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 Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 9:45:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 28, 2008

An ITU event will bring together the best academic minds from around the world to present their future visions for next generation networks (NGN). The three best papers will be awarded from a prize fund donated by Cisco totaling $10,000.

Innovations in NGN, 12-13 May, Geneva is the first in a series of conferences under the banner ‘Kaleidoscope’ that will bring closer ties between ITU, academia and research organizations. The event, technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society attracted around 140 contributions with its initial call for papers. From this, 54 of the most visionary papers have been selected by a review panel of 140 experts from around the world for presentation at the conference. The event will also host the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ITU and IEEE Communications Society.

Innovations in NGN will highlight technologies, services and applications five years and beyond that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure and lead to the ubiquitous network society in which information can be accessed anywhere and anytime by anyone and anything. It will also cover multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of regulatory and societal challenges.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Technology is a critical determinant of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. And, education is key to the accelerated development of information and communications technologies (ICT) and contributes to the increased use of these technologies all over the world. Without the involvement of the world’s universities and other academic and research institutions we would not have reached the level of innovation that we see today. The Kaleidoscope series is an excellent innitiative to capitalize on the fruitful relationship that we already have with academia and take it to another level.”

ITU has a long history of collaboration with academia and many standards (ITU-T Recommendations) have been developed with academic input. Some leading Study Group positions are held by university professors. The Kaleidoscope initiative will encourage a new type of engagement along the lines of an academic conference. Authors whose works are selected for the event’s proceedings will gain extra academic recognition by being published online by IEEE. The standards world will profit from new ideas for possible future development.

Innovations in NGN is to inspire contributions towards a kaleidoscopic view of communication habits for the future. We know what NGN is in terms of the underlying technology, but we don’t know what services will emerge, how NGN will affect the marketplace for ICT, and how society will be affected. This, first in the series of Kaleidoscope conferences is free for anyone to attend and will shed light on some of these questions as well as inspire debate and future work on the future of ICT and ICT standardization. Please register at www.itu.int/ITU-T/uni/kaleidoscope/.

ITU-T is seeking sponsors to join Cisco, ICF and Sun Microsystems and help fund the various activities connected to the event including publication of proceedings, coffee-breaks and reception. For more details contact kaleidoscope@itu.int.

Friday, March 28, 2008 3:48:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ITU together with G3ict is holding a joint Forum to review areas of challenges and opportunities for international ICT accessibility standards in light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The event will take place at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, 21 April 2008. See previous story on ITU’s latest work in the field of accessibility.

The Convention has been signed by an unprecedentedly high number of UN Member States in a relatively short time – 126 since 30 March 2007. This makes it all the more urgent to promote ICT accessibility standards that will support a better and faster implementation around the world of the many dispositions of the Convention regarding ICTs.

For the first time since the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly, an international group of experts from industry, standards development organizations, NGOs representing persons with disabilities, international development institutions, governments and academia will examine in detail its many implications for ICT accessibility standards. Proceedings will be edited to serve as a reference for future accessibility standards developments.

The event will review existing and in-progress technology standards and standardization of product development methodologies; discuss the role of public policy and procurement in support of standardization and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and identify follow-up actions to facilitate its implementation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 1:53:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 19, 2008

“Increase productivity, save time and money while reducing your company’s carbon footprint”; this is the ambitious sales pitch for a new family of tools that promise to offer the 3Cs - communication, collaboration and coordination - without the requirement for physical travel. For ITU-T, whose basic mission is to encourage collaborative work among a global membership on the development and adoption of international standards, remote collaboration is a daily necessity.

A new report, the fifth in a series of ITU-T Technology Watch Briefing Reports, describes how Remote Collaboration Tools can facilitate collaboration with colleagues, and support businesses in overcoming the geographical limitations of everyday work. Remote collaboration tools can be used alongside, or integrated with, traditional office applications (such as e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets) or as an enabler of collaboration, communication and coordination. Using online meetings, collaboration that might not have occurred otherwise (as a consequence of tight schedules, long distances, or the high cost of business travel), may now take place.

For developing countries, remote collaboration tools can thus be seen as a helpful instrument in overcoming the digital divide and for “Bridging the Standardization Gap”, an ITU initiative to facilitate the participation of developing countries in the standards development process.

Furthermore, replacing long-distance travel by online meetings makes remote collaboration tools a clean, green technology, which is particularly important in the context of current global concerns over climate change. In 2007, ITU-T organized and provided logistical and secretariat support for some 85 meetings/workshops, representing a total of 339 meeting days, as well as numerous smaller informal meetings, such as rapporteur groups of steering committees. Holding even a small number of those meetings online would reduce travel and therefore have a significant impact on ITU-T’s carbon footprint.

Two upcoming ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change (April 15-16 in Kyoto, Japan, co-organized and hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and 17-18 June 2008 in London, supported and hosted by BT) will be available as a webinar in order that remote participants can see and hear presentations from wherever they are in the world. Provision will also be made for remote participants to submit comments and questions.

Download Technology Watch report on Remote Collaboration Tools

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 5:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The website for a new group to coordinate standardization activities on accessibility and human factors issues has gone live. The joint coordination activity on accessibility and human factors (JCA-AHF) is open to experts working in the field to improve access to the information society by people with varied capability of handling information and the controls for its presentation. Participation will be mainly by electronic means – to take part simply send a mail to tsbjcaahf@itu.int.

ITU has been active in accessibility and human factors for many years. Two of the best known standards are one relating to the designation of a “tactile identifier” - the number five on a telephone keypad - for easy identification for those with impaired sight (ITU-T Recommendation E.161) and a standard for text telephony (ITU-T Recommendation V.18). Recently accessibility guidelines have been drawn up to ensure that new standards are developed with the needs of those with disabilities taken into account (see previous newslog entry here).

JCA-AHF has organized a tutorial session on web design, web conferencing and real time web captioning to improve current ITU practices. It will be held in Geneva on 22 April. Details will follow.

For more detail on ITU-T’s work on accessibility see here.

Another ITU initiative related to the topic is the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability which has been created under the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). See here. More details will follow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 5:55:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |