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 Monday, November 19, 2007

Do you remember your last video conference? Blurry faces on tiny screens, with sound that doesn’t quite synchronize with the stilted movement of the lips. After the laborious setup of cameras and microphones, you seem to spend more time worrying about technical problems than talking about the topic at hand, with repeated loss of connection. As frustration grows, and attention wanders, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that you should have arranged a face-to-face meeting instead.

 

A new set of technologies – referred to as Telepresence – will give users the illusion of sitting on the opposite side of the remote party’s conference table. High-definition (HD) video images and audio are transmitted via packed-based Next-Generation Networks (NGN), connecting conference rooms around the world, and covering distances of thousands of miles with zero latency. While the network infrastructure remains transparent to the user, vendors equip conference rooms with high-end displays, cameras, loudspeakers and furniture to enhance the conferencing experience. Telepresence-systems are already available on the market, and involved companies go as far as identifying the technology as a potential billion dollar market, for solution vendors as well as for network service providers (NSP).

 

A new ITU-T Briefing Report on Telepresence has been released as part of the Technology Watch function, which evaluates the market potential and different fields of application of Telepresence solutions in both, developed and developing countries. The report notes the standardization work currently going on in ITU, including the consideration of migrating currently used multimedia protocols, such as H.323 and SIP into a new generation of multimedia protocols, called H.325 or Advanced Multimedia Systems (AMS), that takes into consideration special aspects of security, flexibility, QoS, and support for mobile devices. This report is the second of a new series of Technology Watch Briefing Reports looking at emerging new technologies.

Monday, November 19, 2007 11:23:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 16, 2007

Study Group 9 consented Recommendations on IPTV and advanced HDTV proposals during meetings held Oct. 29 - Nov. 2, Louisville, Colorado.

The meeting saw participation from all around the world with several delegates from developing countries including Kenya, India and Trinidad and Tobago.

Recommendation J.700 - IPTV Service Requirements and Framework for Secondary Distribution - defines service level requirements and an architectural framework for telecommunication networks to provide new services based on IPTV. It refers to "secondary distribution" which means use of a transmission channel for distribution of video/audio programs to users at large, for example by an over-the-air broadcast channel or by means of a fiber or cable network.

The Recommendation is extensive and includes requirements for network elements as well as customer premises equipment (CPE), including middleware application interfaces which consist of software libraries that provide uniform access to system services. It leverages existing deployed technologies, such as MPEG, DOCSIS, GEM (Globally Executable MHP), and IPCablecom to provide a smooth path for operators to integrate IPTV technology into their networks. While in the process of developing this Recommendation considerable liaison with other Study Groups and the IPTV Focus Group was carried out.

In addition to the IPTV work, Recommendations relating to second - and third - generation IPCablecom were consented. Equipment based on IPCablecom Recommendations, such as modems, set-top boxes, signalling equipment, interactive television application platform interfaces, digital program insertion, and others have had widespread implementation in networks in Asia, Europe, and North America.

The new Recommendations add to a suite of more than 25 which have been developed for cable and hybrid networks primarily designed for television and sound program delivery to the home.

Large screen digital imagery (LSDI) is a family of digital imagery systems that includes very large screen presentation of programmes similar to the non-digital IMAX and OMNIMAX systems. LSDI is described as an optimal approach to the presentation of high-definition television (HDTV) programmes, to a collective audience on cinema-like screens in a cinema-like environment. An earlier approved Recommendation J.600 addresses use of a broadband service or channel for transferring audio or video information to a production center where post-production processing may take place before subsequent distribution. At this meeting work towards a new Recommendation - Network Service Operator's Requirements for Real-time Transmission of exLSDI Signals under Parallel Processing Functionality - was significantly progressed. This Recommendation is related to the transport of program signals conforming to the higher levels of the LSDI expanded hierarchy as used for contribution and primary distribution. The term contribution means use of a broadband service or channel for transferring audio or video information to a production center where post-production processing may take place before subsequent distribution. Primary distribution is the use of a transmission channel for transferring audio and/or video information from a production center to one or several destination points; for example, to a broadcast transmitting center or the headend of a cable distribution network. Work on LSDI takes place with interactions between ITU-T Study Group 9, ITU-R Study Group 6, and other bodies external to the ITU.

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Friday, November 16, 2007 2:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 12, 2007

A standard that allows a warning message to be consistently disseminated simultaneously over different systems and applications has been approved as an ITU-T Recommendation.

The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v.1.1 developed by OASIS was the basis for the text that will be published as an ITU-T Recommendation following approval on 12 September. Publication as an ITU-T Recommendation (X.1303) will help ensure that CAP is deployed worldwide giving technical compatibility for users across all countries. The goal of public warning is to reduce the damage and loss of life caused by a natural or man-made hazard event.

CAP is a simple, lightweight XML-based schema that provides a general-purpose format for the exchange of emergency alerts for safety, security, fire, health, earthquake and other events over any network. CAP associates emergency event data (such as public warning statements, photographs, sensor data or URIs) with basic metadata such as time, source and level of urgency, and with geographic locations. The original V.1.1 specification was enlarged by a binary ASN.1 specification of the CAP messages that will enable the transport of CAP messages to VoIP terminals using H.323 among other systems. Experts say the use of ASN.1 significantly reduces the size of the message and therefore the potential for network congestion. OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee has also adopted the same extension.

CAP is successfully in use by a number of public emergency services and land management agencies today, and works with a wide variety of devices and messaging methods.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 9:15:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 05, 2007
"Buses equipped with wi-fi are being used to deliver web content to remote rural villages in the developing world. In rural India and parts of Rwanda, Cambodia and Paraguay, the vehicles offer web content to computers with no internet connection." United Villages is an initiative that provides communties in Asia, Africa, and Latin America with a digital access to locally-relevant products and services using a low-cost, store-and-forward "drive-by WiFi" technology. Mobile Access Points (MAPs) are installed on existing vehicles (e.g. buses and motorcycles) and automatically provide access for WiFi-enabled Kiosks along the roads. Whenever a MAP is within range of a real-time wireless Internet connection, it transfers the data from and for those Kiosks. The United Villages project also allows users to request specific information or content for a few additional rupees. The wi-fi vehicles also deliver as well as collect e-mails, and brings e-Commerce to the villagers.

Read the full article on BBC News.
More on United Villages on their website.

This article was originally published in the ITU-D CYB Newslog.
Monday, November 05, 2007 10:39:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 02, 2007

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, together with other partners, demonstrated how using information and communication technologies (ICTs) and telecommunications networks could result in considerable savings in power-grid infrastructure and electricity consumption, reported the Network World on 22 October.

The test network allowed consumers to select their usage preferences via a web portal. Smart controls-based devices such as virtual thermostats were interconnected with a service-oriented architecture (SOA) through middleware, and using broadband internet. The so-called GridWise project showed that both the power demand at the SOA electricity marketplace could be managed more evenly and customers were in better control of their energy consumption.

For more information on the project, please click here.

This article was originally published in the ITU-D CYB Newslog.

Friday, November 02, 2007 10:45:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |