayer, CEO Freescale Semiconductor, a leading supplier of ICTs to F1 and one of the sponsors of the event, expressed concerns at the proliferation of proprietary standards and called for global standards bodies such as ITU to take a lead. He said that it is critical that further development be standards-driven.

The event also featured a keynote presentation from David Butler, Marketing Director, Honda Racing F1 Team, who emphasised how the powerful brand platform of F1 can present a global environmental message. The Fully Networked Car event had as its centrepiece the new 2008 Honda Racing F1 “Earthdreams” car.

A particular concern, according to experts, is in the areas of telematics and the application of intelligent transport systems (ITS) which participants at the Fully Networked Car agreed offer the best solution for a reduced carbon footprint from the global use of vehicles.

ITU will help to push this standards work and convergence between the ICT and automotive industries with initiatives such as its FITCAR (From/In/To Cars Communication) Focus Group, and the hosting of the Advisory Panel for Standards Cooperation on Telecommunications related to Motor Vehicles (ASPC TELEMOV). Also helping to step up this activity, Malcolm Johnson, ITU’s director of standards, announced that the Fully Networked Car event – already in its fourth year - will now become a regular fixture bringing together the two industries. The 2009 event is planned for 4-6 March. ITU will also be organising two ITU symposia on ICTs and Climate Change: in Kyoto, 15-16 April, hosted by the government of Japan; and in London, 17-18 June, hosted by BT.

Priorities identified for future standardization included: a common set of standards for the full range of nomadic devices; standards for software defined radios; standards to cope with the gap between the short lifecycle of mobile phones compared to the relatively long lifecycle of cars; and privacy, where there is a need for a common understanding about what data is reasonable to collect and retain.

The Fully Networked Car event brought together over 200 experts from the ICT and automotive worlds. It was organised by ITU with the support of ISO and IEC under the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) banner.

Enquiries to: Toby Johnson, +41 79 249 4868 or toby.johnson@itu.int.

More photos on Flickr












Friday, March 07, 2008 4:25:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 22, 2008

Senior technical experts have laid down the gauntlet on energy saving in ICTs following a recent meeting in Geneva.

Following tutorials on power saving, at a recent meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 15 (SG 15), experts agreed to work towards a proposed percentage reduction of power consumption in broadband technologies. The aim is for the agreed figure to form part of a Resolution from the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08). Reduction of power consumption should and can be done without the degradation of services according to experts. Presentations from the tutorials are available here.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has also underlined ITU’s role here saying: "ITU is one of the very important stakeholders in the area of climate change." ITU representatives made a statement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, illustrating how ICTs are both a cause and a potential cure for climate change.

Speaking during the event attended by over 100 representatives from the ICT industry worldwide for each of its three, hour-long sessions, Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, Houlin Zhao expressed appreciation that the meetings had proven so popular at such an early stage of the work. He pointed out that ICTs are responsible for 2.5 per cent of carbon emissions. This is roughly the equivalent of the airline industry and requires our urgent attention, he said.

The issue of power saving will be discussed within the wider context of climate change at Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change, to be held April 15-16 2008 in Kyoto, Japan, hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and 17-18 June 2008 in London, hosted by BT. The events are part of a new initiative by ITU to better understand how ICTs can help mitigate and adapt to climate change as well as monitoring its impact.

Experts speaking at the SG 15 tutorials pointed to inefficiencies in terms of end-device power consumption level compared to the signal power. The deployment of broadband access networks is of particular concern as operators worldwide rollout this new technology that some predict will massively increase power demands.

Some simple measures, for example specifying power saving modes in network terminations such as: ‘asleep’, ‘standby’, as well as ‘on’ and ‘off’, were cited by speakers. It was also noted that next-generation networks (NGN) can lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing network complexity, and introducing equipment that is more tolerant to natural climatic conditions and therefore does not require air conditioning. Smart buildings, energy supply and transport industries must all play their part in achieving greenhouse gas reductions.

A first and completed task of the ITU experts has been to create a power saving checklist for standards authors. Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU congratulated SG 15 for responding so quickly to the request to address climate change. He urged all Study Groups to start the process of reviewing their Recommendations (ITU’s name for standards) according to the new checklist and assign appropriate metrics regarding reduction of greenhouse gases.

The checklist is intended to ensure that standards are drafted taking into account the most economic and energy-efficient solution. It is essentially, a set of questions relating to energy saving in networks. Experts propose that each new ITU-T Recommendation should contain a clause that identifies its impact on climate change and demonstrates ways that it contributes towards emission reduction, covering both production and the use of the equipment.

In order that this work is completed with the highest degree of efficiency there is broad consensus that ITU action has to be taken in partnership with all other bodies working in the field and that everything is done to avoid duplication of work.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:59:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 08, 2007

The government of Rwanda generously hosted ITU’s first ever global Forum on Bridging the ICT standardization and development gap between developed and developing countries, in Kigali, Rwanda, 2-4 October. Participants welcomed the recent establishment of a special fund for voluntary contributions from world governments and industry to address the issue.

The ICT standardization gap refers to the shortage of human resources in developing countries, relative to developed ones, in terms of being able to participate effectively in the standards-making and implementation process. Standards are an essential tool in bridging the digital divide, in reducing costs, and bringing vital aid to developing countries in building their infrastructure and encouraging economic development.

Over 160 participants from 38 countries took part in the meeting, with several countries being represented at government Minister or company CEO level. The conclusions of the Forum, outlining the importance of addressing the standardization gap, will be provided as input to the upcoming Connect Africa summit to be held in Kigali, 29-30 October.

The Forum was formally opened by H.E. Albert Butare, Minister of State in charge of Energy and Communications. He drew attention to the country’s National Information and Communications Infrastructure (NICI) Plan where the aim is to focus on the benefits of ICTs for national development and prosperity so that by 2020 Rwanda will have achieved middle-income status as a knowledge-based economy. The Minister welcomed the support being given by ITU and the international community in helping Rwanda to achieve its goals.

Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, speaking in Kigali at the opening of the Forum, said: “The significance of the standardization gap is that it contributes to the persistence of the wider digital divide in ICTs. That is because one of the underlying causes of the digital divide is unequal access to technology and the ability to implement and use that technology. The process of technology transfer and implementation will happen much faster when African engineers can participate in standards development, particularly at the requirements-gathering stage, and are familiar with the relevant standards.”

Meeting participants agreed that a sustained commitment to raising standards awareness and to capacity-building is of particular importance and the meeting called on the ITU to step up its efforts, welcoming ITU’s organisation of a Global Standardization Symposium to address the issue. This will be held on 20 October 2008 just ahead of the next World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08), planned for South Africa.

A chairman’s report from the Forum is available online as well as a full set of presentations: here.

Monday, October 08, 2007 12:56:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 07, 2007

Standards produced by ITU — ITU-T Recommendations — are now available without charge. The announcement follows a highly successful trial conducted from January−October 2007, during which some two million ITU-T Recommendations were downloaded throughout the world.

The experiment’s aim was to “increase the visibility and easy availability of the output of ITU-T”. Offering standards for free is a significant step for the standards community as well as the wider information and communication technologies (ICT) industry. Now, anyone with Internet access will be able to download one of over 3000 ITU-T Recommendations that underpin most of the world’s ICT. The move further demonstrates ITU’s commitment to bridging the digital divide by extending the results of its work to the global community.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) Malcolm Johnson, presenting the results of the trial to the 2007 meeting of ITU’s Council, said that not only had the experiment been a success in raising awareness of ITU-T, it would also attract new members. Most importantly, he noted, it had helped efforts to bridge the “standardization gap” between countries with resources to pursue standardization issues and those without. “There has been very positive feedback from developing countries,” said Johnson. “Last year exactly 500 ITU-T Recommendations had been sold to developing countries; this year, after allowing free access, they have downloaded some 300 000.”

ITU-T Recommendations are developed in a unique contribution-driven and consensus-based environment by industry and government members, with industry providing the most significant input. A strong focus of current standards work is providing the foundations for the so-called next-generation network (NGN). Other key areas include IPTV, ICT in vehicles, cybersecurity, quality of service, multimedia, emergency communications and standards for access, such as VDSL 2 — very high speed digital subscriber line 2, the newest and most advanced standard of DSL broadband wireline communications.

Friday, September 07, 2007 8:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 09, 2007

The Fully Networked Car workshop held during the Geneva Motor Show has closed today, Friday 9 March, with participants and speakers declaring the event a great success. 191 people participated in the event according to the organizers. 

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, underlined his commitment to working with other standards bodies at the opening of the recent Fully Networked Car event in Geneva. "We are now placing great emphasis on bringing together the various standards bodies to avoid duplication of effort and to address convergence in areas such as the one addressed in this workshop,” he said. “That is why I am so pleased to have had the cooperation of ISO and IEC in the organization of this workshop."

The workshop (accompanied by an exhibition on 6-10 March) was the latest initiative organized by the three partner organizations of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC): IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden remarked: “Following the previous workshops that we have organized with IEC and ITU on health technologies and the digital home, this workshop on the fully networked car is another example of the initiatives we have taken in the area of converging technologies."

The workshop addressed the market for information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles, which represents an ever-increasing share of innovation and added value in the automotive sector. The “fully networked car", taking full advantage of ICT for vehicles and road transport systems, is expected to offer a range of benefits including improved safety, reduced traffic congestion and pollution, and a smoother driving experience.

The WSC event provided a forum for the key specialists in the field, from top decision makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others. It helped to identify how and which standards can speed the development of the fully networked car and its introduction into the market.

Participants at the Fully Networked Car Event.

Friday, March 09, 2007 5:14:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Standards that will ease the wide spread rollout of video over IP networks took a step forward in January.

IPTV architecture and requirements, two fundamentally important areas in standards work were progressed at a recent meeting of the ITU-T Focus Group on IPTV. There was general consensus in the meeting that FG IPTV will successfully develop documents which will accelerate introduction of IPTV to the global market. Setting the architecture and requirements in stone allows the rest of the work to continue with greater ease.

Meeting at the Microsoft conference center, Mountain View California, at the invitation of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Standards (ATIS) the group saw a record number of contributions and experts worked often late to keep up with the workload. Nearly 90 documents were dealt with in the fields of architecture and requirements alone.

Malcolm Johnson, newly elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said in a message he sent to the event: “The excellent cooperation between ITU-T and ATIS is an example of the spirit of cooperation that I believe now pervades in the standards world... From what I have seen there is a great deal to be satisfied by in terms of the progress that FG IPTV has achieved so far.”

In opening comments, ATIS President & CEO Susan Miller shared with the 200 meeting attendees that IPTV is serving as a “change agent” for the industry, and “as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of the next generation network.” Miller noted that for North American service providers in particular, “IPTV is a critical ingredient to bundled service offerings that encompass television services, mobile services, Internet access, and much more. We have seen in the last decade, enormous investments in broadband, and fiber deployments to the home and to the premise,” said Miller.

Also important a document outlining terms and definitions in the field was created. While seemingly mundane this work is crucially important in ensuring consistency of comprehension in an area where many standards outlining different aspects of IPTV will co-exist.

Further discussion is expected on whether and how to treat the issue of redistribution of content to a point past an IPTV terminal device, and, in particular, how content protection and content management functions can or should apply in a home network environment.

Other issues examined and progressed were accessibility issues for people with disabilities, AV codecs and content format requirements. Output (and other) documents can be seen here.

The next meeting of FG IPTV will be held from 7 to 11 May 2007 in Bled, Slovenia.

 

 

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 9:14:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |