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 Thursday, 26 May 2005

2nd Meeting of APSC TELEMOV
ITU Headquarters, Geneva
6 June 2005


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More on APSC

Thursday, 26 May 2005 09:11:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 20 May 2005
  • Commonwealth of Australia -  30 000 AUD
    Purpose: Recruitment of an expert to act as Technical Liaison Group representative to the ICANN Board for the year 2005
  • AULM SA - 5 500 CHF
    Purpose: Finalization of the telebiometrics database, SG 17


Friday, 20 May 2005 15:16:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 May 2005

17 May – World Telecommunication Day will see the launch of a new ITU-T communications centre - The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs.

While the e-Flash will still be published monthly, to get a real up-to-date feel of the goings-on at ITU-T check The Lighthouse’s live news feed.

The news feed, using a system called RSS is divided into channels (NGN, QoS, multimedia etc.) that can be subscribed to individually. So, for example, if you are just interested in stories on NGN, subscribe to this channel and news will be delivered to your desktop as soon as it is published.

Additionally, The Lighthouse will carry weightier feature stories and technical papers. These articles will be written by TSB staff, commissioned from or submitted by industry experts (members and non-members), academics or ITU’s regional offices. If you are interested in submitting material for this purpose please contact

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:18:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:16:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Work has been completed in Study Group 17 on the development of Recommendations that could see web services (web-based application to application communication) being adopted in areas such as mobile telephony.

Web services are a standard way for all types of software to interoperate across programming languages, platforms and operating systems. They give a structured way to format data - using XML - such that it is easier for different types of programs to communicate. An example of an area that might benefit from increased efficiency in this area would be the integration of enterprise applications in a large supply chain.

The issue that the new Recommendations address is that structured data in XML contains a lot of redundant information which slows processing down. And, because of this the adoption of web services in certain areas such as mobile telephony where constraints include bandwidth and the ability of mobile devices to process data, have been limited.

The new Recs (X.892 and X.891) solve the problem using ITU notation language ASN.1 to specify alternative and more efficient codings of structured data, both in terms of size and processing speed.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:14:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following an oversubscribed first course aimed at managers involved in standardization, IEC, ISO and ITU, the three organizations that make up the World Standards Cooperation initiative (WSC), recently staged another event.

The thirty or so people who attended the Standardization Community Management Course, 11-24 April, Geneva hailed from a wide range of backgrounds, sharing just the need to understand more of the standardization process.

With titles like 'What are international standards?', 'Why are international standards essential?' and 'How are international standards used?', plenary sessions focused on the general, with breakout sessions hosted by the individual organizations going into more detail on their working practices.

Other sessions focused on the history of standards, the importance of standardization, legal issues, the working practices of the three organizations and how standards are marketed.

Attendees were taken on a field visit to see 'standards in action' at a close-by Swisscom telephone exchange. Among highlights were a description of what part standards will play in the offering of 'triple-play' (voice, video, data) services.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:11:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A tool recently made available on the ITU-T website gives users a new way to look at ITU-T Recommendations.

The tool was developed to address a need of members to better manage the assignment of Recommendation numbers. But it also gives an excellent overview of recommendations showing in a 'tree structure' the different series and sub-series, the study groups responsible for them, recommendations that are shared by different study groups, recently withdrawn recommendations etc.

One Study Group chair said: “Having wrestled with trying to find a better way to list recommendations allocated to study groups, I am very pleased to see the substantial progress this tool represents. It is a huge step forward. I think this tool will stimulate all the study groups to review what is under their responsibility and to go about rationalizing the issues in assignments, names, groupings, etc.”

See the tool here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:07:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In between the meetings of two lead technical groups working on image and video compression, ISO/IEC's JPEG and ITU-T's Study Group 16, ITU will host a workshop on Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) at ITU headquarters, Geneva, 22 to 23 July. 
Key experts will join users to review the development, assessment and application of video and image coding and to discuss and start work on an action plan and a roadmap for VICA standardization.

Presentations will instigate discussion on how standards work in the field, including how next generation networks (NGN) can support the development of so-called ubiquitous services - any device, anytime, anywhere. Current work on home network environments will also be taken into account.

Also at the event there will be an interoperability demonstration showing various products using related standards.

All interested parties are free to attend.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:03:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T will lend its support for a second time to an event on the topic of wideband speech quality in terminals and networks held by ETSI. The last event concluded that there is a lack of speech quality specifications and adequate tools for assessment and planning of wideband speech communication systems. This is a critical issue as wideband systems are to be one of the driving factors in next generation networks (NGN).

To be held 22-23 June, Mainz, Germany, this workshop will provide an overview of developments since last year's event, including the voice quality prediction tool or e-model designed by ITU-T experts (see previous e-Flash story). Additionally the event will examine in technical detail the general aspects of terminal testing and reference points for wideband terminals, and there will be discussion on the requirements for wideband applications that are specific to wireless and VoIP scenarios.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 11:00:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A draft ITU-T definition of the term 'open standards' has been developed by ITU-T's group of experts on intellectual property rights (IPR). 
It's deemed necessary to do this to avoid confusion given the various different interpretations of the term. This way when 'open standards' are referred to in discussion, it is clear exactly what is being talked about - at least in ITU-T.

The draft definition can be seen here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 10:40:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lighthouse launched on World Telecommunication Day, 17 May 2005, offers a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T.

Offering dynamic content, news, features and FAQs, the Lighthouse will shed light on ITU-T`s activities, past, present and future.


Tuesday, 17 May 2005 09:34:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 May 2005

Supercomm, June 6-9, Chicago, USA will see ITU-T members, and guests stage an interoperability showcase for fibre to the premises (FTTP) related standards. 

On show will be passive optical network (PON) equipment built according to the ITU-T G.984 and G.983 series of Recommendations. PON technology is used in the local loop to connect residential and SME end users premises in an all-fibre network.

With PONs, signals are carried by lasers and sent to their destination without the need for active electronics. Carriers can realize significant savings with fiber sharing in the distribution network, equipment sharing in the Central Office and by eliminating the dependence on expensive active network elements. 

ITU-T Recommendations in the G.984 series detail gigabit PONs (G-PON), the latest generation of PON technology. Increasing capacity to gigabit levels should more than satisfy foreseeable customer demands, offering video applications, high-speed Internet access, multimedia and other high-bandwidth capabilities. G-PON maintains the same optical distribution network, wavelength plan and full-service network design principles of broadband PONs (B-PON) defined in ITU-T Rec G.983. As well as allowing for increased network capacity, the new standard offers more efficient IP and Ethernet handling.

17 vendors will show B-PON interoperability, products for G-PON, optical distribution network, testing and performance and video service equipment and set-top boxes.


Monday, 16 May 2005 16:36:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

March’s meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) agreed on the terms of reference for a new group to monitor academia, industry, research institutes and other SDOs to identify new subjects for study by ITU-T. 

To begin with the Technology Watch will use mainly electronic working methods to stimulate discussion, gather information and generate contributions for new work items.

One of the first topics that the group will examine are the network aspects of radio frequency identification (RFID). RFID is the much-touted system that enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. 

Grid Computing is another area that is being examined for future standardization needs. Grid computing offers a model for solving massive computational problems by making use of the unused resources of large numbers of disparate computers treated as a virtual cluster embedded in a distributed telecommunications infrastructure.

Monday, 16 May 2005 16:31:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The joint ITU-T/Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) workshop on next generation networks (NGN), 1 - 2 May, 2005, Geneva, reported in last month's e-Flash has attracted sponsorship from global networking company, Cisco Systems. 

Cisco has agreed - using ITU's voluntary contribution mechanism for donating funds beyond membership fees - to contribute to NGN activities in general, including this and a future workshop.

Jeff Spagnola, VP Worldwide Service Provider Marketing will deliver an address to the workshop outlining the Cisco vision for NGN. Ahead of the event he said: "Cisco is pleased to provide support for this important event, as well as ongoing NGN activity simply because we believe strongly in the value of standardization for NGN and the emerging definitions that will put us on the road to a truly converged ICT world. Cisco has been very active so far in NGN technology, and Cisco will continue to play a key role in this work as we move forward."

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:45:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In response to ITU-T’s growing workshop programme the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) has established a Seminar Coordination Committee (SCC). This follows a strengthening of the secretariat team dealing with these events. 

ITU-T organizes a number of workshops and seminars to progress existing work areas and explore new ones. The events cover a wide array of topics in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and attract high-ranking experts as speakers, and attendees from engineers to high-level management from all industry sectors. 

The SCC is responsible for coordinating the development of ITU-T’s annual programme of seminars and workshops and providing guidelines for the organization and evaluation of these events. Among other things SCC will ensure that the needs of developing countries are taken into account, and that each event produces a report that covers lessons learned and recommended follow-up actions. 

The group will work closely with study group management and, where relevant, involve other ITU sectors.

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:42:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host an interoperability demonstration at June's Supercomm event in Chicago, USA showing how a suite of ITU-T standards will enable data stream services like Ethernet to be effectively transported over existing SONET/SDH and ASON enabled carrier networks.

Additionally the demo will show how Ethernet can be used to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism (see press release).

The event will include testing of data plane interoperability of next generation transport network functions such as generic framing procedure (GFP), virtual concatenation (VCAT) and link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), all supporting technologies to SONET/SDH (and all defined in ITU-T G-series Recommendations).

The seven global telecommunication carriers taking part will provide test facilities, engineering staff and network connectivity.


Monday, 16 May 2005 15:35:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Underlining the spirit of cooperation in the standardization world today, Brian Carpenter, newly-elected Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Chairman participated on behalf of his organization in the March meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). 

Carpenter discussed liaison and cooperation issues between ITU-T and IETF with the TSAG group responsible for external cooperation. 

Speaking at the meeting Carpenter emphasised that he wanted to work with ITU-T to ensure fruitful cooperation while avoiding duplication of work.

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:31:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following a meeting of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Ad Hoc Group ITU-T has issued guidelines on how ‘marks’ should be used in ITU-T Recommendations. The term ‘marks’ refers to trademarks, service marks and certification marks. The document will be available here

At the same meeting the General Patent Statement and Declaration Form was updated to reflect the changes made in July (see previous e-Flash story).

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:23:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T’s strong commitment to the Asia-Pacific region was underlined at a recent meeting, the Ninth Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Standardization Program Forum (ASTAP-9), Bangkok, 29 March - 1 April. 

Visiting ITU-T representatives gave an overview of recent activities including the results and future implications of last October’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) and the last Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) meeting. TSAG Chairman, Gary Fishman also expressed gratitude for APT’s work, noting the impact of ASTAP’s contributions to ITU-T before and since the WTSA. 

Participants from some 23 Asia-Pacific countries representing industry, administrations, universities, research centres, regulators and operating companies were joined by Paolo Rosa of ITU-T’s secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), and Fishman.

In other regional news, the Arab and Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) recently celebrated Arab Standards Day, 25 March. In his message on the day Director Mr Talaat Al Dafir encouraged all workers in Arab standardization bodies and enterprises to mobilize their efforts in all fields of standardization. World Standards Day is celebrated on October 14 every year. 

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:20:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Version two of the publication that aims to help new members acquaint themselves with the working practices and practicalities of ITU-T is available. 

The updated Guide for Beginners gives details on the structure of ITU as well as some background history. But its raison d’etre is to give participants in the study programme of ITU-T a signposted plan for involvement. So there are details on rules, how study groups are made-up, how Recommendations are approved, electronic working methods, how to join and what to expect at a meeting, among many other things. 

An electronic version of the guide is available here, in English, translations into other languages will be available later in the year. A handy printed copy is available on request.

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:15:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 13 May 2005

A recent meeting of Study Group 4 saw the completion of one Focus Group’s work and the start of another’s. Both achievements are a result of the formal relationship between the standardization sector of ITU and the Telemanagement Forum (TM Forum).

The Telecommunication Management Collaboration Focus Group for Human Machine Interface (HMI) comprised of members of the TM Forum and Study Group 4 has completed its activities, inputting its work into SG4 for progression into ITU-T Recommendations. Recommendation Z.371 deals with the graphical user interfaces and information requirements for displaying telecommunications objects such as links and nodes, while Recommendation Z.372 provides patterns for the design of the HMI templates for object browsers.

As management systems and network elements have become more complex, telecommunication network operators have demanded improved and standardized HMIs. This they believe will allow them to increase quality of service and reduce response times to customers.

Following the success of this Focus Group, another on Multi-Technology Network Management has been set up in Study Group 4. This group will look to further standardize management interfaces, this time machine to machine. Specifically the group will examine the interfaces for managing transport networks and their elements, for technologies such as SONET/SDH, DWDM, ATM, Frame Relay, Ethernet and DSL.

Friday, 13 May 2005 16:13:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 4 recently consented a series of Recommendations which specify the security  requirements, services, and mechanisms for the management plane.

More specifically, the standards (the M.3016.x series of ITU-T Recommendations) support the ability to provide secure communication of management information across interfaces between network elements and management systems and also interfaces between management systems. In addition, the specifications also apply to the administration of the management systems themselves.

SG4 Chairman Dave Sidor says that this work is an important part of ITU-T's ongoing NGN activity.

The standards have been designed to allow tailoring by other management standards organizations to meet their regional, national, or specific-technology needs. This feature is supported by M.3016.4, Profile Proforma.

Recommendations in the series include:
M.3016.0 – Security for the Management Plane: Overview
M.3016.1 – Security for the Management Plane: Security Requirements
M.3016.2 – Security for the Management Plane: Security Services
M.3016.3 – Security for the Management Plane: Security Mechanisms
M.3016.4 – Security for the Management Plane: Profile Proforma

Friday, 13 May 2005 16:07:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For those who missed the recent ITU-T workshop The Fully Networked Car - a Workshop on ICT in Motor Vehicles, all sessions and conclusions are now available on the web. ITU's Internet Broadcasting Service (IBS) is hosting an audio-archive of the event, that took place during the Geneva Motor Show, 2 - 4 March.

The workshop brought together more than 100 experts from the ICT and car industries. During nine sessions, topics such as the need for consensus between the public and private sectors and business models for interlinking the car and telecom businesses were discussed. Technically oriented sessions examined topics such as telematics and diagnostics, safety, the integration of in-vehicle systems with existing and future telecommunications infrastructures, and seamless communications on the move.

Paul Najarian, Director of Telecommunication and Standards, for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) stressed the need for more standardization in the field of ICT in vehicles: “The workshop has shown that both the automotive and the telecommunication industry clearly benefit from standardization initiatives. The fully networked car can only be achieved by fostering collaborative efforts on the international level.”

A lengthier feature-story on the car-workshop will be linked to in the next e-Flash.

Friday, 13 May 2005 16:01:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), ITU-T will lend its support to a session on the advances and applications in H.264/AVC Video Coding. The session will take place during the SPIE meeting in San Diego, USA, (31 July - 4 August 2005).

H.264/AVC is the leading video codec developed jointly by the Joint Video Team of ITU-T Q.6/SG16 VCEG and ISO/IEC MPEG. It incorporates a dramatically increased compression performance that will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as High-Definition TV on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:57:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Would the pervasiveness of information technologies have been possible without standards? This is a question posed by the organizers of The 4th International Conference on Standardization and Innovation in Information Technology (SIIT), and a key theme for the event, hosted in Geneva by ITU-T, 21- 23 September.

SIIT2005 aims at bringing together standardization researchers from different disciplines, IT-practitioners, policy makers (including WTO), standards developers (ITU-T, ISO) and users (administrations, companies, etc.). In short anyone interested in exchanging insights on standardization is welcome.

Specifying and quantifying the importance of standards is a notoriously difficult task. SIIT2005 organisers are soliciting papers to help us understand, better, the importance of standards.

Unpublished papers of not more than 6000 words and that shed light on aspects, issues, and dynamics of standards and standardization are welcome, and can be submitted until 15 April. Authors of accepted contributions will be notified on 1st of June 2005.

Further details and submission guidelines can be found here. Access to the conference is free.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:52:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New versions of the two publications that detail the basic guiding principles for the work of ITU-T for the next four years are available.

Yellow Book 1 - available now - contains all the resolutions of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) held in Florianópolis, Brazil (5 - 14 October 2004). Resolutions are essentially the guiding principles by which the study groups operate. In 2004 there were new resolutions on topics including bridging the standardization gap between developing and developed countries, cybersecurity and combating spam.

Book 1 also contains ITU-T A-Series Recommendations. A-Series Recommendations detail the organization of the work of ITU-T. For example working methods for the study groups and focus groups are included, as are the communications processes between ITU-T and industry forums and consortia. Additionally Book 1 details the work topics, or Questions that study groups will work on in the period 2005-2008.

Book 2 provides a record of the discussions that took place during WTSA, with all decisions made shown in the various reports that make up a substantial part of the publication. In addition Book 2 contains a report on the activities of the previous study period including statistics, a list of participants and the list of documents made available.

Yellow books 1 and 2 can be purchased at the ITU bookshop in Geneva and online. Both books will be available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese) as soon as translation is completed.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:39:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new international standard from ITU-T looks set to help take home phoneline networking technology into the mainstream.

Home phone networking is a simple way to network devices such as computers, printers, games machines etc. in the home. It uses existing internal - telephone line - infrastructure and so is available to anyone with more than one phone in their home. Data rates up to 128 Mbps (240 Mbps with optional extensions) are achievable with the technology according to the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) upon whose specifications some of ITU-T's standards are based.

ITU-T Recommendation G.9954 is the latest in a series of ITU-T Recommendations (including G.989.1, G.989.2 and G.989.3) in the area and outlines interoperability and compatibility issues for phoneline networking transceivers. Specifically it gives enhanced physical, media access, and link layer specifications for the devices.

A number of manufacturers are already incorporating ITU-T specifications into their phoneline networking products.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:30:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T will hold a workshop on NGN together with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), 1 - 2 May, 2005, Geneva. The workshop will also serve as an important meeting point for ITU-T and IETF management.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and IETF to further coordinate their work.

Six sessions will each be co-chaired by an ITU representative and a representative from IETF. Topics will include requirements and functional architecture; nomadicity and mobility; QoS, control and signalling capabilities; network management; security capabilities and evolution.

The workshop, the second on NGN in 2005, is an example of the way in which ITU-T is seeking to engage all interested parties in work towards the development of worldwide standards for NGN. In this way, industry demands for the efficient and swift completion of the specifications that will define the way that NGNs work will be met.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:26:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |