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 Monday, October 02, 2006

Over seven hundred people voted for the most influential standards work from ITU-T in a recent poll to celebrate 50 years of CCITT/ITU-T.

The work area receiving the most votes was video coding. The task of video coding is to establish efficient formats for storing and transmitting video data. The work of ITU–T in this field was pioneered in joint projects with the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC).

Gary Sullivan Rapporteur of the group that has led video coding work: “It is a great honor to see our video coding work so highly appreciated. Much of the credit should go to my predecessors in leading the ITU-T video coding work, Sakae Okubo, Richard Schaphorst, and Karel Rijkse, and also to my Associate Rapporteur Thomas Wiegand, as well as to all our contributors and our ISO/IEC collaborators. One key technical contributor I would cite in particular is Gisle Bjøntegaard.

Besides the two video standards that were explicitly mentioned in the poll question (H.262/MPEG2-Video and H.264/AVC), there were several others of substantial importance in the standardization of that field. Specifically, that includes H.120, H.261, and H.263.

I think perhaps our edge over SS7 and other such telephony network standards in the voting was really just a matter of our work being more familiar to most people and perhaps fresher in people's minds. The work of the ITU has been at the heart of developing a reliable world-wide telephony network, and that has been hugely important to us all.”

Signalling System number 7 (SS7) received the second highest number of votes. SS7 is a common channel signalling system that separates network resource control from the resources being controlled. This fundamental shift enabled the implementation of highly efficient centralized databases for call control, especially valuable for services that may be accessed from any subscriber line (Intelligent Networks, 800/Freephone, credit card, VPN, etc.), and an integral capability on which today’s ubiquitous mobile phone systems depend. Among other service supporting capabilities, it enables monitoring the status of a line to see if it is busy or idle, alerts that indicate the arrival of a call, and the addressing system that routes calls.

John Visser, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 19: "SS7 is felt by many to be a cornerstone technology of modern telecommunications.” Visser describes the group which developed the SS7 Recommendations and who were recognized by their peers as ‘Knights of SS7’, as “…a camaraderie… who proudly display the certificates awarded to them as part of this recognition of their efforts.”

Voting results can be seen here.