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 Thursday, February 11, 2010
The February issue of IEEE Communications Magazine carries a ‘feature topic’ on ITU’s Kaleidoscope event – Innovations for Digital Inclusion.

The magazine, also available online, carries the winning papers, as well as three invited papers from the second of ITU’s academic events.
Organized by ITU-T with IEEE ComSoc as Technical Co-Sponsor and supported by Cisco, and Nokia, the conference brought together some of the best academic minds from around the world to present their research supporting innovation in ICTs towards universal, sustainable, ubiquitous and affordable access by all. Among over 80 papers submitted, 32 papers were presented. The best four were awarded prizes totaling $10,000 kindly donated by Cisco.
All Kaleidoscope papers are also available in IEEE Xplore, IEEE's online library.
The third Kaleidoscope event “Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services” will be held in Lonavala, India, 13-15 December 2010.

For more information please contact kaleidoscope@itu.int.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:43:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The latest publication by ITU-T’s Technology Watch looks into the major technological challenge of powering increasingly complex portable ICT devices.

Advances in processing power and new-generation communications links have increased mobility and driven the demand for mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets. Battery packs are a crucial ingredient of new technologies, not only in the ICT sector, but, also in other industries such as automobile. One report suggests that the $71 billion-a-year world-wide battery market – rechargeables accounting for two-thirds – could grow by 4.8 percent annually through 2012.

From a standardization perspective the report notes that to date, no common methodology or standardized procedure is available to provide exact and comparable information on battery runtime of ICT devices.

Batteries for portable ICT devices summarizes the trends and developments in battery technologies for mobile ICT devices. Today’s research on mobile power supplies mainly focuses on (a) incremental advances to current power solutions (e.g., Li-ion), (b) application of known alternative power supplies (e.g., photovoltaics, fuel cells) to mobile devices, and (c) the development of new battery concepts including nanotechnology. Advances in power supplies for mobile phones and other ICT devices are also important in bridging the digital divide and to address environmental issues.

Batteries for portable ICT devices is the second publication in a series of TechWatch Alerts (the first Alert addressed the topic Mobile Applications). Alerts are intended to provide a brief but concise overview of emerging technologies and trends in the field of ICTs.

ITU-T’s Technology Watch invites any interested party to submit comments and feedback, as well as papers of a non-commercial nature (max. three pages). Please contact tsbtechwatch@itu.int.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010 4:40:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) held its first ever meeting on 4 December 2008 during the Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad.

The DCICC is an open group committed to moderating the environmental impact of the Internet and to seeking new ways to embrace the power of the Internet for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide.

The meeting was well-attended and many new entities joined the Coalition, which was originally launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), Japan and British Telecom.

At its meeting, the Coalition agreed on a set of objectives and actions for the coming year. One major objective will be to advocate the important role that ICTs can play as an enabling technology to reduce GHG emissions in all sectors and the need for the Internet to grow in an environmentally-friendly manner. More information about the DCICC can be found on its website hosted by the ITU at: http://www.itu.int/themes/climate/dc/index.html.

ITU also organized a workshop the IGF on the “Internet and Climate Change”, which featured a number of prominent speakers and generated a lively debate on this issue. Speakers noted that while ICTs contribute about 2.5 percent to annual GHG emissions, ICTs can potentially play an important role to reduce these emissions across all sectors.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 5:05:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A Declaration on Internet Accessibility was adopted by the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability at the recent Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held in Hyderabad, India. DCAD counts ITU as one of its founder members.

ITU took part in twelve sessions at the IGF, organizing seven of them. As well as opening remarks from the Secretary General, and various addresses from the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, six other ITU staff participated. In addition ITU sponsored the participation of 39 people (27 from developing countries).

DCAD aims to facilitate interaction between relevant bodies and ensure that ICT accessibility is included in the key debates around Internet Governance in order to build a future where all sectors of the global community have equal access to the Information Society. It held its first face-to-face meeting on 6 December 2008 during the third Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Hyderabad.

The Declaration urges all governments to support the process of adoption, ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It also “strongly urges” that the needs of persons with disabilities be included in all aspects of designing, developing, distributing and deploying of appropriation strategies of information and communication technologies, including information and communication services, so as to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, taking into account the universal design principle, existing standards, and the use of assistive technologies.

The Coalition has also approved an “Action Plan” for activities to be carried out in 2009.

Organizations that are members of the DCAD include ACMA, Council of Europe, DAISY Consortium, Digital Accessible Information System Consortium, G3ict, ICDRI, ISOC, ISOC-AR, Mais Diferenças, NCC, People Who, UNESCO, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. A new member joined during the IGF: the Indian “Centre for Internet & Society”.

Also during the IGF, ITU, in collaboration with DCAD members organized a workshop “Including Accessibility and Human Factors in the Universalization of the Internet - How to reach persons with disabilities, the 10% of the next billion”. Most of the panelists were persons with disabilities who brought varied experiences of Internet accessibility from various perspectives.

The DCAD, lead by ITU, will continue to facilitate inclusion of the needs of persons with disabilities in the global information society.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 5:03:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The paper submission deadline for the ITU-T Kaleidoscope 2009 event: Innovations for Digital Inclusion has been extended by two weeks. The new deadline is 1 February 2009.

Innovations for Digital Inclusion is the second in a series of peer-reviewed academic conferences that aims at increasing the dialogue between experts working on the standardization of information and communications technologies (ICT) and academia.

Thursday, December 18, 2008 4:12:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Charles Peter Sandbank, who was very well known to many in ITU, and was recently elected as Chairman to ITU-T’s Study Group 9 has died aged 77.

Charlie, as he was affectionately known to friends and colleagues, started his long and distinguished career with STC making radio valves and later transistors. During his time here he developed some of the first semiconductor integrated circuits to be produced in Europe. Among his early papers were proposals for the techniques now commonly used in ASICS and the principle of surface mount.

In 1964 he was appointed head of the Electron Devices Laboratory at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories and in 1968 became Manager of the STL Communications Systems Division. While at STL he was responsible for the team which pioneered the use of optical fibres for communications and in 1976 built the world’s first wide band digital optical fibre communications system (140 Mbit/s between Hitchin and Stevenage) installed in BT ducts. He edited one of the first books on the technology of optical fibre communications in which he proposed the optical amplifier as now commonly used in long haul systems.

In 1978 he joined the BBC as head of its Research Department and became BBC Deputy Director of Engineering in 1984. He made personal contributions to the BBC’s work in electronic graphics; the ‘BBC MICRO’ project; HDTV and particularly digital broadcasting. NICAM stereo sound for TV was among the activities which he initiated while he was Head of Research. He played a leading role in the establishment of the technology and world-wide standards for Digital Television (a subject on which he also edited a book). The work he initiated at the BBC contributed to the establishment of the world’s first terrestrial digital radio service in 1997 and TV service in 1998. After leaving the BBC in 1993 he became a Director of Snell and Wilcox Ltd and DTI Broadcasting Technology Adviser.

He was a founder member of the DVB project, the founding Chairman of the ETSI/EBU JTC and founding co-chair of the European Digital Cinema Forum. He was also the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Visiting Professor in the Principles of Information Systems Design at the University of Bradford.

He was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1983, was also FIET and FInstP. He received Fellowships from the RTS, BKSTS and SMPTE for contributions to broadcast engineering and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Surrey and Bradford.

In the ITU he participated actively since the late 1970s in ITU-R SG6 (previously SG10 and 11) and in ITU-T SG9 since its formation, acting as a Vice Chairman in the last two study periods before being appointed Chairman at WTSA-08 in Johannesburg. He played a major role in the drafting of the basic Digital TV Recommendation ITU-R Rec. 601, and more recently in the ITU-T network independent middleware Recommendations. He chaired the JRG1 the joint T/R Rapporteur group on middleware and was a co-chair of the joint activity of ITU-T SG9 and ITU-T SG9 on IPTV.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3:45:42 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)  #     | 
 Friday, November 21, 2008

The second meeting of the Focus Group on ICT and Climate Change will take place 25-28 November 2008, at ITU Headquarters in Geneva.

The meeting will gather global experts and continue work to finalize the four Deliverables on ICT and climate change that the Group has been mandated to prepare, notably an agreed methodology to measure the impact of ICTs on GHG emissions.

The recent WTSA-08 adopted Resolution 73 emphasising the high priority given to work on this issue in ITU-T.

This is an open meeting and registration is available online. The meeting will be paperless and is accessible via audiocast and webinar. For more information please visit the FG ICT&CC website.

Friday, November 21, 2008 2:22:03 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)  #     | 

A new Technology Watch report focuses on Standardization Activities for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

ITS are used to improve traffic flow, to increase the efficiency of freight and public transportation, and to reduce fuel consumption. Given the increasing number of road fatalities – it is estimated that some 1.2 million people die on the world’s roads each year, while as many as 50 million are injured – ITS could also become a tool to improve road safety, for instance through emergency vehicle notification systems, collision avoidance systems, driver assistance systems, and also through automatic road law enforcement.

While users will profit from new or improved services, a growing demand for ITS will create new opportunities for service providers (telematics, information, entertainment, etc.) and ITS equipment manufacturers.

The report identifies the main features of ITS including five modules: data gathering, data processing, information transfer and output, ITS communication, ITS control and management.

ITS are subject to standardization work in different standards bodies, including ITU, regional ITS societies and consortia. Standardization Activities for Intelligent Transport Systems analyzes these activities, and identifies possible future ITS related work in ITU.

Download Report

Technology Watch website

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 12:55:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 03, 2008

The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08) drew to a close yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa with decisions on a wide range of issues that will impact the future direction of the information and communication technology (ICT) industry.

ITU members, spanning the global ICT industry and administrations from across the world, asked for increased emphasis on key areas such as ICTs and climate change, the deployment of IPv6, accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, conformance and interoperability testing, and encouraging academic participation in ITU’s work.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) said in his closing speech, "We have received a strong message from our members that ITU is, and will remain the world’s pre-eminent global telecommunication and ICT standards body. And we also hear very clearly that ITU should continue on its mission to connect the world, and that bridging the standardization gap — by increasing developing country participation in our work — is an essential prerequisite to achieve this goal."

Delegates at the ten-day meeting in Johannesburg agreed on measures including a restructuring of ITU’s standards work and a revised focus that will serve to strengthen ITU’s position as the world’s premier ICT standards body. Eight new chairmen were elected bringing a fresh outlook to many of ITU’s areas of study. 768 delegates, including 13 Ministers or Vice-Ministers from 99 countries participated.

"The reorganization of the Study Groups was not a simple task," Johnson added. "It has been attempted before but this time we have established a streamlined and efficient structure, avoiding duplication and focusing on our key objectives."

A key agreement encapsulated in a Resolution adopted by the Assembly is that ITU members will work towards reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from the use of ICTs, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Resolution also recognizes that ICTs can be a major mitigating factor in efforts to moderate climate change and to limit and ultimately reduce GHG emissions across all industry sectors. It also acknowledges that ITU has committed to achieving climate neutrality within three years.

Another Resolution tasks the ITU secretariat with carrying out studies in order to introduce the use of an ITU Mark as a voluntary programme permitting suppliers to make a visible declaration that their products conform to ITU-T Recommendations.

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré said, " We have made significant strides in the development of a knowledge-based information society. This World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly, which has brought together close to 800 experts from nearly 100 countries, has laid out a road map for the future development of standards that underpin the world’s communications networks. This is a critical input for all stakeholders who join ITU in our commitment to connect the world."

The closing plenary of the Assembly saw Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Minister of Communications of South Africa switch on South Africa’s digital broadcasting signal, which will be fully implemented in time for the Football World Cup in 2010.

A full report from the Assembly will be made available via its website.

Monday, November 03, 2008 9:29:56 AM (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)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 25, 2008

A call for abstracts has been issued for ITU, ISO and IEC’s regular event focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles.

For the fourth year running The Fully Networked Car is being organized by ITU, ISO and IEC, working together as the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) under the leadership of ITU. Taking place at one of the world’s leading automotive events, the Geneva International Motor Show, the event will take place between 4 and 5 March 2009.

Presentations are sought that bring light to some of the complex questions that the ICT industry and the car industry are faced with. As was the case this year, a major topic will be ICT and climate change. Examples for other topics are standards and spectrum; car-to-x communications; nomadic devices; voice and audiovisual services; advanced driver assistance systems; wireless technologies for car production lines; safety; and security and privacy.

Authors wishing to present papers should submit a half-page abstract, including the title of the paper and the author’s full name, short biography, address, telephone and e-mail, to tsbcar@itu.int by Friday, 28 November 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008 4:42:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cybersecurity experts in ITU-T’s Study Group 17 are exploring available methodologies to mitigate denial of service (DoS) attacks and short message service (SMS) spam by determining the origin of electronic communications when this becomes necessary. The work will also better enable settlements for carrying traffic over IP networks, and provide consumer protection from cyber crimes such as stalking and child pornography.

Specifically the group is working on a new Recommendation ITU-T Trace back use case and capabilities (temporarily designated X.tb-ucc). The work is in its early stages and collecting use cases and methodologies from which technical needs will be determined.

Currently there are many ways to find out the origin of network traffic, but it is possible to “spoof” source addresses. The new work will examine the diverse R&D accomplished over the past several years in many research institutions and consider the needs for operators and users for a trusted means of determining the source of traffic.

For example, telecoms operators are keen to find trusted trace back mechanisms where phantom traffic could be costing them millions of dollars a year. SMS and VOIP (voice over IP) traffic often comes from Internet gateways, and operators may claim a right to charge the originators for delivering it. Consumers are also seeking trusted CallerID capabilities globally that constitute one form of trusted traceback.

Many companies and institutions have provided input material.

Experts anticipate that the resulting Recommendation should describe a broad array of use-cases, as well as generally support the very substantial body of existing legal, regulatory, and industry business requirements for traceback worldwide, including the protection of personal information. The implementation in individual countries is as always subject to requirements specific to national jurisdiction.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 4:18:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The final programme and input documents for ITU’s Workshop on IPv6 4-5 September have been announced.

The event will be made available as an audio webcast, click here for details.

Cisco will host a reception on 4 September from 18:30 to 20:00 and all the coffee breaks are offered by Tiscali International Network.

See also previous newslog entry.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:41:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 01, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008 9:58:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The seventh in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports covers next generation networks (NGN) and energy efficiency.

The report examines the relationship between climate change and NGN by analyzing energy efficiency and applications.

NGNs are seen by many as the new network architecture that will unify today’s fixed, mobile and broadcast networks. This innovative technology is expected to bring about greater energy efficiency than legacy networks by, for example, reducing the number of switching centres and increased temperature tolerance within those centres. NGNs are expected by some commentators to reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent compared to today’s public switched telephone network (PSTN).

This report presents an overview of the main characteristics of NGN and looks at how NGN can minimize the power consumption of the network, transmission and end-user equipment and in data centres. It examines the energy savings that can be indirectly obtained from greater NGN usage, such as remote collaboration and ITU-T standardization work on NGN and climate change.

Download the report here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:43:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T has issued a call for papers for its Kaleidoscope 2009 event - Innovations for Digital Inclusion - to be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, 31 August – 1 September 2009. The event is the second in a series of peer-reviewed academic conferences that aims at increasing the dialogue between experts working on the standardization of information and communications technologies (ICT) and academia.

The first Kaleidoscope event – Innovations in NGN - was held in Geneva, 12-13 May 2008.

Kaleidoscope 2009 is calling for original academic papers offering innovative approaches to digital inclusion. Prizes totalling USD 10k will be granted to the best papers, as judged by the organizing and programme committees. In addition a young author recognition certificate will be granted to authors presenting papers who are pursuing their studies and do not – at the time of the event - have a PhD. Accepted papers will be presented during the event, published in the proceedings and made available through IEEE Xplore. The best papers will be evaluated for potential publication in IEEE Communications Magazine.

Kaleidoscope-2009 will analyze technologies, services and applications five years and beyond that will capitalize on NGN infrastructure and promote digital inclusion. The event will cover multidisciplinary aspects, including regulatory and societal challenges as well as analysis of standardization needed.

Innovative technologies will help bring the benefits of ICTs to all segments of the population, in particular those in underserved communities and developing countries. The event seeks to promote research that supports innovation in ICTs toward universal, sustainable, ubiquitous and affordable access by all.

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact the ITU-T Kaleidoscope secretariat at kaleidoscope@itu.int.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 8:43:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 06, 2008

ITU will host a workshop to address international public policy issues on the migration to IPv6, as well as the economic aspects related to IP address allocation 4-5 September in Geneva.

With the massive deployment of Internet-related resources worldwide and the integration of IP-enabled consumer devices connected directly to the network, the issue of the depletion of IPv4 addresses is becoming pertinent. Indeed, there is wide recognition of the need for better awareness of the availability of IPv4 addresses and the deployment of IPv6.

Despite the use of network address translation (NAT) as a strategy for reducing the use of public IPv4 addresses, several experts forecast depletion in the next few years. In addition to other features, IPv6 with its 128 bit address space is aimed at addressing the current shortage of public IPv4 addresses. However the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is going at a rather slow rate, with both versions being used in parallel. Many informed observers attribute this to market forces and other economic considerations.

There is growing interest in IPv6 especially among the organizations involved in its management. ITU is organizing this workshop in order to foster dialogue and international cooperation on IPv6 related issues.

The workshop will provide a platform for dialogue where key players in the field, including all ITU sectors, as well as other interested entities will be able to discuss and address international public policy issues on the migration to IPv6, as well as the economic aspects related to IP address allocation.

The workshop is designed to stimulate discussion and interaction with the audience, rather than offer a string of presentations and speeches provided by panelists and speakers.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008 3:20:38 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)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:07:02 AM (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)  #     | 
 Friday, June 20, 2008

A new ITU-T standard unifies identification schemes used for example in multimedia mobile applications. Currently no uniform way exists to reconcile the many different ID schemes in place now, or to be defined.

The standard - Rec. ITU-T X.668 - concentrates on what it calls tag-based applications and services. This description includes RFID and bar code 'tags'. The standard allows the referencing of schemes using the object identifier (OID) system which ITU-T and ISO/IEC developed in the 1980s and widely deployed, for example, in e-commerce applications.

The introduction of this standard will not cause existing tags to become obsolete. Given deployment of the standard, a tag placed on a billboard poster can be read with a mobile phone and make it easy for the user to get additional multimedia (text, graphics, even voice or video) information about the content of the poster.

ITU-T X.668 is the first and key stage in the standardization process with the next work focussing on specifications of the system and protocol that will associate the multimedia information to an ID (a.k.a. ID resolving).

Technically, this Recommendation (also published as an equivalent ISO/IEC International Standard) specifies the information and justification to be provided when requesting an OID for identification schemes for tag-based applications and services, and the procedures for the operation of the Registration Authority (see here). It was jointly authored by experts from ITU-T Study Groups 17 (with input from SG 13 and SG 16) and ISO/IEC. The original drive for the work came from Korea's Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI).

Friday, June 20, 2008 3:52:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 16, 2008

New About Us pages have been developed to give those new to ITU-T an overview of the work of the world’s premier ICT standards organization.

The pages offer an overview of ITU-T, a guide to its framework and working methods and high level introductions to each of the Study Groups (eg Study Group 15).

Users are invited to submit questions to an already well populated FAQ and an animated sequence puts ITU standards into a real world context.

Standards development and standards approval procedures are also summarized. A news page contains YouTube highlights and a list of all ITU-T RSS feeds. The contacts page includes an embedded googlemap and should help you find the right person to talk to if you have any enquiries. If all else fails standards@itu.int will always help direct your mail.

Monday, June 16, 2008 8:45:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 13, 2008

The second ITU Symposium on ICTs and Climate Change (June 17-18 in London, UK, hosted by BT) will be made available as a live webcast in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world.

The symposium will bring together key specialists in the field, from top decision-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others. (See here for programme, bios and presentation slides).

Remote participants may also submit questions in real-time to: TSBSPD@itu.int.

Register now for free webcast access.

Friday, June 13, 2008 8:54:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 09, 2008

ITU-T NGN expert, Seungyun Lee, from the Korean Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (Korea) will make a presentation at the upcoming Telemanagement Forum’s (TMF), Service Delivery Summit. Lee’s presentation is entitled Towards a SOA/WS enabled NGN Open Service Environment - ongoing developments in ITU-T SG13.

His abstract:

“Across the telecom industry, much work is underway to separate the communications capabilities in today’s networks from the networks themselves and to make those capabilities available for integration into the applications in the IT industry. This effort is making possible a rich menu of modular building blocks that can be easily mixed and matched with building blocks from the IT industry to form wholly new kinds of multimedia services and automated business processes that marry the rich content, data applications, and business processes of the IT world with the intelligent, real-time, in-the-network functions of the telecom domain.

Key to this effort at the core of future multimedia service architectures are the SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and the WS (Web Services) frameworks. ITU-T SG13 has started the development of specifications towards the integration of SOA and WS technical approaches in the NGN context. In line with approved and ongoing ITU-T recommendations, this presentation, building over the basic concept of NGN capabilities, will introduce some key requirements and capabilities for the support of an advanced open service environment in NGN. The integration of SOA and WS in NGN will be then examined, including some achievements and current challenges for the standards community.”

The event focuses on the drive to create an open, industry owned blueprint of how new and exciting services can be created and delivered across complex value chains. It examines standardization of key elements of service delivery platforms (SDPs), which will open up the ability of partners to add end-user value by working seamlessly together to deliver novel services, created and delivered in a fraction of the time and cost it takes today, while dramatically cutting integration costs and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Monday, June 09, 2008 4:22:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 12 saw consent – first stage of the approval process - on two key new standards for IPTV.

The first ITU-T Recommendation defines user requirements for Quality of Experience (QoE) for IPTV services.

Quality of Experience (QoE) is defined thus: The overall acceptability of an application or service, as perceived subjectively by the end-user.

The new Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. G.1080) defines QoE requirements from an end user perspective, agnostic to network deployment architectures and transport protocols. They are specified as end-to-end and information is provided on how they influence network transport and application layer behaviour. QoE requirements for video, audio, text, graphics, control functions and meta-data are provided.

The second ITU-T Rec. (ITU-T Rec. G.1081) consented defines performance monitoring for IPTV. The goal of this is to provide higher QoS/QoE to customers by identifying, localizing and quantifying service and network issues. IPTV performance monitoring can be software based, hardware based, or a hybrid.

Monitoring parameters, monitoring points and monitoring methods are defined that allow the service provider/network operator to monitor the performance of the service delivery to the end user.

Successful deployment of IPTV services requires performance to be monitored at the customer premise (e.g. set-top-box), key aggregation points such as DSL Access Multiplexer (DSLAM) or cable modem termination system (CMTS) and at interconnect points between disparate network domains. Performance monitoring can help:

  • Find errors in an end-to-end system (system debugging)
  • Check the resource utilization and the work load of system components
  • Compare values (metrics) regarding performance of different system deployments
  • Provide a base for modelling the system
  • Find system bottlenecks
  • Optimize IPTV network deployment
  • Ensure that system performance does not degrade with time.

IPTV standards are progressing rapidly through ITU-T's IPTV Global Standards Initiative (GSI). With successful first generation IPTV services offered by many service providers worldwide standards are seen as vital to boost next generation services where a customer may 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. More Recommmendations are expected to be consented at the upcoming IPTV-GSI meeting 23-27 June in Geneva.

Monday, June 09, 2008 3:02:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 02, 2008

The sixth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports covers the technology and standards behind lawful interception (LI), the lawfully authorized monitoring and interception of telecommunications.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled (lawful) interception since the early days of electronic communications, but it remains a shadowy area due to the necessary secrecy that must be accorded to investigations. National laws, LI methods and standards need to be adapted to new telecommunication technologies, which continue to develop at an ever faster pace.

LI has been subject of recent discussion in different ITU-T Study Groups and there is agreement that the topic cannot be limited to its technical parameters: it involves a range of different aspects including legal, regulatory, social and political considerations, at national and international levels. Some parties view LI as a national rather than an international matter while others fear that ITU efforts might duplicate work already done elsewhere. Any discussion of LI, even from a strictly technical perspective, tends to get very quickly into a parallel discussion on human rights.

The report addresses the importance of developing international standards assuring a transparent process of interception, focusing on the sometimes conflicting goals of privacy and security.

Download Technology Watch report on Lawful Interception

Monday, June 02, 2008 4:23:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A standardized language-independent way to identify a next-of-kin (or other emergency contact) in a mobile handset's directory, in case of an emergency, has been adopted as a new clause in ITU-T Recommendation E.123.

Emergency rescue workers searching for contact information for the next-of-kin to an injured person have had no globally understood way of identifying that person's details.

The directory of the injured person's mobile handset is typically used, since it usually contains the names and numbers of next-of-kin. However, without a standard way to distinguish these contacts from all other entries in the directory it is difficult for emergency workers to identify who to call.

A system does exist but works only for readers of latin scripts. In 2005, an English ambulance paramedic, Bob Brotchie, proposed a world-wide introduction of an easy-to-find listing of phone numbers to be called "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) in the mobile phones of victims of accidents etc.

ICE spread across Europe from the mid 2000's and started to grow into North America. In a very short time ICE became a standard phrase used by safety advice agencies and emergency services all over the English-speaking world. The United Nations issued a guidance note to its entire staff making them aware of the programme.

Even though very useful, the acronym ICE is specific to the English language, and the letters ICE is of no use to people who can not recognize letters in the Latin script.

ITU believes that international standards must be useable by anyone, regardless of language or script, and has thus taken one step further by approving the standardized language-independent version of ICE using Arabic numerals (the digits 0 through 9) instead, since they are known by all users around the world.

The new clause in Recommendation E.123 proposes to store emergency contact numbers in the form "0nx", where "n" is a digit from 1 through 9 and "x" is any meaningful descriptive character string in any language or script (e.g. "Anna" or "Spouse"). In the handset's directory this would be displayed as "01Anna" or "01Spouse" enabling easy identification by the emergency services.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 8:42:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Nokia Siemens Networks, Microsoft and Cisco have contributed over USD 125,000 between them to  establish  an ITU fund to bridge the standardization gap between developed and developing countries.

ITU recently announced the fund that would be used to support forums , tutorials  and workshops, participation  of delegates from least developed countries in meetings, the hosting of meetings in developing countries, surveys and study programmes.   

Bridging the standardization gap means allowing easier participation in the standards development process which in turn allows developing countries to profit from access to new technology development and ensures that their needs are taken into account in the development of standards.

Rajiv Kapoor, Director Carrier Standards and Architectures, Cisco Systems, Cisco: “As a technology leader, Cisco is a longtime supporter of ITU activities in many fields and especially of projects aimed at bridging the digital divide. Increasing developing country participation in the standards making process is not a short term fix. It will give developing countries a voice in the development of next generation ICTs and sow the seeds of a truly equitable information society.”

Tom Robertson, General Manager for Interoperability and Standards at Microsoft: “Technical standards play a critical role in defining the technical and economic landscape around the world. All communities affected by standards should have a voice in their creation. We are strong supporters of bridging the standardization gap between developed and developing countries. The ITU fund represents important efforts being made to ensure that all countries have the opportunity to contribute to standards development. We look forward to supporting the ITU's efforts to resolve disparities and bring the potential of technology development to all communities. ”

Dirk Weiler, Vice President Standards and Fora at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile, Nokia Siemens Networks: “Technology is a way for the poor of the world to break free from poverty. We have identified participation in the standards making process as an important way to facilitate digital inclusion. The problem is that in the past developing countries have lacked the resources to access, implement and contribute to standards. This new initiative goes a long way to addressing the problem. We look forward to working with ITU on its continuing efforts to bridge the digital divide.”

Companies interested in making a contribution to the fund should contact Thierry Perewostchikow (thierry.perewostchikow[a]itu.int). The relevant Circular Letter can be found here.

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:10:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU is hosting a workshop that will examine the critical issue of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and ICT standards.

The one day workshop will be held at ITU headquarters, 1 July.

The event, aimed at intellectual property specialists and standards makers will discuss the inclusion of patented technology in standards and the patent policy approaches to address this. International experts from both the public and private sectors from around the world will help provide an overview of the issues and share their insights on present and future developments.

The exchange of ideas and experiences facilitated by this workshop will provide valuable insight and input that can help to guide future discussion of the related issues – both at the ITU and in other fora.

Press release on common patent policy.

More information and registration here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:04:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Preparatory meetings for the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08) will take place in Brazil, Ghana, Uzbekistan, Syria and Viet Nam during the months leading up to the event in October. Alongside each event a Regional Development Forum addressing the standardization gap between developed and developing countries will be held.

WTSA is the quadrennial event that defines the future direction for the ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

Regional organizations APT, ATU, Arab Group, CEPT, CITEL, RCC will host the meetings aiming to coordinate regional views on issues considered to be of particular relevance to each area, and develop common regional proposals for submission to WTSA-08.

The Regional Forums are aimed at encouraging greater understanding of, and participation in, the work of ITU-T. They will explain the status of the current hot topics under discussion in ITU-T, and how to become involved in ITU-T activities in order to champion the interests of each region in the development of international ICT standards.

For details see here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:28:47 PM (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)  #     | 
 Friday, April 18, 2008

Following an ITU-T workshop on accessibility last year at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio, a Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD) has been established by ITU-T. The DCAD will facilitate interaction between relevant bodies and ensure that information and communications technologies (ICT) accessibility and tools to facilitate it are included in the key debates around Internet governance.

DCAD aims to help build a future where all sectors of the global community have equal access to communications and online information as well as the ability to participate in IGF discussions and seminars. The initiative takes into account the fact that all communities can benefit from ICTs and improve their quality of life, a view supported by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The coalition is currently composed of eight organizations, and is open to any entity or individual working in the field. If you wish to be part of this effort please contact the Dynamic Coalition Secretariat.

Further information on ITU and ICT accessibility can be found here.

Friday, April 18, 2008 3:14:31 PM (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, April 11, 2008

The first ITU Symposium on ICTs and Climate Change (April 15-16 in Kyoto, Japan, co-organized and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) will be available as a webinar in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world.

Remote participants may also submit questions in real-time to: TSBSPD@itu.int.

To register:

  •  for Day 1, 15 April click here.
  •  for Day 2, 16 April click here.

Programme including bios and presentations (times in JST, London -8, New York -13).

System requirements

Live audio stream here.

ITU Background Paper on ICTs and Climate Change

Friday, April 11, 2008 3:26:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 10, 2008

ITU will host a tutorial on how to improve websites and meeting facilities, in order to meet the requirements for an accessible ICT infrastructure. The event will take place 22 April 0900 – 1300, at ITU headquarters in Geneva.

Accessible ICT is one of the key obligations of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Recently, a Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF) has been established by ITU-T's Study Group 2 to coordinate standardization activities in the field. See previous story on ITU’s latest work in the field of accessibility.

The tutorial is aimed at ITU staff but open to staff of similar organizations working on public policy, web content management, web development and conference organization.

The event will provide a high-level overview of the delivery of accessible content on the web, including a discussion of the problems of inaccessible web content, markup of images, online forms and PDFs, as well as the solutions for addressing these barriers. Public policy benefits will also be addressed including the benefits of the accessible web for people without disabilities. Emergence of technical standards for the accessible design of ICTs will also be covered. Practical demonstrations of remote web captioning will be conducted and free resources for checking websites for accessibility will be highlighted.

See the event's website for more information. The tutorial is free of charge, if you need assistance to obtain access to the ITU premises in order to attend please contact the JCA-AHF Secretariat at: tsbjcaahf[at]itu.int

Thursday, April 10, 2008 3:15:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 9:45:14 AM (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)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ITU together with G3ict is holding a joint Forum to review areas of challenges and opportunities for international ICT accessibility standards in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The event will take place at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, 21 April 2008. See previous story on ITU’s latest work in the field of accessibility.

The Convention has been signed by an unprecedentedly high number of UN Member States in a relatively short time – 126 since 30 March 2007. This makes it all the more urgent to promote ICT accessibility standards that will support a better and faster implementation around the world of the many dispositions of the Convention regarding ICTs.

For the first time since the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly, an international group of experts from industry, standards development organizations, NGOs representing persons with disabilities, international development institutions, governments and academia will examine in detail its many implications for ICT accessibility standards. Proceedings will be edited to serve as a reference for future accessibility standards developments.

The event will review existing and in-progress technology standards and standardization of product development methodologies; discuss the role of public policy and procurement in support of standardization and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and identify follow-up actions to facilitate its implementation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 1:53:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 19, 2008

“Increase productivity, save time and money while reducing your company’s carbon footprint”; this is the ambitious sales pitch for a new family of tools that promise to offer the 3Cs - communication, collaboration and coordination - without the requirement for physical travel. For ITU-T, whose basic mission is to encourage collaborative work among a global membership on the development and adoption of international standards, remote collaboration is a daily necessity.

A new report, the fifth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports, describes how Remote Collaboration Tools can facilitate collaboration with colleagues, and support businesses in overcoming the geographical limitations of everyday work. Remote collaboration tools can be used alongside, or integrated with, traditional office applications (such as e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets) or as an enabler of collaboration, communication and coordination. Using online meetings, collaboration that might not have occurred otherwise (as a consequence of tight schedules, long distances, or the high cost of business travel), may now take place.

For developing countries, remote collaboration tools can thus be seen as a helpful instrument in overcoming the digital divide and for “Bridging the Standardization Gap”, an ITU initiative to facilitate the participation of developing countries in the standards development process.

Furthermore, replacing long-distance travel by online meetings makes remote collaboration tools a clean, green technology, which is particularly important in the context of current global concerns over climate change. In 2007, ITU-T organized and provided logistical and secretariat support for some 85 meetings/workshops, representing a total of 339 meeting days, as well as numerous smaller informal meetings, such as rapporteur groups of steering committees. Holding even a small number of those meetings online would reduce travel and therefore have a significant impact on ITU-T’s carbon footprint.

Two upcoming ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change (April 15-16 in Kyoto, Japan, co-organized and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and 17-18 June 2008 in London, supported and hosted by BT) will be available as a webinar in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world. Provision will also be made for remote participants to submit comments and questions.

Download Technology Watch report on Remote Collaboration Tools

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 5:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The website for a new group to coordinate standardization activities on accessibility and human factors issues has gone live. The joint coordination activity on accessibility and human factors (JCA-AHF) is open to experts working in the field to improve access to the information society by people with varied capability of handling information and the controls for its presentation. Participation will be mainly by electronic means – to take part simply send a mail to tsbjcaahf@itu.int.

ITU has been active in accessibility and human factors for many years. Two of the best known standards are one relating to the designation of a “tactile identifier” - the number five on a telephone keypad - for easy identification for those with impaired sight (ITU-T Recommendation E.161) and a standard for text telephony (ITU-T Recommendation V.18). Recently accessibility guidelines have been drawn up to ensure that new standards are developed with the needs of those with disabilities taken into account (see previous newslog entry here).

JCA-AHF has organized a tutorial session on web design, web conferencing and real time web captioning to improve current ITU practices. It will be held in Geneva on 22 April. Details will follow.

For more detail on ITU-T’s work on accessibility see here.

Another ITU initiative related to the topic is the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability which has been created under the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). See here. More details will follow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5:55:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 11, 2008

When you enter a modern office building, such as ITU-T’s office in Geneva, it is quite common for the glass doors to open automatically and for lights to come on as you enter a darkened room. This “magic” is achieved by motion sensors. But entering a building in the future, you might be welcomed by name with a personal greeting and given security access suitable to your status (e.g., employee, delegate, newcomer). To do this without human intervention would require not only intelligent sensors but also perhaps ID tags and readers and interaction with a database.

In a new Technology Watch briefing report from ITU-T, the term “Ubiquitous Sensor Networks” (USN) is used to describe networks of intelligent sensor nodes that could be deployed “anywhere, anytime, by anyone and anything”. The technology has huge potential as it could generate applications in a wide range of civilian and military fields, including ensuring safety and security, environment and habitat monitoring, real-time healthcare, landmine detection and intelligent transport systems (ITS).

Sensor nodes may vary enormously in size, cost and complexity. Their characteristics are highly application-specific. Depending on the sensor type, the links between sensors may be provided by either wired or wireless communication. Energy-efficient operation is an important requirement for scenarios where sensor nodes are deployed in hazardous or inaccessible environments.

The variability of USN poses a challenge to researchers and a number of different standards development organizations (SDOs) are already engaged int this field. Within ITU-T, USN standardization is being carried out under the auspices of the Next-Generation Network Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). The new report, the fourth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports, describes the different components of USN, notes the standardization work currently going on in ITU-T, and gives an overview of the different fields of applications of USN in both, developed and developing countries.

Download Technology Watch report on Ubiquitous Sensor Networks

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 10:28:01 AM (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.”

DSC_0792small.jpg

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)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 28, 2008

ITU experts have reported a good spirit of cooperation following a meeting with counterparts from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on the topic of T-MPLS, during February’s Study Group 15 meeting in Geneva.

The Ad-Hoc Group on T-MPLS met to iron out perceived inconsistencies between MPLS developed by IETF and T-MPLS developed in ITU-T. The meeting appointed Malcolm Betts as ITU representative and Dave Ward from IETF.

A joint working team (JWT) has been created with experts from ITU-T and IETF.

Previously the IETF requested that the ITU-T either: (1) Work in cooperation to extend the IETF's MPLS technologies through the IETF Standards Process or: (2) Decide to use its own Ethertypes and maintain separation of codepoints in the future, change the name of the technology so it is not easily confused with IETF MPLS and work independently.

The JWT will allow the IETF and ITU-T to work in close collaboration on T-MPLS to understand the implications of these options and facilitate the subsequent development of solutions that ensure that the required degree of MPLS/T-MPLS compatibility, consistency, and coherence, 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.

It is expected that the group will use remote collaboration tools and make a decision on which way to progress by April 2008. See also previous newslog entry here.

MPLS is widely embraced in backbone networks as a way to speed up routers. Lately some have advocated its use further downstream in access networks, there have even been suggestions to extend this as far as customer premises. ITU’s work seeks to support this, but additionally to allow the seamless interworking between Ethernet and MPLS. This has been progressed in SG 15 through the completion of a new set of Recommendations for Transport MPLS (T-MPLS), a technology which uses a subset of the components defined in the MPLS Layer Network Architecture of Recommendation G.8110 to support packet transport applications that adhere to ITU-T layer network architecture principles. A T-MPLS layer network can operate independently of its clients and its associated control networks (i.e., multi-carrier or single carrier networks (MCN, SCN) and can carry a variety of client traffic types. This independence affords network operators the freedom necessary to design robust packet transport networks for their own use and to transport customer traffic. T-MPLS is designed to behave consistently with existing transport technologies, thus offering the operational characteristics, performance and reliability that network operators require from carrier-class technologies. The new Recommendations for this technology cover the T-MPLS layer network architecture (G.8110.1/Y.1370.1), interfaces for the T-MPLS Hierarchy (G.8112/Y.1371), and T-MPLS Equipment (G.8121/Y.1381).

Thursday, February 28, 2008 8:53:49 AM (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)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 21, 2008

ITU-T’s Study Group 16 has completed work on G.711.1 – the new scalable wideband extension of the voice codec used in the majority of fixed-line digital systems - ITU-T Recommendation G.711. G.711.1 will significantly improve voice quality in VoIP calls by offering wideband quality while keeping bitstream interoperability with the G.711 narrowband legacy codec. Wideband offers far greater audio quality by making voice sound more natural and by greatly improving both intelligibility and listening comfort. Wideband also allows service providers to offer a wider variety of services. Widely deployed this bitstream-interoperable wideband extension of narrowband codecs will allow smooth transition from narrowband (300-3400 Hz) PSTN quality telephony to high-quality wideband (50-7000Hz) telephony over IP networks as well as efficient deployment in existing infrastructures.

G.711.1 can operate either at 80 or 96 kbit/s in wideband, and at 64 or 80 kbit/s in narrowband. Furthermore, the 64 kbit/s core layer mode enables seamless interoperability with systems equipped only with G.711. Besides this backward compatibility, another key attribute is its embedded coding feature that allows dropping part of the bitstream/payload on-the-fly during a call by simple truncation of the embedded bitstream at any entity in the middle of the network such as a gateway or a signal mixer at multi-point control unit (MCU). This avoids network congestion and facilitates interoperability with G.711 legacy narrowband systems. Besides these two main advantages, G.711.1 has a very short delay and low complexity, it also supports partial mixing that drastically reduces MCU complexity and delay.

G.711's roots can be traced back as far as the 1970s, it has become truly the lingua franca of voice telephony. The new ITU-T Recommendation enriches the existing standard while ensuring backwards compatibility and interoperability.

The new standard will drive the market for wideband applications. Launched in 2006, wideband telephony over fixed-line broadband access is gaining momentum; wideband telephony over mobile will soon start following the 2008 Mobile World Congress announcement of wideband-enabled 3G phones shipping in the 3rd quarter of 2008. Wideband services are expected to be one of the driving factors in next generation networks (NGN).

Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:43:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 14, 2008

IEEE Communications Magazine has issued a call for papers: ITU-T International Standards in Information and Communications Technologies. Contributions are solicited for an issue focusing on ITU-T's role in developing global standards for ICTs.

Contributions should include but are not limited to the following areas:

Overview of the ITU-T standardization mechanisms and process: Building consensus, alternative approval process (AAP), WTSA, TSAG, Study Groups, Focus Groups, IPR policy, the role of TSB etc.

  • ITU-T Strategy
  • Bridging the standardization gap
  • Hot standardization topics in ITU-T including standards coordination aspects
  • Access technologies
  • Transport technologies
  • Advanced Multimedia System (AMS)
  • ICTs for climate change

The manuscript submission date is April 15, 2008 .

More details here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 3:57:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 08, 2008

ITU, together with Telcordia, are again collaborating to organize a multi-company interoperability demonstration featuring gigabit passive optical network (G-PON) equipment built according to the ITU-T G.984 Recommendation. Participating companies are now being finalized, with interested companies being requested to contact Rob Bond (rbond@telcordia.com), G-PON Pavilion Coordinator, by Monday February 25, 2008. Any optical access system, customer premises equipment, or G-PON device vendor with commercial products compliant with G.984 series Recommendations are eligible to participate.


The interoperability demonstration featured in the ITU G-PON (G.984) Pavilion at NXTcomm 2008 may include both traditional FTTP-focused G-PON technology, as well as emerging applications such as G-PON fed xDSL services, Enhancement band operation (G.984.5), and G-PON Reach Extender demonstrations (G.984.re). More information is contained in the ITU G-PON Pavilion fact sheet.

Friday, February 08, 2008 9:38:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 04, 2008

The quadrennial event that defines the future direction for the ITU’s Standardization Sector (ITU-T) – the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) – will take place for the first time in Africa in 2008. It will also be the first chaired by a woman (Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole, Director-General of the South African Department of Communications), and for the first time is preceded by a Global Standards Symposium (GSS). WTSA-08 will be held 21 - 30 October 2008, at the Emperors Palace, Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.

An official ‘Circular’ letter has been issued encouraging Member States and ITU-T Sector Members to participate in discussions on the future structure of the Sector: the study groups (including regional tariff groups under Study Group 3); and the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). WTSA-08 will also be unique in that the term limit for chairmanships agreed at the WTSA-2000 will apply for the first time and many of the current chairmen and vice-chairmen will retire. Although this will mean the loss of much experience, it does offer the opportunity to consider a major restructuring of the Sector. Member States and ITU-T Sector Members are therefore advised to await the outcome of the next TSAG meeting in July, when a new structure for the Sector should be clearer, before submitting candidatures for chairmen or vice-chairmen.

The Global Standards Symposium (GSS) will be held at the same venue on 20 October 2008. It will see leading figures in the telecom/ICT field, both from government and the industry, give their vision of the future, and suggest ways of increasing the involvement of developing countries in the development and implementation of standards (bridging the standardization gap). Additionally the event will examine global ICT standards challenges, such as accessibility, climate change and collaboration among standards development organisations (SDOs). Although not formally a part of the WTSA-08, the GSS will provide a report to the WTSA for information and action as appropriate, giving participants a unique opportunity to provide input to the event that decides the future direction for ITU-T.

Monday, February 04, 2008 5:09:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 01, 2008

ITU will team up with ISO and IEC for a third time in 2008 to present the Fully Networked Car. The three organisations working together under the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) banner will host the workshop and exhibition at one of the world’s leading automotive events, the Geneva International Motor Show.

Key for 2008 is the question: How can ICTs in vehicles help mitigate and monitor climate change? The Honda Racing F1 Team has kindly agreed to display, as the key feature of the exhibition, its new 2008 F1 “Earthdreams car” to give special emphasis to the environmental theme. Experts believe that more sophisticated traffic management and driver assistance systems can help reduce the environmental impact caused by motoring.

2008 will see a keynote speech from Max Mosley, president of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), organizer of the Formula One World Championship.

In general, the event, 5 - 7 March, will focus on information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles and specifically standards that will facilitate the convergence of these industries.

ICT in vehicles represents a significant value-add for consumers in terms of safety, comfort and mobility. Predictions for the size of the market run into billions of dollars and stakeholders agree that standardization is key to the development of new technologies and that coordination between the traditionally remote vehicle manufacturing and ICT industries is crucial.

The Fully Networked Car brings together experts ranging from top decision-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and analysts. The workshop programme features speakers from some of the biggest names in the ICT and automobile industries. The panel of high-level global experts that will frame the major issues and engage the audience in discussion on this important topic come from companies including: BMW, Connexis, Fiat, Ford, Freescale Semiconductor, Honda, Intel, Motorola, Oracle, SVOX, Telefonica, Telcordia, Toyota-InfoTechnology Center, T-Systems, Volvo and Wavecom.

Among other topics to be discussed are the radio spectrum used for car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications; the convergence of telematics and infotainment and systems and standards related to safety.

Friday, February 01, 2008 11:04:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In the context of ITU-T's efforts to address climate change issues, Study Group 15 will hold three tutorials on energy saving techniques during its February meeting.

A checklist for developers of standards is already under development in SG 15. The technologies considered in the list include optical transport networks and access network transport technologies such as digital subscriber line (DSL) and Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (GPON). Together these technologies represent a significant consumption of energy worldwide. The idea is that the checklist is applied before the work commences, during the work and after the completion of the work. The use of the checklist should ideally be complemented by involving energy efficiency experts and users in the process.

The tutorials to be held 13, 14 and 15 February will look at the checklist as well as topics such as energy efficient Ethernet and opportunities and techniques for power saving in DSL and PON. A general introduction to the issues surrounding ICTs and climate change, (to be addressed in two upcoming ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change), and an update on the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, December 2007, will be included.

Friday, February 01, 2008 9:27:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 28, 2008

ITU has issued a call for papers/speakers for its upcoming 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.

Monday, January 28, 2008 10:55:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 17, 2008

Reinhard Scholl, Deputy to the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau has taken a seat on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board.

Annually, in rotation, ETSI, ITU-T and W3C appoint one non-voting liaison (TLG, Technical Liaison Group) to the ICANN Board. ICANN is responsible for the global coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers. These include domain names (like .org, .museum and country codes like .UK), as well as the addresses used in a variety of Internet protocols.

At ICANN’s 30th International Public Meeting in Los Angeles, Internet pioneer Vint Cerf's term as Chairman of ICANN’s Board came to an end. He was succeeded by Peter Dengate Thrush, a New Zealand lawyer and former President of InternetNZ.

The news follows a recent announcement on collaboration towards standards for the multilingual Internet made during the Internet Governance Forum.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008 5:21:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |