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 Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Measuring and Reducing the Standards Gap is a new report introducing the ITU-T's current research project on building standards capacity in the developing world.

 

The document authored by Dr. Laura DeNardis, Executive Director, Yale Information Society Project and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School presents country case studies that answer questions such as; is there a national standards body; is there any participation in international standards development and what level of standards education is available? Based on these case studies it recommends actionable steps for improving national standards capacity in the developing world.

 

Inequality in national standards capability continues to be a contributive factor to the persistence of the digital divide between the developed and developing worlds and to diminished opportunities for economic development and technological innovation.

 

The overarching goal of ITU’s Bridging the Standardization Gap program is to facilitate increased participation of developing countries in standardization, to ensure that developing countries experience the economic benefits of associated technological development, and to better reflect the requirements and interests of developing countries in the standards-development process. One specific objective of this project is to understand the primary gaps that must be overcome to improve the standards development, implementation, and usage capacities of developing countries.

 

Bridging the standardization gap home: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/gap/

Report

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4:59:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 07, 2009

A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled Biometrics and Standards surveys biometric recognition as a key form of authentication made possible by powerful information and communication technologies (ICT).

Biometrics are used in forensics (e.g., for criminal investigations), government applications (more than 60 countries issue electronic passports containing biometric information) and commercial applications. The latter category includes deployments in the banking sector (secure access to ATMs, credit cards, e-Business), with other sectors gaining momentum. For instance, social-networking websites including Facebook and Picasa have integrated face recognition algorithms to make it easier to search and display all photos featuring one’s friends. Biometric systems embedded in cars of a vehicle fleet can help to identify the driver, adjust seat, rear mirrors, and steering wheel to meet individual preferences.

Technologies commonly used in biometrics include recognition of fingerprints, faces, vein patterns, irises, voices and keystroke patterns.

The Report discusses the advantages of biometric authenticators over their knowledge- and possession-based counterparts, describes different physiology- and behavior-related biometric traits and how they are used in biometric systems. A choice of biometric recognition applications is highlighted, and an overview of standardization work in the field of biometrics is given.

"Biometrics and Standards" can be downloaded here.

The authors welcome your feedback on this Report and all other publications of the Technology Watch series. We invite all interested parties to submit paper proposals for future Technology Watch Reports. The Technology Watch secretariat can be contacted at tsbtechwatch@itu.int.

Monday, December 07, 2009 3:44:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 30, 2009

Two new ITU standards in the field of IPTV have recently been agreed.

The first – Recommendation ITU-T H.740 - will enable a greater level of two way communication in IPTV services. For example it will support interactive services such as voting and e-commerce while also allowing better provision for emergency alerts and audience monitoring. Simply put the standard prescribes behaviour for an IPTV terminal in the case of receiving these instructions from either a broadcaster or a user.

More technically, H.740 "Application Event Handling for IPTV services" provides a framework of application event handling in IPTV services. An application event is describes as a specific user interaction or occurrence related with multimedia content. One of the characteristics of the new standard is that it gives a careful provision of privacy protection, with differing degrees of security.

The second standard - Recommendation ITU-T H.762 - "Lightweight interactive multimedia framework for IPTV services (LIME)" gives a subset of html and javascript for use in IPTV terminals. LIME is described as being very strictly profiled so that it can be used on a resource-limited devices like TV-sets. LIME can support interactivity like widgets and portals, as well as AJAX-like applications on IPTV. LIME can be used with basic services like video-on-demand (VOD), linear (channel) service (over IP), and EPG (extended programme guide). The expected main user interface is a remote controller.

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Monday, November 30, 2009 2:14:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The ITU group responsible for the development of the Primetime Emmy award winning video coding standard ITU-T H.264 (which is also standardized as ISO/IEC 14496-10) has issued a draft call for proposals for new video coding technology. The final call for proposals is expected to be issued in January 2010, and it may be issued jointly with ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 (MPEG).

ITU-T Study Group 16 is asking for proposals that give substantially increased compression relative to existing standards.

The proposals will be evaluated using formal subjective tests with the results made public. A proposal evaluation meeting is planned for April 2010. Depending on the proposed technology, a final resulting standard may be developed by July 2012.

Details here.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 10:54:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 07, 2009
ITU’s delegation to the UNFCCC Barcelona Climate Change talks has succeeded in raising awareness of ICTs as a key part of the climate change solution. In particular developing countries were receptive to the message and recognize the power of ICTs, also linking the issue to the digital divide.

At a side event jointly organized by ITU, OECD and GeSI equitable access and ensuring connectivity to schools, rural communities and health facilities were recognized as vital to economic development and to making effective use of ICTs to combat climate change.

Speaking at the event, Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s standardization bureau said: “It is generally accepted that by 2050 global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by some 80%. We can no longer talk in terms of incremental reductions of 5-10%. There is also a growing understanding that there is only one way that this can be achieved: by shifting from a high carbon physical infrastructure to a low carbon virtual infrastructure based on the evolving information society and smart technology – what we call information and communication technologies (ICTs).“

ITU will produce a communiqué that will be distributed to ITU Member States as well as parties involved in the negotiating process. One of the problems identified in the side event was that while communications ministries are aware of the link between ICTs and climate change this message is often not filtering through to environment ministries.

The following issues arose at the side event
  • The capabilities of ICTs to monitor, measure and exchange huge amounts of information and their sheer ubiquity underlines their fundamental role in improving environmental performance.

  • The  message that ICTs are a major part of the solution rather than being part of the problem has to  be emphasised further. “Smart” applications in transport, buildings and urban environments, energy generation and distribution and production are, and will increasingly be, ICT-enabled.

  • In the utility sectors ICTs can provide better information, increase efficiency, and thereby reduce emissions.

  • There needs to be a coming together of the ICT Sector with the other industry sectors that have traditionally been separate communities, in order to ensure the best use of ICTs. 

  • Developing countries should participate more in international programmes that support the development and use of common performance standards, testing, verification and certification programmes.

  • IPR policies related to global standards need to be addressed.

  • Dumping is a major concern for developing countries. Greater emphasis is needed on recycling, reduction of hazardous substances in ICTs, and refurbishment.

  • Life cycle methodologies for the ICT sector within the UNFCCC will be essential if ICTs are to play a significant role in climate change.

  • ICTs can only assist in mitigating and adapting to climate change if they are widely available. There is a clear link between bridging the digital divide and climate change. There should be incentives within the UNFCCC to the ICT industry to invest in developing countries, in particular bringing the benefits of broadband technology to schools, hospitals, and businesses. 

  • Including reference to the ICT/Telecommunication sector in the sectoral part of the negotiating text would enable a life cycle methodology to be included in the Clean Development Mechanism. This would provide an incentive to the ICT industry to invest in developing countries, help reduce the digital divide, and at the same time help fight climate change – a win-win scenario.

For video archive of ITU media briefing in Barcelona: http://tr.im/Ek5t.
See also TelecomTV coverage including: http://tr.im/Elxb
And Computer Weekly: http://tr.im/Ek4H

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Saturday, November 07, 2009 10:09:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |