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 Tuesday, October 23, 2007
ITU-T's work on specifications that will enhance communications in vehicles will expand to development of requirements and testing methodologies for wideband communications in cars.

The news reflects the increased attention being given by ITU-T to wideband audio and other codec-related quality issues, especially regarding their subjective testing, such as for superwideband and fullband.

Work has progressed over a number of meetings, since the beginning of 2007, of the Focus Group From/In/To Car Communication on draft Recommendation - P.Carhft - under development by ITU-T's Study Group 12. The Focus Group concept allows for non-members, in this case the auto industry to participate. While first concentrating on narrowband speech (3.4kHz), the group working under new banner - FitCarCom - will move into better quality - wideband (8kHz).

Participating companies include Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, DaimlerChrysler, France Telecom, Harman/Becker, Head Acoustics, Mitsubishi, Nortel and Volkswagen. The first meeting of the group is expected to be March or April, 2008.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007 10:23:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Following completion of four deliverables by The Focus Group on Identity Management, ITU-T's Study Group 17 has recommended to the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) that a Global Standards Initiative on Identity Management (IdM-GSI) is established. If the December meeting of TSAG initiates the IdM-GSI and the related Joint Coordination Activity (JCA), a meeting has already been planned for January 2008 to enter into a new phase of work on IdM based on these groups and existing ITU-T studies.

The four IdM deliverables have been transferred to relevant Study Groups via Study Group 17 and also to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 for further consideration and possible development as ITU-T Recommendations and a potential common text with ISO/IEC on entity authentication assurance. Indeed work on three new ITU-T Recommendations and the ITU-T/ISO common text standard has already begun.

The term IdM is understood as "management by providers of trusted attributes of an entity such as a subscriber, a device, or a provider." IdM promises to reduce the need for multiple user names and passwords for each online service used, while maintaining privacy of personal information. A global IdM solution will help diminish identity theft and fraud. Further, IdM is one of the key enablers for a simplified and secure interaction between customers and services such as e-commerce. A key issue for the Focus Group was to provide interoperability between existing solutions.

Herb Bertine, Chairman of Study Group 17, lead Study Group on security in ITU-T said: “We are very pleased with the productivity and efficiency of the Focus Group. We now have the building blocks to enter the important next phase where the world’s service providers can profit from international standards for IdM services. Clearly identity management is an important topic and one that industry has put significant weight behind in order to turn out standards that will provide an IdM framework for global interoperability.”

The deliverables were supplied to a meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 17. Essentially IdM-GSI will be an umbrella title for IdM work that will be distributed across all Study Groups. A joint coordination activity (JCA) will ensure that there is no duplication of work, oversee strategic/planning issues and work assignments and develop a roadmap for the development of a global ID management standards. IdM-GSI will enhance harmonization, in collaboration with other bodies, among the different approaches to IdM frameworks and capabilities worldwide.

The publicly available deliverables are:

  • Report on Identity Management Ecosystem and Lexicon
  • Report on Identity Management Use Cases and Gap Analysis 
  • Report on Requirements for Global Interoperable Identity Management 
  • Report on Identity Management Framework for Global Interoperability

The first meeting of IdM-GSI including the JCA-IdM is planned to be held during the January 2008 NGN-GSI event in Seoul, Korea.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007 3:55:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Imagine a future in which cars will be able to foresee and avoid collisions, navigate the quickest route to their destination, making use of up-to-the-minute traffic reports, identify the nearest available parking slot and minimize their carbon emissions. Indeed, imagine a future where cars can largely drive themselves, leaving their passengers to use the free time to watch the sports game on live TV.

All of these possibilities already exist within the laboratories of car manufacturers and some are already available commercially. But they rely on communications links that must be increasingly high-capacity and long range to deal with the full range of requirements of future transport users. The generic technology they use is called Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). The requirement for future standards in the ITS field is to be able to provide multiple services, over multiple different platforms, that will work in different countries (as vehicles can easily cross borders), while maintaining a simple-to-use interface that requires minimum intervention from the driver.

This, then, is the rationale behind an ongoing effort, launched by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) in 2003, under the auspices of Working Group 16 of ISO Technical Committee 204, and promoted by the more recently created industry association - The CALM Forum - to develop a new family of ITS standards with the overall branding of Continuous Air-interface, Long and Medium range (CALM).

A new ITU-T Briefing Report on CALM has been released as part of the Technology Watch function, which evaluates its potential as a new area for ITU standardization work (for instance, integrated with Next-Generation Networks) and its likely implications for developing countries. The report notes the work currently going on in ITU on ITS, including the forthcoming Fully Networked Car III workshop, to be held on 3-5 March 2008 in Geneva. It is planned that this will be the first of a series of new Briefing Reports looking at emerging new technologies.

Technology Watch report on CALM.pdf (165.36 KB)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007 3:41:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Experts from the standardization sector of ITU (ITU-T) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have agreed to recommend progression of Transport-MPLS (T-MPLS) standards work in a way that ensures compatibility, consistency, and coherence of MPLS technology when used in transport networks. The recommended approach, which recognizes and leverages ITU-T and IETF design expertise and authority, is expected to resolve concerns raised regarding usage of common Ethertypes for IETF MPLS and T-MPLS when running over an Ethernet backbone. Broader review and approval of the proposal by the two standards bodies is expected in the coming months.

The experts proposed in a joint statement that "The IETF and ITU-T will work in close collaboration on T-MPLS" and that "a joint working team of experts from the IETF and ITU-T be established to propose how to progress the various aspects of the requirements, solutions, and architecture for the T-MPLS work." The initial goal of the working team will be to examine T-MPLS work, and foster "an agreement on leadership roles and the modifications necessary to develop an architecture that it is compatible, coherent and consistent between both transport and IETF MPLS technologies."

Yoichi Maeda, Chairman of ITU-T's Study Group 15, home of the T-MPLS work said: "This type of agreement is a characteristic of the spirit of cooperation that exists between ITU-T and IETF. Both organizations understand that in order to meet the needs of industry it's imperative to quickly resolve differences and avoid duplication of work."

"Future work," the proposal states, "will be progressed by first analyzing the requirements and desired functionality." Since T-MPLS utilizes MPLS functionality extensively, the experts recommend that, "The IETF Standards Process will be used for extensions or modifications of IETF MPLS Technology." It was clearly noted that there are aspects of the problem space that lie outside the domain of expertise in the IETF or straddle both organizations, e.g., management of transport equipment, and some aspects of OAM and survivability. The working team will be tasked to help identify which of these aspects are best standardized in IETF RFCs and which in ITU-T Recommendations.

T-MPLS has been under development for three years in ITU-T with four specifications published, including an architecture document, a network-to-network interface (NNI), an equipment specification and a protection switching document. T-MPLS draws extensively on IETF MPLS, a foundation of more than 50 RFCs published by the IETF MPLS and PWE3 Working Groups over the last eight years.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:53:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 08, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 08, 2007 12:56:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 05, 2007

ITU is holding a workshop - Making accessibility a reality in emerging technologies - at the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, 13 November, 1430-1600.

ITU’s standardization arm - ITU-T - has a long history of providing standards in the field of accessibility. It started in the early 90's with the international text telephone standard, ITU-T Recommendation V.18, which ties together text telephone protocols allowing different textphone types to communicate.

ITU-T’s accessibility experts have helped to incorporate accessibility needs into standards for multimedia, network interoperability, multimedia service descriptions and multimedia conferencing.

The latest work has focused on taking accessibility needs into account in the development of all standards. For this reason an ‘Accessibility Checklist’ has been created for the makers of standards to ensure that they are taking into account the needs of those to whom accessibility to ICTs are restricted, the deaf or hard-of-hearing for example. Experts say that such a list will help to ensure that accessibility needs are taken into account at an early stage, rather than ‘retrofitted’.

An area of current intensive standardization activity is that on the next generation network (NGN). Accessibility features have been included at the first stage of standards work where requirements are defined. However it is important that these needs are taken into account as work progresses.

This workshop, organized by ITU, as part of the Internet Governance Forum brings together experts from around the world to examine how best to take into account accessibility needs in emerging technologies.

Further information here (ITU page) here (IGF page).

Friday, October 05, 2007 3:10:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

World Standards Day is celebrated each year on 14 October to pay tribute to the efforts of thousands of experts worldwide who collaborate within IEC, ISO and ITU to develop voluntary International Standards that facilitate trade, spread knowledge and disseminate technological advances.

International Standards help citizens to exercise their rights and to meet their obligations within the Global Village. This link between standards and global citizenship is the theme of this year's World Standards Day message, “Standards and the citizen: Contributing to society”. The message is signed by the leaders of the three principal international standardization organizations: Mr. Renzo Tani, President of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Mr. Håkan Murby, President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The three leaders point out that standards solve problems in all spheres of activity and give the following examples: “A world without standards would soon grind to a halt. Transport and trade would seize up. The Internet would simply not function. Hundreds of thousands of systems dependent on information and communication technologies would falter or fail — from government and banking to healthcare and air traffic control, emergency services, disaster relief and even international diplomacy.”

International Standards are ubiquitous in the modern world, making many everyday tasks easier and safer. The heads of the three standardization organizations point out that even the simple act of reading the World Standards Day message on a computer screen depends on hundreds of standards that allow the computer to function, provide access to Internet, or simplify the printing and distribution of hard copies through standardized paper sizes.

The leaders of IEC, ISO and ITU underline how much standards underpin our daily lives: "Without standards, consider how difficult — or even dangerous — it would be to carry out ordinary, daily tasks. Safety standards for machinery protect us at work and at play. At home, standards keep electrical appliances connected to the national grid and keep our refrigerators and air conditioners compliant with environmental safeguards to prevent global warming. Our audio systems, television sets and DVD players, mobile phones and WiFi all comply with standards to make them compatible with other systems. From mobile videos and music to online education, telemedicine, e-banking and satellite navigation systems for our cars and aircraft — where would we be without standards in an increasingly networked world?"

Through their work in developing standards, IEC, ISO and ITU help to open up markets, promote environmental protection, safety, security, health and access to information, and to break down barriers between rich and poor nations. Their standards also foster technological innovation, healthy commerce and fair prices.

The leaders of the three organizations conclude their message, "As we move into the future, the work of IEC, ISO and ITU will continue to facilitate the development and diffusion of new technologies that will drive the world economy, contributing to the well being of all of the world’s inhabitants."

Friday, October 05, 2007 8:59:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 04, 2007

Working Party 2/17 Meeting - Security, languages and telecommunication software

Geneva 10 - 14 December 2007

Registration Form

See TSB Collective-letter 8/17 for more information.

Study Group 17 Home

Thursday, October 04, 2007 5:04:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |