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 Friday, 27 March 2009

Standardized methodologies for calculating the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been proposed by an ITU Focus Group meeting in Hiroshima, Japan.

The ITU-T Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change, a global group comprising of some of the world’s leading ICT players, has developed a method for calculating two elements:

1.   Energy usage and carbon impact arising from ICT lifecycles

2.   Decrease in GHG emissions that can be achieved with ICTs, such as substituting ICT services and devices for intensive fossil-fuelled activities for travel and transport and by replacing atoms with bits (buying an MP3 file instead of a CD), also known as “dematerialization”.

The meeting agreed on a set of four ‘deliverables’ that also give guidance on terms and definitions, including units of measurement to be used. The deliverables draw on best practices from many organizations around the world and will be published as the proceedings of the Focus Group. The next step will be to formally issue the Focus Group outcomes as ITU-T Recommendations, or standards. 

“This work has an important bearing on current and future global agreements under which countries undertake commitments to reduce their overall GHG emissions,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “Common approaches to calculating the impact of ICTs are vital to ensure coherent and effective solutions.”

Clearly, ICTs have the potential to drastically reduce GHGs. A contribution to the Focus Group meeting showed that direct e-mail has the effect of a 98.5 per cent carbon dioxide emission reduction compared with paper. The group also noted a trend towards ‘always-on’ devices that are a drain on power supplies. Recommended steps toward more efficient energy use of ICT devices are part of the output of the group.

“Even conservative estimates show a significant contribution to addressing climate change can be made through the application of ICTs,” said Johnson. “But, we cannot be content to sit and tell one another that ICTs can mitigate climate change. We must demonstrate our case with hard facts and figures. This methodology will give added credibility and coherence to the estimates of the positive impact of ICT. A common methodology will help establish the business case to go green and can ultimately be beneficial to informed consumer choices and climate-friendly business procurement.”

Dave Faulkner, BT and Chairman of the Focus Group said, “The Focus Group has highlighted ways to minimize the ICT sector's carbon footprint. But, more importantly, the group has highlighted key ways to reduce GHG emissions in other sectors by the clever use of telecommunication and ICTs. We expect these measures will be taken up by telecommunications operators and vendors around the world.”

Jason Marcheck, a Principal Analyst with Current Analysis: “Without a standardized methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of ICTs it is impossible to fully comprehend data provided by well-meaning companies. This initiative helps to provide a framework that companies can follow to give reliable data that can be compared on an international scale. It shows the importance that the ICT industry attaches to this topic, and represents a necessary step forward in standardizing the way that the industry approaches environmental sustainability.”

Takashi Hanazawa, Senior Vice President, NTT: “The development and implementation of a standardized methodology is something that all industry players have been waiting for. As an ITU member, NTT has supported this work from the beginning. Today’s announcement sends a strong message, underlining this industry’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. We applaud ITU’s efforts and join with ITU management in sending a message of environmental consciousness and belief in sustainable growth for the future.”

Makoto Totsuka, Director-General for ICT Strategic Policy Planning, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan: “Prior to the Focus Group, we have not had an international forum for discussing common measures to calculate the positive and negative aspect of ICTs. We were honoured to host the final meeting of the Focus Group and would like to thank all delegates for their efforts. We will continue to contribute to ITU activity on ICT and Climate Change and environmental issues.”

Laura Ipsen, Senior Vice President of Cisco Global Policy and Government Affairs and co-chair of the Cisco EcoBoard: “Accurate, standardized measurement is the first step towards effective reduction of the ICT carbon footprint. The ITU-T Focus Group deliverables provide a valuable foundation for further ICT industry global collaboration in helping to address the world’s environmental challenges. Cisco is committed to continuing its efforts in ITU and with customers globally for energy efficiency in an inclusive and sustainable information society.”

As part of its ongoing work on ICTs and climate change, ITU is organizing the third Symposium on ICTs and Climate Change in Quito, Ecuador, 8− 10 July 2009, hosted by Centro Internacional de Investigación Científica en Telecomunicaciones, Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (CITIC) Ecuador. More details here.

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Friday, 27 March 2009 16:37:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 26 March 2009

Participation of Microsoft Canada as a Sector Member of ITU-T

Thursday, 26 March 2009 16:04:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 19 March 2009

Participation of Libyana Mobile Phone as a Sector Member of ITU-T

Thursday, 19 March 2009 15:51:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new Technology Watch report examines Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds.

A key conclusion is that increased focus on standards for interfaces will enable commoditization of clouds and grids and ensure interoperability.

Expanding communication networks, combined with the growth of affordable broadband in developed countries, has enabled organizations to share their computational resources. What originally started as grid computing, temporarily using remote supercomputers or clusters of mainframes to address scientific problems too large or too complex to be solved on in-house infrastructures, has evolved into service-oriented business models that offer physical and virtual resources on a pay as you go basis – as an alternative to often idle, in-house data centers and stringent license agreements.

The report describes the advent of these new forms of distributed computing, notably grid and cloud computing, the applications that they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds is available to download here.

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Thursday, 19 March 2009 09:34:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 March 2009
ITU-T’s work on IPTV standards has progressed significantly in recent weeks with a raft of new specifications agreed.

The work has moved on from the foundation documents containing high-level architectures and frameworks to more detailed specifications. Experts say that this is an important milestone that will allow manufacturers to start implementing the specifications in their products.

A standardized IPTV environment could mean an end to walled-garden approaches where subscribers are limited to content from a particular service provider. It would for example make it easier for ex-pat subscribers to consume content from their countries of origin.

Among standards consented or approved recently include Recommendation ITU-T H.720 which gives the overview of the architecture and functional components of an IPTV terminal device and provides a high-level description of functionality necessary to support IPTV services. Also key is ITU-T H.721 which describes and specifies the functionalities of IPTV terminal devices such as set-top boxes and digital TV sets for IPTV basic services. The Recommendation also takes into consideration such conditions on content delivery as QoS.

Below is a list of recent ITU standards approved or ‘consented’ by ITU-T’s Study Group 16:

 - Rec. H.701 - Content Delivery Error Recovery for IPTV services
 - Rec. H.721 - IPTV Terminal Device: Basic Model
 - Rec. H.760 - Overview of Multimedia Application Frameworks for IPTV
 - Rec. H.761 - Nested Context Language (NCL) and Ginga-NCL for IPTV
 - Rec. H.720 - Overview of IPTV terminal devices and end systems
 - Rec. H.750 - High-level specification of metadata for IPTV services
 - Rec. H.622.1 - Architecture and functional requirements for home networks supporting IPTV services

In addition a Technical Paper has been approved that addresses the use of audio coding in services delivered over IPTV

See also New IPTV standard supports global rollout.

Membership of ITU-T gives exclusive rights to access working documents of standards under development – tomorrow’s ICTs. The vast majority of all Recommendations are available in electronic (PDF) form free of charge to all once a final editing process is complete.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2009 16:07:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Participation of Compuware Corporation as an Associate of ITU-T Study Group 2

Wednesday, 18 March 2009 15:41:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU together with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) will hold a Forum on Next Generation Network (NGN) Standardization, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 7 - 10 April 2009.

The event will examine the latest developments in NGNs including architecture, service requirements, network capabilities and migration. Case studies will allow attendees to learn from existing and ongoing NGN deployments from Asia-Pacific and beyond. Participants will also be kept up-to-date on recent changes to ITU-T working methods and its new mandate relating to IPv6.

Sessions will additionally focus on cybersecurity, ICTs and climate change, traffic accounting principles and QoS. There will be discussion of policy, regulatory and developmental issues related to NGNs and a report on the main results of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08).

NGN growth in Asia-Pacific is in different stages of development. In a climate of many complex economic, technological, strategic and operational considerations, including the cost of implementation, changing marketplaces, complex migration scenarios and regulatory uncertainties, the role and importance of standardization is highlighted more than ever before.

By leveraging on the experiences of renowned experts in the ICT field, the conference aims to allow participants to explore a wide spectrum of NGN standardization and related topics, with a special focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here for details.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2009 09:43:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 March 2009

Participation of Mobyland Sp. z.o.o. as an ITU-T Sector Member

Monday, 16 March 2009 15:35:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |