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 Friday, December 10, 2010
Live webcast: Kaleidoscope 2010 - Beyond the Internet?

ITU-T’s Kaleidoscope academic conference Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services (Pune, India, 13-15 December 2010) will be made available as a live audio and video webcast in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world.

Technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society. Kaleidoscope 2010 will bring together academia, research organizations and experts working on the standardization of telecommunications and ICTs.  (See here for programme, bios and presentation slides).

Accepted papers will be made available through the IEEE Xplore repository of academic papers. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers. Young Author Recognition certificates will also be issued.

In addition to an exhibition by local universities, keynote speakers and invited papers, ITU Kaleidoscope 2010 will host Standards Corner, a series of standardization tutorials, and Jules Verne’s Corner, a special space for science fiction writers and dreamers.

Register now for free webcast access.

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Friday, December 10, 2010 2:57:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The latest meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 5 in Geneva 23 November-1 December saw the beginning of work on two new “Questions” or work units - Setting up a low cost sustainable telecommunication infrastructure for rural communications in developing countries and Using ICTs to enable countries to adapt to climate change.

In addition and following the success of the Universal Charging Solution (Recommendation ITU-T L.1000), the meeting saw discussion on a Universal Battery solution.

Battery manufacturers, device manufacturers, operators and users will benefit, say experts but  the task will be infinitely more complicated. At this – early – stage discussions focus on feasibility; scope; questions on e-waste; safety; and innovation freedom concerns.

A revision to the Universal Charging Solution (L.1000) was also discussed. Changes under debate include a minimum current value (850mA); detachable cable (USB A to micro-USB); electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements and no load power consumption (0.15W mandatory, 0.03W optional). It is hoped that this will be consented at the next meeting SG  in April.

As well as progressing technical work the meeting saw presentations including a special guest Yuzhu You, University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Australia who talked about monitoring climate change using submarine cables – the subject of a new Technology Watch report. In a special session presentations were also made on how to make Data Centers green; recycling rare metals from ICT waste; urban mining; and the universal power adapter for ICT devices: phases 1 and 2.

The meeting saw record attendance and ran for seven instead of the normal five days. Two new standards were consented in the field of protection against electromagnetic fields (EMF) and electromagnetic emanations. The first gives guidance on the long term monitoring of EMF and the second describes a test method and guide against information leaks through unintentional electromagnetic emissions.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010 9:27:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 28, 2010
A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report highlights how submarine cables can be used as a real-time global network to monitor climate change and to provide tsunami warnings.

Future generations of cables and associated components could have the capacity to directly measure climate variables, such as water temperature, salinity and pressure on the ocean floor. All this could be achieved over long periods of time at low cost.

Despite a wide range of tools to monitor oceans, oceanographers cannot measure water variables at the sea floor. Using Submarine Communications Networks to Monitor the Climate highlights how new and old submarine telecommunication cables could fill this gap.

The report, by Yuzhu You of the Institute of Marine Science, University of Sydney, Australia invites ITU experts to study the topic further, particularly with a view to identifying areas for standardization.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010 4:18:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Malcolm Johnson, has be-come a regular contributor to the Guardian’s Low carbon ICT blog.

Two articles to date:

Time to recognise the power of ICT for environmental change

We need a level playing field to measure carbon emissions from ICT

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Sunday, November 28, 2010 4:10:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 24, 2010
An international workshop on accessibility has identified priority areas where the development of International Standards could ease the lives of the estimated 650 million people worldwide with some form of accessibility problem.

The workshop “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” was organized on 3 to 5 November 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland, by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), which is the focal point for strategic cooperation set up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A core objective of the workshop was to lay the groundwork for a road map of future initiatives on accessibility standards and related support for these standards, with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

After three days of input and discussion, the recommendations were viewed as highest priority for consideration by the WSC organizations:
  • Establish a "Strategic Advisory Group on Accessibility” between the WSC organizations
  • Develop a common accessibility policy between the WSC organizations
  • Encourage national members of the WSC organizations to actively promote the implementation of accessibility standards
  • Strengthen WSC organization linkages with the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and with disabilities organizations
  • Revise ISO/IEC Guide 71: 2001, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities, to ensure consistent concepts in the area of accessibility
  • Identify accessibility-related content in proposed new standards of the WSC organizations
The workshop – which was supported by sign language interpretation – explored how International Standards could strengthen accessibility aspects in the design of products, services, environments and facilities. Break-out groups addressed the following subjects:
  • Accessibility and everyday products
  • Accessibility and buildings
  • eAccessibility and eInclusion
The workshop was opened by Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General; Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, and  Gabriel Barta, Head of Technical Coordination, IEC Central Office, representing the IEC General Secretary.
 
Welcoming the participants, Rob Steele, highlighted the importance of identifying and understanding the areas where standards are needed and where the three organizations can work together. He said: “There are particular benefits and opportunities in using the standards process to gather representatives from a diversity of interests who may not usually meet together to discuss and resolve accessibility issues. The issue requires input from government, regulators, policy makers, industry, accessibility equipment providers, civil society NGOs, accessibility organizations, academia and researchers.
 
Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication standardization Bureau, declared: “The recent ITU Plenipotentiary Conference held in Mexico adopted the first ever Resolution on ICTs and accessibility which endorses and reinforces the actions we have initiated in recent years: facilitating the active participation of persons with disabilities in our work, for example by providing captioning and sign language, and wheel chair access etc.  All our new standards have to be checked to ensure they meet accessibility criteria. Many of the new ICT devices to assist persons with disabilities need international standards to ensure interoperability."
Gabriel Barta, Head of technical coordination, IEC Central Office, stated: "At the IEC, the need of persons with temporary or permanent disabilities are taken very seriously. We have issued at free guide that helps standards developers and manufacturers to build those needs into their work. We're delighted at the very positive outcome and the many promising directions that have been identified in the workshop, and look forward to seeing them implemented."
 
Participants in the workshop agreed that as a background to the recommendations, they wished to underline that “Accessibility” is not limited to addressing the needs of persons with disabilities, elderly people or persons with temporary impairments, but aims at the usability of a product, service, environment or facility by people with the widest range of capabilities.
 
Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, environment or facility is usable by as many people as possible, including by persons with disabilities. Its importance is underlined by the fact that the number of persons with disabilities, either congenital, acquired or as a result of age is estimated to be around 650 million worldwide. International standardization can be a powerful tool for strengthening accessibility in all the above areas by setting the same standards for use worldwide.
 
Key stakeholder groups participating in the Geneva workshop included disability organizations and consumer groups, governments and regulators, product designers, manufacturers and industry addressing accessibility needs, and standards developers from around the world. Under discussion were the current and future needs in the field of accessibility, as well as the possible contributions international standardization can make in facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.
 
Among those attending the opening plenary were: Wan Hea Lee, on behalf of Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Convention for the rights of persons with disabilities; Imed Eddine Chaker, International Disability Alliance, represented through the Arab Organization of Disabled Persons, Chairman of the Tunisian National Union of the Blind (UNAT); Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, Unit for the Integration of People with Disabilities, and Joan Durocher (USA), Executive Director, US National Council on Disability.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:38:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU-T’s Study Group 5 on environment and climate change meets this week in Geneva and has seen record levels of attendance and contributions; including 11 new countries participating for the first time.
 
The group, which recently adopted the universal mobile phone charger, is working on – among other things – a set of methodologies for ICT companies to measure their carbon footprint, and to estimate the considerable saving in global green house gas emissions that can be achieved through the use of ICTs.
 
Also on the table at that this meeting are several proposals relating to electromagnetic fields (EMF) issues. EMF was the subject of a new Resolution at the recent Plenipotentiary Conference tasking ITU to increased its work in the area. This meeting will see a new ITU-T Recommendation on “Monitoring of the EMF level”  put forward for consent (first stage approval). The proposed standard will give guidance for monitoring of EMF and provide the general public with clear and easily available data concerning EMF levels.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010 10:18:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 12, 2010
The sixth http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ict-auto/201103/index.html will take place 2-3 March 2011.

A call for abstracts has been issued with authors encouraged to submit presentations on a variety of topics including the environmental impact of electric vehicles; wireless systems and, a key focus this year, managing driver distraction.  

Texting, making calls, and other interaction with in-vehicle information and communication systems while driving is a serious source of driver distraction and increases the risk of traffic accidents. Standards and design guidelines for these systems and devices, whether portable or fixed in the vehicle, can contribute to decreasing driver distraction, allowing the driver to focus on the road ahead.

Held during the Geneva International Motor Show, The Fully Networked Car is in a unique position to engage the ICT sector with the motor industry. For the sixth year running, the event will bring together key players involved in the development of technologies and standards, as well as other major industry representatives.

International standards organizations, ITU, ISO and IEC host the event bringing together key players involved in the development of technologies and standards, as well as other major industry representatives.

Today’s communications capabilities give the potential for cars to foresee and avoid collisions, navigate the quickest route to their destination, make use of up-to-the-minute traffic reports, identify the nearest available parking slot, minimize their carbon emissions and provide multimedia communications.

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Friday, November 12, 2010 11:30:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 11, 2010
A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report provides an overview of the innovative role that information and communication technologies (ICT) play in smart water management. The report also surveys current and forthcoming standardisation work in the field of smart water management.

Economic growth, seasonal climatic conditions and rising population are all affecting availability of water resources. Moreover, a number of effects linked to climate change, such as lengthy droughts and extreme weather events, are worsening the situation. Water shortages are at the core of many of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one of which is to reduce by half the number of people without safe access to water by 2015. According to the UN World Water Development Report, by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of freshwater.

Technologies such as semantic sensor web, remote sensing with satellite and geographical information systems can be used innovatively by water authorities to obtain information in real time about water use, to track and forecast the level of rivers and to identify new sources of fresh water. With the impact of climate change, sole reliance on historical hydrologic weather patterns is no longer a viable forecast for water authorities. The availability of information about current conditions in a particular situation on a timely basis is crucial for decision making in water resource management. For instance, flood water management is a dynamic process, changing daily, weekly or monthly, depending on weather conditions and how ecosystems respond to climate variability.
 
ICT provides a unique opportunity for water stakeholders to obtain information in near real time about a number of physical and environmental variables such as temperature, soil moisture levels, rainfall, and others through web enabled sensors and communication networks, and can thus have accurate information about the situation at hand (without physically being there) for their forecasts and decisions. Smart metering technologies can also provide individuals, businesses and water companies with near real-time information about their own water use, thus raising awareness about usage, locating leakages and having better control over water demand.

The Report can be downloaded from a dedicated website which provides additional sources of information and an overview of ITU-T Study Groups with standardisation work related to water.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010 10:30:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A group of twenty-three leaders from the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and senior management of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) met for the second annual meeting of Chief Technology Officers (CTO) in Paris. They agreed on a set of recommendations to modernize the current ICT standardization landscape and set priorities for new issues in standards work.

The CTOs reaffirmed that standardization is one of the essential building blocks of the Information Society and of the global ICT networks that power trade, commerce, sustainable development, healthcare, education, literacy, and entertainment. Today, standards are not only the technical blueprints necessary for interoperability and connectivity within global information infrastructures. They are also tools with significant public policy and economic consequences.

Faced with an ever-growing number of standards bodies and consortia, the CTOs called for immediate steps to streamline and modernize the standards landscape and endorsed the need for a new approach, based on collaboration, cooperation and coordination, to improve the efficiency of standards work, reduce duplicating and conflicting standards and promote a seamless, interoperable future global communications network. As a result of the review, the CTOs initially identified, in addition to ITU, a number of regional and national standards bodies that are key standardization organizations. It was recognized that additional work is needed to further develop the concept into multi-dimensional ecosystems for different markets and technologies, pre- and post-standardization, and appropriate links and cooperation among the different bodies, given the technological convergence that is taking place.

Full press release


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Tuesday, November 09, 2010 9:28:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 18, 2010

ITU will hold the Fifth Symposium on ICTs and the Environment & Climate Change in Cairo, Egypt on 2-3 November 2010. The Symposium will be hosted by the Ministry of communications and Information Technology (MCIT) Egypt, and the Ministry of state for Environmental Affairs (MSEA) Egypt.

The event is particularly timely, as it will take place less than a month before the opening of the 16th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 16) which will take place in November 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. COP 16 will focus on adopting an achievable balanced outcome on climate change.

The Fifth Symposium on ICTs and the Environment & Climate Change will focus on the issue of ICTs, the environment and climate change in Africa and the needs of developing countries. Topics to be discussed will include adaptation to climate change, e-waste, cost-effective ICT technologies, methodology of environmental impact assessment of ICT and financing of climate change solutions. It will bring together leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others. The main purpose is to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities of using ICTs to monitor climate change, to mitigate and address its effects. The conclusions of this event will contribute towards ITU’s future work in this area.

A draft programme is available at: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/climatechange/201011/programme.html

Online registration is available at: http://www.itu.int/cgi-bin/htsh/edrs/ITU-T/workshop/edrs.registration.form?_eventid=3000188

More about the Symposium can be found at: www.itu.int/ITU-T/go/egypt

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Monday, October 18, 2010 10:27:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 08, 2010

An ITU tutorial on Standardization will follow this year's Kaleidoscope event − Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services − Pune, India, 13 – 15 December 2010.

The event will be held at the same venue on 16 December 2010.

The tutorial will cover information on how standardization works as well as a simulation of a standards-setting meeting. Participants from academia and industry will gain practical and theoretical knowledge on international standardization. In interactive role plays, participants will learn the art of reaching consensus. More information on the tutorial is available at the Kaleidoscope web page (http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/uni/kaleidoscope/2010/tutorial.html).

The aim of Kaleidoscope conferences is to identify information and communication technologies (ICTs) for which the development of standards can turn innovations into successful products and services, but it is also an opportunity to share knowledge on international standardization processes, which becomes more and more important with the rapid evolution of ICTs.

During the Kaleidoscope conference two special sessions will also take place: Jules Verne’s Corner and Standards Corner. Further information on these special sessions will shortly be available at the Kaleidoscope web page: www.itu-kaleidoscope.org/2010

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Friday, October 08, 2010 12:04:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 14, 2010
ITU and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) are organizing an event - Green ICT for a sustainable future - which will take place on 24 September 2010 from 15.00 to 17.30 hours in New York, USA, during Climate Week NYC.

The transition to a ‘green’ economy poses many challenges, but also opens significant opportunities for economic development in developed and developing countries. Through innovation in low-carbon technologies, countries can capture economic value ‘at home’ through entrepreneurship, job creation and new venture development.

This workshop will present a series of case studies (Home energy monitoring kit; HVAC automation system; Eco-driving software solution; Telecommuting; E-health delivery system; Telepresence system) and will also discuss:

  • How “green ICT” initiatives and applications, such as smart grids, cloud computing, videoconferencing, e-government and dematerialization of content, can play a major role in reducing CO2 emissions, and ensuring sustainable development and green growth;

  • How to measure the impact of "green ICT" on climate change and how to standardize a methodology to calculate the impact of ICTs on GHG emissions;

  • How a standardized methodology, and other initiatives, might assist countries to obtain and make best use of ICTs to address climate change;

  • How the ICT industry can promote awareness and implementation of "green ICT".

More info at: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/climatechange/201009/index.html

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:18:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 01, 2010
The next Meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) will be held on 16 September from 16.30 to 18.30 hours, in Vilnius, Lithuania during the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).  

ITU launched the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) in 2007 as an open body committed to moderating the environmental impact of the Internet, to seeking new ways to embrace the power of the Internet for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and to enabling transformation in line with the objectives set and to be set under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Additional information on DCICC can be found at:
http://www.itu.int/themes/climate/dc/index.html
And the IGF:
http://www.igf2010.lt/index.php/en/welcome/index

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010 3:27:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU is organizing its Fifth Symposium on ICTs, The Environment and Climate Change, in cooperation with and under the auspices of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs (MSEA), Egypt.

The Symposium will be held 2-3 November 2010 at the Smart Village Convention Center in Cairo, Egypt. It will bring together leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others.

Participants will focus on the issue of ICTs, the environment and climate change in Africa and the needs of developing countries.

The main purpose is to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities for using ICTs to monitor climate change, to mitigate and adapt to its effects and, in this light, to identify future requirements for ITU’s related work.

Topics to be discussed will include adaptation to climate change, e-waste, cost-effective ICT technologies, methodology of environmental impact assessment of ICT and financing of climate change solutions.

An output of the Symposium is expected to be the “Cairo Road Map”, a set of recommendations for action in relation to ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change.

This event is particularly timely, as it will take place less than a month before the opening of the 16th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 16), which will take place in November 2010 in Cancun, Mexico and will aim at producing a new global agreement on climate change.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/climatechange/201011/index.html

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010 3:25:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report provides an overview of technology-caused driver distraction and surveys standards, guidelines and initiatives aiming at making the use of in-vehicle information and communication systems less distracting.

Texting, making calls, and other interaction with in-vehicle information and communication systems while driving is a serious source of driver distraction and increases the risk of traffic accidents. Technology-caused driver distraction is a global problem and has its stake in the more than 1.2 million people dying in road crashes each year. These numbers are more than reason enough for the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration to launch a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) to halt or reverse the increasing trend in road traffic deaths and injuries around the world.

In April 2010, ITU Council adopted a Resolution on “ITU’s role in ICTs and improving Road Safety,” instructing the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) to bring this matter to the attention of the relevant groups in ITU-T, such as Study Group 12 and the Focus Group on Car Communication. The annual Fully Networked Car workshop, jointly organized by ISO, IEC and ITU at the Geneva International Motor Show, will also contribute to raising awareness on this important issue.

Dialing a hand-held device increases a driver’s chance of being involved in a vehicle crash by three times and talking while driving increases the crash risk by 1.3 times. When composing or reading text messages (SMS) drivers spend up to 400 per cent more time with their eyes off the road than they do when not texting. Mobile broadband enables drivers and passengers to benefit from innovative applications and location-based services, but used at the wheel, smartphones contribute to inattention.

By implementing standardized human-machine interfaces in their devices and applications, manufacturers can make their use less distracting. Advanced speech recognition and text-to-speech features, and ensured Quality of Service of in-vehicle hands-free systems may minimize driver distraction. Future safety technologies may temporarily or permanently disable certain features of information and communication technologies used by the driver, based on constantly updated status information provided by sensors inside and outside the vehicle.

These and other approaches to reduce technology-based driver distraction and to increase road safety are discussed in a number of standardization bodies, including ITU-T and ISO. The Technology Watch Report highlights their work and points out options for ITU’s role in ICT and road safety.

A dedicated website provides additional sources of information and an overview of ITU-T Study Groups with work items related to driver distraction.
Download Report                   Go to Driver Distraction Website

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010 8:23:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 10, 2010
ITU will be organizing a Tutorial on Optical Fibre Cables and Systems Recommendations in Rwanda from 6 to 17 September 2010. Leading experts will provide an in-depth insight into the ITU-T Recommendations that shape the optical transport networks of the world.
 
The tutorial is co-organized by ITU-T and the Ministry in Charge of Information and Communications Technology of Rwanda, in cooperation with ITU-D. Based on the ITU-T handbook “Optical fibres, cables and systems”, the tutorial is intended to assist engineers, technicians, technologists, mid-level management and regulators in the implementation of optical-fibre-based systems.   
 
Participants will gain a better understanding of the ITU-T standards, how to design and implement projects and how to make the best choices in the various elements of an optical link. They will learn how to prepare a power budget and how to establish parameters for interfaces and accessories to prepare technical specifications for supply contracts. The tutors are leading experts in the field from industry and either participated in the writing of the handbook or contributed to the development of the referenced standards. (Contact: mailto: tsbworkshops@itu.int) more.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010 10:17:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 09, 2010
Telepresence is broadly speaking next generation videoconferencing that also takes into account users' position, actions and voice to render as close as possible a representation of a real life meeting.

Many products exist today that, although they are based on established protocols including ITU-T H.323, lack interoperability due to proprietary extensions.

Telepresence represents an important evolution of the videoconferencing market. Standards fuelled interoperability between systems is seen as a key way to drive the market. The trend is expected to accelerate, as mainstream video applications begin to offer telepresence features.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: "We don't expect each end of a phone call to be dependent on the manufacturer of the phone being the same. The same should be true for telepresence. Anyone who has used a telepresence system will testify to its remarkable quality, it truly is the next best thing to a face to face meeting. However proprietary solutions have stifled the market. ITU's standards initiative will allow us all to profit from this remarkable technology."

Specifically the new work will focus on standardizing full interoperability between telepresence systems, including facilitating the coherent presentation of multiple audio and video streams so that participants show correct eye contact, gestures etc, to give a more real life like experience.

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Monday, August 09, 2010 10:22:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Difficulty trying to access products, services, environments and facilities is an issue for any of us – let alone the millions of people around the world living with disabilities. To this end, an international  workshop will be held on 3 and 4 November 2010 to review and examine the standards needed for facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.

The workshop is the latest initiative organized by the three partner organizations of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC): IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), which are also raising awareness of accessibility in this year's World Standards Day, celebrated each year on 14 October.

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, environment or facility is usable by as many people as possible, including by persons with disabilities. Its importance is signified by the fact that the number of persons with disabilities, either congenital, acquired or as a result of age is estimated to be at around 650 million worldwide.

The WSC workshop on “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” will bring together key stakeholder groups from all over the world representing disability organizations, government and regulators, standards developers, consumers, as well as product designers and manufacturers faced with accessibility requirements.  It will address three key subject areas:

•    Accessibility in the field of everyday products
•    Accessibility and buildings
•    eAccessibility and eInclusion (in Information and Communication Technologies)

In a combination of plenary and break-out group meetings, these three subject areas will be discussed and the potential of standardization – in particular international standardization – to contribute to strengthening accessibility aspects in the design of products, services, environments and facilities will be addressed.

The results of the conference will result in a better understanding of both the work on accessibility issues in standardization in the various areas and the needs of those most concerned. It is hoped that the groundwork will be laid and a road map drawn for future standardization initiatives and awareness creation initiatives with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

For further information, including the full programme and registration form for the workshop, please refer to http://www.iso.org/sites/WSC_Accessibility_2010/.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 8:58:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Geneva, 26 July 2010 - Industry sent out a strong message of support for ITU standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) at an event held at ITU headquarters last week. Gathered in Geneva for the first of a new series of ‘ITU Interop’ events, IPTV manufacturers took part in a set of tests to demonstrate seamless global interoperability between their various IPTV devices, which have been manufactured to comply with ITU-developed standards, known as Recommendations.

ITU has been busy pioneering a raft of new standards for the technology, which is set to transform global viewing habits in coming years. Experts agreed that stable global standards will be key to take-up of IPTV, avoiding costly and confusing ‘format wars’ and reduced choice for consumers.

IPTV will deliver all the advantages of traditional ‘linear’ TV in terms of service quality, combined with the many advantages the Internet offers in terms of choice and interactivity. It should not be confused with web streaming, because images are not delivered over the Internet, but rather to homes through a ‘managed network’. That means TV programmes do not have to vie with other traffic on an increasingly busy World Wide Web, which could negatively impact the viewing experience.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Proprietary solutions may offer fast deployment in the short term, but in the medium and longer term buyers will be subject to vendor lock-in, with the risk of costly upgrades and reduced content and hardware choice. Industry consortia-based 'standards' are mostly region-specific with little or no implementation. This event proves that ITU global standards are ready to go, and in fact are already being implemented.”

Many companies are now selling TV and set-top box products based on ITU-T’s IPTV Terminal Standard ITU-T H.721, with products already available in countries including Brazil, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, France, and elsewhere. In China and Japan, services based on ITU IPTV standards are deployed and boast several million subscribers. A test service is being conducted in Singapore, and there is interest in setting up test beds in India and Canada.

Speaking at the event, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré said: “ITU IPTV standards are the result of detailed international discussions which have included many developing countries. These talks take into account various aspects of technologies, including IPRs, maturity, stability and market adoption, leading to standards that provide for high quality and low cost. Since ITU IPTV standards are based on mature technologies, decided by consensus, interoperability is easier to achieve among different vendors.”

David Wood, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Head of New Technology: “IPTV has been around for some time but it hasn’t been the success that people hoped. The principal reason is that there have been a lot of IPTVs − which means you don’t have the benefits of a large market and the benefits of open markets and competition. What we have now is a common standard which everyone can build equipment to, and this should really make IPTV much more successful in the future.”

Further IPTV ITU Interop events are planned for Singapore, 23-24 and 27 September, and Pune, India 14-17 December 2010.

Photos are available at: www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/sets/72157624558743282/.

Video footage of the event is available at: www.eurovision.net/wf/detail.php?item=501636 (raw footage for Eurovision members) and YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dg8maOi9sY (event highlights)

ITU-T IPTV newsfeed: www.itu.int/ITU-T/newslog/CategoryView,category,IPTV.aspx

For more information please contact:

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

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

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 6:57:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard is the title of a new book detailing ITU-T’s widely adopted, and Primetime Emmy award winning H.264 video codec.

ITU-T H.264 is fundamental to a growing range of markets such as high definition broadcasting, internet video sharing, mobile video and digital surveillance.

Author - Iain E. Richardson - explains some of the details of the book in this webcast (registration necessary) - http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/21438.

The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard reflects the growing importance and implementation of H.264 video technology. Offering a detailed overview of the system, it explains the syntax, tools and features of H.264 and equips readers with practical advice on how to get the most out of the standard.

It provides:
•    Examples and illustrations to explain H.264 technology in an accessible and practical way.
•    Basic video coding concepts, video formats and visual quality.
•    Details on how to measure and optimise the performance of H.264 and how to balance bitrate, computation and video quality.
•    Analysis of recent work on scalable and multi-view versions of H.264, case studies of H.264 codecs and new technological developments such as the popular High Profile extensions.

"[This book] unravels the mysteries behind the latest H.264 standard and delves deeper into each of the operations in the codec. The reader can implement (simulate, design, evaluate, optimize) the codec with all profiles and levels. The book ends with extensions and directions (such as SVC and MVC) for further research."  Professor K. R. Rao, The University of Texas at Arlington, co-inventor of the Discrete Cosine Transform.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010 1:05:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 05, 2010
The call for papers for this year’s ITU-T Kaleidoscope conference has closed with 115 papers submitted. The review process of the papers is now underway with the 128 members of the Technical Programme Committee due to inform authors of accepted papers by 30 July.
 
65 per cent of submitted papers relate to Track 1: Technology and architecture evolution. 42 per cent come from India, with the majority of other papers submitted from Colombia, USA, Italy, Japan, Brazil and Germany. 78 per cent of the authors are from academic institutions with the remainder from the private sector.
 
The 2010 ITU-T Kaleidoscope academic conference: Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services, is the third in a series of peer reviewed academic conferences that aim at increasing the dialogue between academia, research organizations and experts working on the standardization of telecommunications and ICTs. Technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, the event will take place at the Sinhgad Technical Education Society, Narhe Campus, Pune, India, 13 – 15 December 2010. Accepted papers will be made available through the IEEE Xplore repository of academic papers. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers. Young Author Recognition certificates will also be issued.
 
Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services will highlight multidisciplinary aspects of future Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) including future services and applications as well as social and economic impacts. The focus is on innovative technologies and on examining the fundamental networking design principles of the Internet.
 
In addition to an exhibition by local universities, keynote speakers and invited papers, ITU Kaleidoscope 2010 will host Standards Corner, a series of standardization tutorials, and Jules Verne’s corner, a special space for science fiction writers and dreamers.

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Monday, July 05, 2010 3:43:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 21, 2010

ITU has agreed on updates to its widely deployed optical transport network (OTN) standards, including ITU-T G.709. The revisions provide mapping of a recently launched next generation high-rate Ethernet standard from IEEE into the OTN.

Collaboration between ITU-T Study Group 15 and the IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet Task Force ensured that these new Ethernet rates are transportable over optical transport networks.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau:  “Ethernet has evolved from the local area network of choice to become a real carrier grade solution. Co-hosted meetings and workshops, and a recognition that close collaboration was mutually beneficial, has led IEEE and ITU to agree a common mapping between the IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s standard and the ITU-T G.709 optical network standard. I have no doubt that the scalability provided by this excellent example of standards collaboration will see an acceleration in end-to-end Ethernet deployment.”

ITU-T Recommendation G.709 “Interfaces for the Optical Transport Network (OTN)” describes a means of communicating data over an optical network. It is a standardized method for transparent transport of services over optical wavelengths in dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) systems.

Operators are facing challenges with the migration from traditional SDH/SONET to IP/Ethernet based services. ITU-T G.709 OTN is a vehicle to enable convergence, and for providing a common and SONET/SDH-like operational model for network administration, performance monitoring and fault isolation, without altering the individual services.

Using OTN, multiple networks and services such as legacy SONET/SDH, Ethernet, storage protocols and video can all be combined onto a common infrastructure.

Most importantly, unlike SONET/SDH, OTN is the only transport layer in the industry that can carry a full 10/40/100 Gb/s Ethernet signal from IP/Ethernet switches and routers at full bandwidth. With the rapid migration towards IP/Ethernet-based infrastructure, OTN becomes the transport layer of choice for network operators.

Sterling Perrin, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading: “Heavy Reading network operator surveys have consistently shown strong and immediate operator demand for 100 Gigabit Ethernet, driven by the rapid increase in global IP traffic and exhaustion of existing 10 Gigabit networks. The collaboration by these two standards bodies, and the resulting standard, is exactly what the telecom industry needs to bring the next generation of Ethernet transmission to market. Heavy Reading fully expects this announcement to drive rapid market adoption.”

The amendment to ITU-T G.709 is part of a set of revisions that provide for interworking with the new Ethernet standard. Equipment functions that perform the mapping are part of revised ITU-T G.798, equipment management functions are part of revised ITU-T G.874, and the jitter characteristics of this (and other) mapping(s) are in revised ITU-T G.8251.

A paper that outlines more technical detail related to this announceent can be found below.

John D’Ambrosia, Chair, IEEE P802.3ba Task Force Director: “Developing the next generation of Ethernet required consideration of the entire eco-system in which it resides.  Communications between the IEEE and ITU-T addressed the issues that would impact the end-to-end Ethernet deployment.  This interaction led to the two bodies developing standards that complement each other in order to ensure the optimal solution for 40GbE and 100GbE.  I would like to express my gratitude to the ITU-T for its co-operative efforts with the IEEE P802.3ba Task Force.  Furthermore, I would like to congratulate the ITU-T on the completion of its G.709 specification, which is part of the optimized 40GbE and 100GbE end-to-end solution.”

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G709publicityv2.doc (32 KB)
Monday, June 21, 2010 8:56:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 15, 2010
ITU together World Standards Cooperation (WSC) partners ISO and IEC will hold its first-ever Academic Week 5-9 July 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. The event is intended to raise awareness of the importance of including standardization in programmes of higher education because of its roles in facilitating access to world markets, transferring technology and promoting good business practice and sustainable development.

A knowledge of standardization and the benefits it can bring to business, government and society as a whole is increasingly being seen as part of the essential "baggage" of future managers in both public and private sectors.

An impressive list of speakers from academia, industry and national and international standards bodies will provide insight on these matters and stimulate discussions, with a view to promote the dialogue and to foster cooperation between academic institutions and the International Standards community.

The WSC is the strategic coordination entity of the world's leading standardization organizations – the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The three partners recognize the fundamental contribution that educational institutions can make in teaching the value of international standardization, appreciate how the work of academia on the cutting edge of research and technology can benefit the development of standards and are keen to support these institutions in their efforts.

The annual workshop of the International Cooperation on Education about Standardization (ICES) – a network of individuals and organizations interested in education about standardization – will also take place during the week.

The event is being held at the International Conference Centre, Geneva, and programme comprises:
5-6 July, ICES workshop
7 July, Recognizing academic excellence
8 July, Cooperation between international standardization organizations and academic institutions (including participation by the Rector of the University of Geneva and representatives of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne)
9 July, Economic and social benefits of standards.

For further information, including full programme and registration form: www.iso.org/wscacademicweek

Follow the event on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/IECStandards
www.twitter.com/isostandards
www.twitter.com/itu_news

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 6:28:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU’s first interoperability event on IPTV will be held at ITU headquarters, Geneva, 20 to 23 July 2010. Testing will take place 20 and 21 July, with vendors showcasing interoperability to potential customers 22 and 23 July.  The event will demonstrate the state of maturity and industry adoption of ITU-T standards for IPTV, for example: H.701 (error-recovery), H.721 (IPTV terminal), H.740 (audience measurement), H.750 (metadata), H.761 (ginga-NCL), H.762 (lightweight interactive multimedia), H.770 (service discovery). Many companies - manufacturers of set top boxes, content servers and other equipment - have expressed interest in testing and showcasing their products, including from Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. To register, go to: itu.int/interop.

IPTV is a major business opportunity for telcos, content providers and existing broadcasters. ITU-T’s IPTV standards are being incorporated in product offerings from vendors and service providers around the world. The standards cover a wide range of topics including interactive services, content location, terminal specifications, metadata and QoS.  Companies from Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, France, and elsewhere have implemented ITU-T's IPTV standards and sell in the open market as TV and set top box products. In China and Japan, ITU-T IPTV is already deployed with several million subscribers. A test service is being conducted in Singapore, and there is interest in having test beds in India and Canada.

ITU-T interoperability events on IPTV seek to address issues of conformance and interoperability.  ITU’s IPTV standards – developed under ITU’s IPTV Global Standards Initiative (IPTV-GSI)  - take into account various aspects of technologies, including IPR, maturity, stability and market adoption. Since ITU-T IPTV is based on mature technologies, decided by consensus, interoperability is easy among different vendors. ITU-T standards include many new features modeled on web technologies, and thus provide the rich interactivity and usability which has become a characteristic of today's ICT service.  

Future IPTV Interop Events are planned for Singapore in September and India in December.  Future Interop events may include: Home Networking; VDSL2 and GPON (Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Network).

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 10:30:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Guidelines regarding principles that telecommunications operators may wish to consider to manage financial disputes have been approved by ITU members. A report produced by ITU and the World Bank in 2004 stated: “Disputes can be enormously destructive to the sector and effective dispute resolution is increasingly central to successful deployment of modern information infrastructure. This is particularly so where it is necessary to encourage investment and competition to reach the underserved billions of people on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Dr. Kishik Park, Chairman of the ITU-T Study Group 3 that has produced the documents said: “Successful dispute resolution is important for all countries that seek to facilitate the rapid expansion of new communications infrastructure and ICT services. It is particularly crucial for countries that have historically experienced a lack of investment and growth. Rapid and effective resolution of disputes is one of key elements in bridging the “digital divide”.”

The documents are supplements to the current ITU-T Recommendation D.170 on General Tariff Principles.

The first supplement is intended to assist telecommunication carriers in the development of efficient processes that might be used to resolve disputes in international settlements. Before a dispute can be raised, parties should have agreed to a reconciliation or dispute criteria and such criteria should preferably be specified in the signed agreement or contract. The supplement is focused on revenue and costs assurance and it mitigates any revenue and/or cost-related issues. It describes the details of the criteria which may be taken into consideration before raising and verification of any dispute, possible sources of dispute, and determination of validity of dispute or discrepancy.

The supplement also provides guidance on managing the resolution of disputes resulting from poor reference data maintenance (rate discrepancy, destination or dial code) and transactional data (recovery rate shortfall, volume discrepancy, time zones differences, calls crossing midnight and one month to the next, negative declarations, double counting, volume committed agreements, reverse charged calls, call durations, etc). It also describes a method of call data record (CDR) exchange, a comparison process and how to proceed with unresolved disputes.

The second supplement presents guidelines for process and proposition of dispute forms for international settlements. It may help to simplify and assist telecommunication carriers in proper and fast resolution of any kind of financial dispute. The exact nature of the dispute resolution should be agreed in the bilateral arrangements between the carriers concerned.

The supplement describes the whole process, details possible reasons and sources of financial disputes and advices how to investigate and handle with them. The supplement is intended to provide carriers with information regarding possible procedures and example forms for use in the dispute resolution process. These processes may help save time and human labour as well improves bilateral business relations between partners.



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Wednesday, June 09, 2010 12:51:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 31, 2010

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is inviting applications for the post of Study Group Advisor, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Standards from the ITU are at the heart of modern information and communications technologies (ICTs). For more information see: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/info.

The Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) provides essential logistical support to ITU-T’s 10 Study Groups including electronic working facilities and meeting management. It also manages promotion, workshops, membership, documents, finance, the website etc. It is the body responsible for providing cohesion to ITU-T’s standards making process.

The successful candidate should have an excellent knowledge of the ICT industry and in particular the ICT standardization landscape. Familiarity with ITU-T rules and procedures, its meeting activities and its products would be an advantage, as would previous involvement in the development of standards.

The management level (Professional level in the United Nations system) post demands that the incumbent keep abreast of ICT study and research activities in general but in particular in the area of the supported Study Group. He/she will study and understand technical contributions consulting where necessary with the contributor and ensure that published texts are of a high standard. In addition the incumbent will be called on to represent ITU at technical events, prepare technical papers and reports for presentation at ITU and other global ICT events, and develop and coordinate relations with other standards bodies.

An attractive package of salary (starting at approximately US $ 122,296.- to US $ 159,545.- (with dependents) or US $ 113,884.- to US $ 147,577.- (without dependent) plus international allowances and benefits is offered (subject to eligibility).

The closing date for applications is 27 July 2010.

A detailed vacancy notice and application form can be downloaded at  http://www.itu.int/employment/. Applications using the form must be sent to mailto: recruitment@itu.int or by post to ITU Human Resources Policies Division, Place des Nations, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland.
Applications must reach ITU by the closing date
.

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Monday, May 31, 2010 8:07:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 27, 2010
ITU will be co-organizing a one day workshop on Accessibility to ICTs at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. The event will be held on 23 July 2010 as part of i-CREATe 2010.

i-CREATe 2010’s 4th International Convention for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology is dedicated to the promotion of assistive technologies that can improve the lives of the elderly and people with disabilities and to provide a platform to address current and future development in these areas.
            
In the field of accessibility to ICTs, ITU focuses on a series of strategic issues ranging from the rights of the disabled, making technical design standards accessible and providing education and training on accessible ICT. With more than 650 million people in the world living with disabilities today the most important goal of ITU standards work on accessibility is to make sure that newly developed standards contain the necessary elements to make services and features usable for people with as broad a range of capabilities as possible.

The three main objectives of this workshop will be to discuss current trends and the future for accessibility to ICTs in ITU, encourage organizations to implement accessibility in their daily work, and highlight the impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRDP) on future standardization work. With registration open to all, we eagerly invite you to get involved. You may go online for more information and find it here.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 8:33:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 17, 2010
Assuring worldwide interoperability is critical to reaping benefits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information please contact:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information please contact:

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

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

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010 3:18:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 06, 2010
ITU-T and IEEE will hold a joint workshop - The Future of Ethernet Transport - in Geneva, 28 May 2010. The workshop is the fifth in partnership with IEEE and follows two Kaleidoscope events and two workshops in the field of access and transport technologies.

Much work has been done in both organisations to progress Ethernet, developed as an enterprise technology, into a network provider technology or service. The event will focus on opportunities for further collaboration. Long-recognized as the ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade technology. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

Ethernet services are becoming popular because they allow carriers to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. Ethernet allows users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and emerging 100Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, as a transport technology Ethernet provides reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers. And as operators look to NGN and the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet is seen as the best fit, especially given the rise of such services as IP VPNs, VLANs and dedicated Internet access.

This event will review the work areas within ITU-T and IEEE 802.1/802.3 Working Groups on the development of Ethernet and related transport standards. The relevant standards groups are ITU-T Study Group 15 (Questions 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14) on optical transport systems including protection switching and synchronization, and IEEE P802.1Qbf Task Force on protection switching, P802.1AS and P802.3bf Task Forces on Ethernet synchronization, and P802.3ba and P802.3bg Task Forces on 40/100 Gb/s Ethernet.

ITU-T and IEEE work’s work on Ethernet technology is complementary in areas such as such as ultra high speed transport, network architecture, services, operation and maintenance, protection switching and synchronization.  In general ITU-T develops requirements from a network operators’ viewpoint as well as functional level specifications, while IEEE develops detailed design specifications to allow implementation.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010 2:13:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The recent meeting of ITU’s Council saw a report from Malcolm Johnson the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on progress made in implementing work on conformity and interoperability testing as requested by Resolution 76 in 2008 (WTSA-08).

In introducing the work Johnson said: “Currently all successful standards development organizations (SDOs) dealing with standards on interoperability have, in addition to the production of paper standards, three additional components: testing specifications; conformance testing to determine compliant products; and interoperability testing amongst various manufacturers’ products implementing the standard(s).

“ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), which is the pre-eminent global telecommunication standards body dealing specifically with global interoperability currently lacks these three additional elements to develop the full range of interoperable standards.

“This prompted a plea for help from developing countries, expressed in WTSA Resolution 76, to redress this problem as an important element of assistance to them in achievement of their desired level of conformity and interoperability nationally and internationally in telecommunications.

“Successful implementation of this programme is therefore crucially important to ITU-T maintaining its status as the pre-eminent global standards development organization in the face of increasing competition from other SDOs, forums and consortia.

“Defining more interfaces where interoperability can be tested increases competition and reduces the chances of being locked in to a single product.”

Johnson went on to define various actions, starting with a pilot version of a conformity database which is under development in line with a proposal put to Council-09 and taking account of advice provided by the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) and ITU-T’s Joint Coordination Activity on Conformance and Interoperability Testing (JCA-CIT). He said that the database would only record information provided by companies on conformity of their products to ITU-T Recommendations. Companies input the data into the database themselves. Following the advice of TSAG, access to the database is password protected (TIES) during the development phase.

The second action detailed by Johnson is the establishment of a calendar of “informal” interoperability events, some in partnership with interested SDOs/forums/consortia. The first such interoperability event is to take place on 20-23 July 2010, in Geneva to test ITU-T’s standards for IPTV.

The third action, Johnson said will be the implementation of human resources capacity building events. He said that ITU-T’s secretariat, the TSB and the secretariat of ITU-D, the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) are preparing a programme of such events. Events are planned for  Quito (Ecuador) and Nairobi (Kenya). Both Bureaux, he added, looked forward to receiving advice in this regard from the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), to be held in Hyderabad, India, from 24 May to 4 June 2010.

TSB and BDT are also working together to assist in the establishment of test facilities in developing countries. Discussions with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have already begun and a pilot project has been conducted in Tanzania.

TSB has begun work on the framework of a business plan for the long term implementation of the actions and which will provide the environmental background; the pros and cons of acting on Resolution 76; a road map for the implementation of the actions; a budget; legal aspects; study group actions; and partnerships for taking the work forward.
 
Following various questions and comments from the floor Johnson emphasized that Resolution 76 addresses both conformity and interoperability. Conformity does not imply interoperability, he said, but the chances of interoperability are definitely higher if equipment has been shown to conform to a standard.

The demand for a conformity database was simple he said: people want a database on the ITU website where they can see what products had been successfully tested to ITU-T Recommendations. To ensure the credibility of the database, tests will be carried out in an accredited laboratory: first, second or third party; or be accepted by an accredited certification body. Companies will voluntarily input the data directly into the database, but the information will only be made publicly available after TSB has received a supplier’s declaration.

Johnson emphasized that TSB is committed to working in consultation with all members and in collaboration with other SDOs, forums and consortia. For example, just within the last couple of weeks TSB had visited ATIS, TIA, ITI and several Sector Members in the USA to discuss Resolution 76. TSB had also visited the Interoperability Testing Lab of the University of New Hampshire, a not-for profit organization that has a formidable reputation in the testing field and which has been invited to the ITU-T Study Group 15 meeting in June.

Johnson concluded by confirming that TSB is committed to consulting and collaborating with all ITU-T membership to ensure the successful implementation of Resolution 76. It is a long and winding road but there is no turning back, he said. The Director of BDT, Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, also expressed appreciation for the positive tone in the Council on this subject and emphasized that TSB and BDT are working closely together on this issue.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:53:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 26, 2010

The International signalling point codes (ISPCs) and signalling area/network codes (SANCs) that facilitate all telephone calls are now available to members in an online database.

Previously up-to-date information was only available to subscribers to ITU-T’s freely available Operational Bulletin.

The database provides easier access to the information and also presents it in a machine-readable form.

An ISPC is used in association with signaling system seven (SS7), and acts in a similar way to an IP address in an IP network. It is a unique address for a node to identify the destination of a message.

The action was taken following a request by ITU-T Study Group 11.

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Monday, April 26, 2010 7:52:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 22, 2010
April’s meeting of ITU-T’s cybersecurity group (SG 17) saw a presentation on progress on the six months of work on the Cybersecurity Information Exchange Framework (CYBEX).

CYBEX imports more than twenty best of breed standards for platforms developed over the past several years by government agencies and industry to enhance cybersecurity.  These platforms capture and exchange information about the security "state" of systems and devices, about vulnerabilities, about incidents such as cyber attacks, and related knowledge "heuristics." The Framework pulls these platforms together in a coherent way to provide for 1) “locking down” on-line systems to minimize vulnerabilities, 2) capturing incident information for analysis when network harmful incidents occur, and 3) facilitating evidence for enforcement action if necessary.

The presentation noted a close collaborative relationship with the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) - a global organization for coordination and cooperation among Computer Emergency Response Teams.  

A wiki-based initial compilation of discovered CIRTs and related agencies and bodies to the SG17 website at:  
http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/studygroups/com17/nfvo/index.html

See previous newslog entry for more information on CYBEX.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010 3:16:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU-T’s Study Group 17 will hold a workshop Addressing security challenges on a global scale in Geneva, 6 (afternoon)-7 December 2010.  The event will focus on how ITU and other standards developing organizations (SDOs) address the main challenges of information and communication security.

A call for abstracts with a deadline for 15 June 2010 has been issued with suggested topics including:
•    Emerging applications of PKI
•    Collaboration for ICT security standardization
•    Developing countries challenges
•    Cloud computing: Threat or opportunity
•    The cloud in the telecom space
•    Identity in the cloud
•    Smart grid security
•    Assurance, making cybersecurity measurable
•    Identity management (IdM)
•    CIRTs, sharing of information
•    Security awareness
•    IPv6 Security
•    Telebiometrics standardization
•    Meeting regulatory obligations
The workshop is also expected to provide a good opportunity to overview new areas of security studies including Smart Grid and Cloud Computing.

SG 17 aims to hold a similar workshop on annual basis from now on.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010 3:13:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The recent meeting of ITU-T’s, Study Group 17, saw record attendance with a much increased number of delegates from developing countries. The group’s work programme contains more than sixty work items on topics as diverse as identity management (IdM), IPTV security, object identifiers (OID), formal languages and cybersecurity.

Among the work areas that achieved significant progress at the April meeting were directory services, IdM, and IPTV security.

The heavily deployed directory assistance protocol Recommendation ITU-T E.115 was revised at this meeting. E.115 is used for directory assistance information exchange among service providers. E.115 also gives a description of the principles and procedures to be followed in interconnecting different national computerized directory assistance services.

A key standard (ITU-T Recommendation) on IdM was approved. The Baseline IdM Terms and Definitions is considered one of the basic texts for IdM and provides a solid basis for ensuring interoperability between various emerging IdM solutions.

Other work in the IdM field continues apace with new work items proposed on an open identity trust framework; discovery of identity management information; baseline capabilities and mechanisms of identity management for mobile applications and environment and an identity management roadmap.

Also in the field, EVCert, an important tool in the fight against spam is considered likely for first stage approval (consent/determination) at the next meeting of SG 17. EVCert is a product of the CA Browser Forum and is a digital certificate based specification combined with an array of processes and protocols for significantly enhanced organization/provider trust and related transport layer encryption. Approval as an ITU standard (ITU-T Recommendation) will push EVCert forward as the principal global specification for organization/provider trust. EVcert enables special features in web browsers or other compliant programs.

In IPTV security, work progressed in several areas including a key management framework for secure IPTV services; an algorithm selection scheme for service and content protection (SCP) descrambling and a service and content protection (SCP) interoperability scheme.
 
New work is considered in several new areas:
•    Work will start to develop a new standard outlining the basic rules necessary to build national revenue assurance protection systems. The proposal to start the work notes that last year fraud in telecommunication networks decreased revenue of telecommunication companies by 12-15 per cent.
   
•    A new work item on reducing spam in mobile networks focusing on SMS/MMS was proposed and agreed.
   
•    In the area of cloud computing work will progress in two new areas. Firstly the collection of security requirements and a proposed framework outlining the cloud based telecom environment. In addition security guidelines for cloud computing will be developed to help service providers deploy cloud computing.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010 3:06:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 29, 2010
The http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ict-auto/201003/*1 concluded in Geneva, March 4 with participants calling for better cross-sector standards collaboration in order to facilitate the rollout of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An electric future

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

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

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

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

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Monday, March 29, 2010 8:51:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 19, 2010

ITU members are being asked to comment on the formation of two new groups examining standards for smart grid and cloud computing.

The proposed Focus Group on Smart Grid and Focus Group on Cloud Computing are expected to identify standardization requirements that will then be taken forward by relevant ITU-T Study Groups.

ITU was asked by key CTOs to accelerate work in the area of smart grid and cloud at a meeting of high level industry executives in Geneva, October 2009.

Smart grid may use technologies based on current telecommunication technologies for control, metering, charging etc. It is this link and the standards needs here that is expected to be explored. In addition the idea that smart grid principles could apply to the telecommunication system itself could be a topic for discussion.

A recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled “Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds” describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

The Focus Group is expected to investigate the relevant requirements for standardization on cloud computing and suggest future study paths for ITU-T. Specifically it may identify potential impacts in standards development in other fields such as NGN, transport layer technologies, ICTs and climate change and media coding.

Comments on the draft terms of reference are invited before Wednesday 14 April 2010. They are available here.

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Friday, March 19, 2010 11:08:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 16, 2010
TSB, ITU-T’s secretariat has published an online calendar of ICT events.

The calendar is a resource for all visitors to the website and aims to track ICT events around the world which may be of interest to ITU members and others.

New events should be sent to tsbpromo@itu.int.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010 7:03:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information please contact:

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

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

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:04:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ICTs and the green city of the future is the title of an ITU Workshop that will be held during the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The theme of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is: "Better City, Better Life". The Workshop will aim at capturing visions of ICT’s role in providing for urban sustainability.

A call for abstracts has been issued and invites submissions until 15 March 2010. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers.

The Workshop will take place in the UN Pavilion dedicated to "One Earth, One UN" at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 on 14 May 2010.

ICTs and the green city of the future is an event organized within the framework of ITU Kaleidoscope activities, open to members and non members of ITU, general visitors of the Expo, students, experts and high level industry officials.

This workshop aims at increasing the dialogue between academia and experts working on the standardization of ICTs.

Submissions are encouraged by all, but especially young people, students, researchers and professors from universities and research institutions. They can cover any topic along these broad guidelines but should reflect the sessions listed in the call for abstracts.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:45:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 01, 2010

ITU together with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will host a Web Accessibility Workshop for United Nations systems and other international organizations 2 – 5 February at WIPO headquarters, Geneva.

The objective is to promote encourage webmasters within the United Nations system and other international organizations to take accessibility into account in their daily work. Specifically, it aims to promote article 9 of the recent United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which requires that measures are taken to ensure that accessibility is taken into account in the design of new information technologies and systems.

More information available at http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/2010/wipo_itu_wai/

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Monday, February 01, 2010 2:38:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Beyond the Internet? Innovations for future networks and services is the title of the third ITU-T Kaleidoscope academic conference. The event will examine whether a clean slate approach is necessary for the internet of the future.

A call for papers has been issued and invites submissions until 30 April 2010. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers. The winning papers will be featured in a future special edition of IEEE Communications Magazine, with all papers available from the IEEE Xplore online catalogue.Young Author Recognition certificates will also be issued.

Organized by ITU-T with IEEE ComSoc as Technical Co-Sponsor and supported by Cisco and Nokia Siemens Networks, Kaleidoscope 2010 will take place in Lonavala, Maharashtra, India, 13-15 December.

Thus far, the Internet has proven to be robust and flexible and its continuous evolution has seen growth from a small experiment into a giant collaborative network capable of meeting the demands of more than one billion users. The rise of mobile access and its integration with optical transport networks present new challenges. Some experts question whether the current underlying architecture is sufficiently strong to address future demands or if a “clean slate” approach is needed to develop a really innovative internet of the future.

Kaleidoscope 2010 will highlight multidisciplinary aspects: technologies enabling future ICTs for future services and applications, their standardization, as well as their social and economic impact. The focus will be on innovative technologies and contributors are invited to challenge the fundamental networking design principles of the Internet.

This year, in addition to an exhibition for local universities and the presence of outstanding keynote speakers and invited papers, ITU-T Kaleidoscope 2010 will host Standards Corner, a series of standardization tutorials and Jules Verne’s corner, a special space for science fiction writers and dreamers.

Kaleidoscope events are peer-reviewed academic conferences that aim at increasing the dialogue between experts working on the standardization of information and communications technologies (ICTs) and academia. The first Kaleidoscope event – Innovations in NGN - was held in Geneva, 12-13 May 2008, and the second one - Innovations for Digital Inclusion – was held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, 31 August – 1 September 2009.

For sponsorship opportunities please contact the ITU-T Kaleidoscope secretariat at kaleidoscope@itu.int. For additional details see the event webpage at: www.itu-kaleidoscope.org/2010.

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Monday, February 01, 2010 12:53:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 28, 2010

Leading standards bodies, ITU-T and ISO/IEC have launched a new project that seeks to better the Emmy award winning Advanced Video Codec ITU-T Rec. H.264 | ISO/IEC 14496-10.

The announcement on the new Joint Collaborative Team (JCT) accompanies finalization of a recent call for proposals on a successor to the H.264/14496-10 codec that has been widely adopted by the telecom, broadcast, and digital storage media industries.

ITU-T and ISO/IEC-MPEG are the pre-eminent standards bodies in the area of digital video compression and have collaborated in the past to produce H.264/14496-10 and the MPEG-2 Video and Systems Standards (also known as ISO/IEC 13818, and ITU-T H.262 and H.222.0).

The Video Coding JCT will consist of a group of video coding experts from ITU-T Study Group 16 (VCEG) and ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 29 / WG 11 (MPEG). The group will meet to coincide with meetings of ITU-T SG16 and/or MPEG and aims at the new standard for 2012.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010 11:20:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The ITU-T group working on home networking specifications under the G.hn banner has agreed on some specifications for smart grid products. G.hn is a next generation wired home networking standard developed by ITU-T, which supports high-speed communication over power lines, phone lines and coaxial cable.

 

The recent agreement included a ‘low complexity’ profile targeted at smart grid applications. The profile offers a minimum set of G.hn parameters and specifications that define a specific system to meet a targeted range of applications.This will allow multiple manufacturers to develop products that deliver the low power consumption, low cost, performance, reliability, and security that is required for Smart Grid and other lower bit rate applications.

 

Additionally, the low complexity profile also specifies minimum requirements for features such as signal bandwidth, data modulation methods, transmitter linearity requirements, and forward error correction, or “FEC,” while maintaining interoperability with fully-featured G.hn products.

 

Some of the smart grid products that will benefit from G.hn specification include:

  • Smart Meters
  • In-Home Displays and smart thermostats
  • Plug-in Electrical Vehicles and Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment
  • Smart household appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems
  • Energy System Interface devices

Smart grid applications that will benefit from G.hn include:

  • Utility-based Demand Response programs via broadband internet connections or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) systems
  • Remote troubleshooting to minimize cost
  • Support for realtime demand response systems that compensate users depending on their usage
  • Flexible control of appliances to reduce power consumption during peak periods


Also agreed was an Appendix to the G.hn standard that provides guidelines for using G.hn in smart grid applications and on how they work with other G.hn-connected consumer devices in the home. The Appendix provides guidance to G.hn product developers and users and describes how G.hn devices can be used as part of application layer Energy Management System software that resides above the G.hn physical layer and data link layer. Additionally, the appendix shows how G.hn smart grid devices interface to a service provider's smart grid access network via the Energy Service interface to support secure end-to-end smart grid services between the service provider and home.

 

In October, HomeGrid Forum, an independent body set up to promote G.hn announced that the standard has received approval from the National Institute Standards Technology (NIST) for use in various smart grid applications in the US. Given this announcement, HomeGrid Forum formed a smart grid initiative group, which will help to bring a range of G.hn-based devices to the smart grid market and home energy management applications.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010 4:48:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Measuring and Reducing the Standards Gap is a new report introducing the ITU-T's current research project on building standards capacity in the developing world.

 

The document authored by Dr. Laura DeNardis, Executive Director, Yale Information Society Project and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School presents country case studies that answer questions such as; is there a national standards body; is there any participation in international standards development and what level of standards education is available? Based on these case studies it recommends actionable steps for improving national standards capacity in the developing world.

 

Inequality in national standards capability continues to be a contributive factor to the persistence of the digital divide between the developed and developing worlds and to diminished opportunities for economic development and technological innovation.

 

The overarching goal of ITU’s Bridging the Standardization Gap program is to facilitate increased participation of developing countries in standardization, to ensure that developing countries experience the economic benefits of associated technological development, and to better reflect the requirements and interests of developing countries in the standards-development process. One specific objective of this project is to understand the primary gaps that must be overcome to improve the standards development, implementation, and usage capacities of developing countries.

 

Bridging the standardization gap home: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/gap/

Report

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4:59:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |