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 Monday, May 24, 2010
Meeting of ITU-T Study Group 15 - Optical transport networks and access network infrastructures
Geneva, Switzerland, 31 May - 11 June 2010
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See ITU-T SG 15 Collective Letter 4 for more information.
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Monday, May 24, 2010 2:23:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 17, 2010
Assuring worldwide interoperability is critical to reaping benefits

Geneva, 14 May 2010 - ITU has been tasked with progressing standardization in cloud computing by members and leading CTOs in the ICT space.

A new ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing has been formed to enable a global cloud computing ecosystem where interoperability facilitates secure information exchange across platforms. The group will take a global view of standards activity in the field and will define a future path for greatest efficiency, creating new standards where necessary while also taking into account the work of others and proposing them for international standardization.

Cloud computing speeds and streamlines application deployment without upfront capital costs for servers and storage. For this reason, many enterprises, governments and network/service providers are now considering adopting cloud computing to provide more efficient and cost effective network services.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: “Cloud is an exciting area of ICTs where there are a lot of protocols to be designed and standards to be adopted that will allow people to best manage their digital assets. Our new Focus Group aims to provide some much needed clarity in the area.”

Cloud computing deployments are being announced on an almost daily basis. But interoperability, say experts, is a problem. Camille Mendler, Vice President of Research at Yankee Group: “Cloud computing is the future of ICTs. It's urgent to address interoperability issues which could stall global diffusion of new services. Collaboration between private and public sectors is required, and ITU is ideally suited to facilitate productive dialogue.”

ITU-T study groups were invited to accelerate their work on cloud at the fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Lisbon, 2009) and at an ITU-hosted meeting of CTOs in October 2009. The CTOs highlighted network capabilities as a particular area of concern, where increased services and applications using cloud computing may result in the need for new levels of flexibility in networks to accommodate unforeseen and elastic demands.

Vladimir Belenkovich, Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on Cloud Computing: “The Focus Group will investigate requirements for standardization in cloud computing and suggest future study paths for ITU. Specifically, we will identify potential impacts in standards development in other fields such as NGN, transport layer technologies, ICTs and climate change, and media coding.”

A first brief exploratory phase will determine standardization requirements and suggest how these may be addressed within ITU study groups. Work will then quickly begin on developing the standards necessary to support the global rollout of fully interoperable cloud computing solutions.

A recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled ‘Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds’ describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

For further information please contact:

Sarah Parkes                                                                          
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: mailto: pressinfo@itu.int                                                                              

Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: mailto: toby.johnson@itu.int

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Monday, May 17, 2010 1:53:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Technology will bring much needed efficiency and flexibility to electricity distribution

Geneva, 12 May 2010 - Some of the world’s biggest ICT companies have tasked a new ITU group with identifying standards needs for the world’s new Smart Grid deployments, which will bring the benefits of digital technology to the existing electricity network.

ITU was asked by key CTOs to accelerate work in the area of Smart Grid at a meeting of high level industry executives in Geneva in October 2009. Agreement between a wider set of ITU members to push forward work in this area was reached at a January 2010 meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG).

“While work has been taking place in ITU-T Study Groups on this topic for some time, there was a need to engage with a wider community,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "In this case, the Focus Group allows access to all stakeholders and in particular a key part of the Smart Grid equation — the electricity companies themselves.”

Les Brown (Lantiq), who will Chair the new Focus Group, agreed. "Through this excellent initiative ITU is bringing all players together in an environment where they can create truly global specifications for the service-aware utilities network of tomorrow. Smart Grid is a dynamic addition to today’s energy networks, which will be capable of delivering customizable services on a massive scale; to ensure an efficient global rollout, global standards are a must.”

The Smart Grid will consist of solutions based on both current and future telecommunication technologies for command and control, metering, and charging. ITU’s new Focus Group will explore these requirements and corresponding standards needs. Further, the idea that Smart Grid principles could apply to the telecommunication system itself could be a topic for discussion.

According to a study by ABI Research, the number of smart electric meters deployed worldwide will rise from a 2009 level of 76 million to reach about 212 million in 2014.

Many governments have earmarked significant portions of their stimulus packages for Smart Grids. In the United States, for example, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has allocated USD 4.5 billion for investments in the Smart Grid. In Europe, the European Parliament has approved an agreement reached by the EU Institutions on a package of legislation to liberalize energy markets, including electricity and gas directives, which require EU member states to ‘ensure the implementation of intelligent metering systems’.

The Focus Group on Smart Grid will survey existing national standards initiatives to see whether these can be adopted at an international level, and will also perform a gap analysis to identify new standardization requirements that will then be taken forward by relevant ITU-T Study Groups. This exploratory phase will be relatively short before work starts on the development of the standards necessary to support the global rollout of Smart Grid technologies.

In the field of Smart Grids, ITU experts have already agreed on specifications for Smart Grid products for home networks. The specifications include a ‘low complexity’ profile that will allow multiple manufacturers to develop products that deliver the low power consumption, low cost, performance, reliability, and security that is required for Smart Grid and other lower bit rate applications.

Members of HomeGrid Forum, an independent body set up to promote ITU-T’s home networking standard, G.hn, are active participants in Smart Grid standardization efforts worldwide, including those led by NIST, IEEE, ISO/IEC, and SAE. In 2009, HomeGrid Forum formed a Smart Grid initiative group, which will help to bring a range of G.hn-based devices to the Smart Grid market and home energy management applications.

George Arnold, National Coordinator for Smart Grid Interoperability at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States: “We recognize the importance of international standards to the success of the smart grid — therefore we look forward to coordinating with this Focus Group on defining the scope of ITU-T work related to the smart grid.”

For further information please contact:

Sarah Parkes                                                                          
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail: mailto: pressinfo@itu.int                                                                              

Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail: mailto: toby.johnson@itu.int

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010 3:18:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 06, 2010
ITU-T and IEEE will hold a joint workshop - The Future of Ethernet Transport - in Geneva, 28 May 2010. The workshop is the fifth in partnership with IEEE and follows two Kaleidoscope events and two workshops in the field of access and transport technologies.

Much work has been done in both organisations to progress Ethernet, developed as an enterprise technology, into a network provider technology or service. The event will focus on opportunities for further collaboration. Long-recognized as the ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade technology. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

Ethernet services are becoming popular because they allow carriers to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. Ethernet allows users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and emerging 100Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, as a transport technology Ethernet provides reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers. And as operators look to NGN and the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet is seen as the best fit, especially given the rise of such services as IP VPNs, VLANs and dedicated Internet access.

This event will review the work areas within ITU-T and IEEE 802.1/802.3 Working Groups on the development of Ethernet and related transport standards. The relevant standards groups are ITU-T Study Group 15 (Questions 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14) on optical transport systems including protection switching and synchronization, and IEEE P802.1Qbf Task Force on protection switching, P802.1AS and P802.3bf Task Forces on Ethernet synchronization, and P802.3ba and P802.3bg Task Forces on 40/100 Gb/s Ethernet.

ITU-T and IEEE work’s work on Ethernet technology is complementary in areas such as such as ultra high speed transport, network architecture, services, operation and maintenance, protection switching and synchronization.  In general ITU-T develops requirements from a network operators’ viewpoint as well as functional level specifications, while IEEE develops detailed design specifications to allow implementation.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010 2:13:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The recent meeting of ITU’s Council saw a report from Malcolm Johnson the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on progress made in implementing work on conformity and interoperability testing as requested by Resolution 76 in 2008 (WTSA-08).

In introducing the work Johnson said: “Currently all successful standards development organizations (SDOs) dealing with standards on interoperability have, in addition to the production of paper standards, three additional components: testing specifications; conformance testing to determine compliant products; and interoperability testing amongst various manufacturers’ products implementing the standard(s).

“ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), which is the pre-eminent global telecommunication standards body dealing specifically with global interoperability currently lacks these three additional elements to develop the full range of interoperable standards.

“This prompted a plea for help from developing countries, expressed in WTSA Resolution 76, to redress this problem as an important element of assistance to them in achievement of their desired level of conformity and interoperability nationally and internationally in telecommunications.

“Successful implementation of this programme is therefore crucially important to ITU-T maintaining its status as the pre-eminent global standards development organization in the face of increasing competition from other SDOs, forums and consortia.

“Defining more interfaces where interoperability can be tested increases competition and reduces the chances of being locked in to a single product.”

Johnson went on to define various actions, starting with a pilot version of a conformity database which is under development in line with a proposal put to Council-09 and taking account of advice provided by the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) and ITU-T’s Joint Coordination Activity on Conformance and Interoperability Testing (JCA-CIT). He said that the database would only record information provided by companies on conformity of their products to ITU-T Recommendations. Companies input the data into the database themselves. Following the advice of TSAG, access to the database is password protected (TIES) during the development phase.

The second action detailed by Johnson is the establishment of a calendar of “informal” interoperability events, some in partnership with interested SDOs/forums/consortia. The first such interoperability event is to take place on 20-23 July 2010, in Geneva to test ITU-T’s standards for IPTV.

The third action, Johnson said will be the implementation of human resources capacity building events. He said that ITU-T’s secretariat, the TSB and the secretariat of ITU-D, the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) are preparing a programme of such events. Events are planned for  Quito (Ecuador) and Nairobi (Kenya). Both Bureaux, he added, looked forward to receiving advice in this regard from the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), to be held in Hyderabad, India, from 24 May to 4 June 2010.

TSB and BDT are also working together to assist in the establishment of test facilities in developing countries. Discussions with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have already begun and a pilot project has been conducted in Tanzania.

TSB has begun work on the framework of a business plan for the long term implementation of the actions and which will provide the environmental background; the pros and cons of acting on Resolution 76; a road map for the implementation of the actions; a budget; legal aspects; study group actions; and partnerships for taking the work forward.
 
Following various questions and comments from the floor Johnson emphasized that Resolution 76 addresses both conformity and interoperability. Conformity does not imply interoperability, he said, but the chances of interoperability are definitely higher if equipment has been shown to conform to a standard.

The demand for a conformity database was simple he said: people want a database on the ITU website where they can see what products had been successfully tested to ITU-T Recommendations. To ensure the credibility of the database, tests will be carried out in an accredited laboratory: first, second or third party; or be accepted by an accredited certification body. Companies will voluntarily input the data directly into the database, but the information will only be made publicly available after TSB has received a supplier’s declaration.

Johnson emphasized that TSB is committed to working in consultation with all members and in collaboration with other SDOs, forums and consortia. For example, just within the last couple of weeks TSB had visited ATIS, TIA, ITI and several Sector Members in the USA to discuss Resolution 76. TSB had also visited the Interoperability Testing Lab of the University of New Hampshire, a not-for profit organization that has a formidable reputation in the testing field and which has been invited to the ITU-T Study Group 15 meeting in June.

Johnson concluded by confirming that TSB is committed to consulting and collaborating with all ITU-T membership to ensure the successful implementation of Resolution 76. It is a long and winding road but there is no turning back, he said. The Director of BDT, Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, also expressed appreciation for the positive tone in the Council on this subject and emphasized that TSB and BDT are working closely together on this issue.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:53:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |