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 Monday, August 09, 2010
Telepresence is broadly speaking next generation videoconferencing that also takes into account users' position, actions and voice to render as close as possible a representation of a real life meeting.

Many products exist today that, although they are based on established protocols including ITU-T H.323, lack interoperability due to proprietary extensions.

Telepresence represents an important evolution of the videoconferencing market. Standards fuelled interoperability between systems is seen as a key way to drive the market. The trend is expected to accelerate, as mainstream video applications begin to offer telepresence features.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: "We don't expect each end of a phone call to be dependent on the manufacturer of the phone being the same. The same should be true for telepresence. Anyone who has used a telepresence system will testify to its remarkable quality, it truly is the next best thing to a face to face meeting. However proprietary solutions have stifled the market. ITU's standards initiative will allow us all to profit from this remarkable technology."

Specifically the new work will focus on standardizing full interoperability between telepresence systems, including facilitating the coherent presentation of multiple audio and video streams so that participants show correct eye contact, gestures etc, to give a more real life like experience.

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Monday, August 09, 2010 10:22:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Difficulty trying to access products, services, environments and facilities is an issue for any of us – let alone the millions of people around the world living with disabilities. To this end, an international  workshop will be held on 3 and 4 November 2010 to review and examine the standards needed for facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.

The workshop is the latest initiative organized by the three partner organizations of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC): IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), which are also raising awareness of accessibility in this year's World Standards Day, celebrated each year on 14 October.

Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, environment or facility is usable by as many people as possible, including by persons with disabilities. Its importance is signified by the fact that the number of persons with disabilities, either congenital, acquired or as a result of age is estimated to be at around 650 million worldwide.

The WSC workshop on “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” will bring together key stakeholder groups from all over the world representing disability organizations, government and regulators, standards developers, consumers, as well as product designers and manufacturers faced with accessibility requirements.  It will address three key subject areas:

•    Accessibility in the field of everyday products
•    Accessibility and buildings
•    eAccessibility and eInclusion (in Information and Communication Technologies)

In a combination of plenary and break-out group meetings, these three subject areas will be discussed and the potential of standardization – in particular international standardization – to contribute to strengthening accessibility aspects in the design of products, services, environments and facilities will be addressed.

The results of the conference will result in a better understanding of both the work on accessibility issues in standardization in the various areas and the needs of those most concerned. It is hoped that the groundwork will be laid and a road map drawn for future standardization initiatives and awareness creation initiatives with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

For further information, including the full programme and registration form for the workshop, please refer to http://www.iso.org/sites/WSC_Accessibility_2010/.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 8:58:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Geneva, 26 July 2010 - Industry sent out a strong message of support for ITU standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) at an event held at ITU headquarters last week. Gathered in Geneva for the first of a new series of ‘ITU Interop’ events, IPTV manufacturers took part in a set of tests to demonstrate seamless global interoperability between their various IPTV devices, which have been manufactured to comply with ITU-developed standards, known as Recommendations.

ITU has been busy pioneering a raft of new standards for the technology, which is set to transform global viewing habits in coming years. Experts agreed that stable global standards will be key to take-up of IPTV, avoiding costly and confusing ‘format wars’ and reduced choice for consumers.

IPTV will deliver all the advantages of traditional ‘linear’ TV in terms of service quality, combined with the many advantages the Internet offers in terms of choice and interactivity. It should not be confused with web streaming, because images are not delivered over the Internet, but rather to homes through a ‘managed network’. That means TV programmes do not have to vie with other traffic on an increasingly busy World Wide Web, which could negatively impact the viewing experience.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Proprietary solutions may offer fast deployment in the short term, but in the medium and longer term buyers will be subject to vendor lock-in, with the risk of costly upgrades and reduced content and hardware choice. Industry consortia-based 'standards' are mostly region-specific with little or no implementation. This event proves that ITU global standards are ready to go, and in fact are already being implemented.”

Many companies are now selling TV and set-top box products based on ITU-T’s IPTV Terminal Standard ITU-T H.721, with products already available in countries including Brazil, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, France, and elsewhere. In China and Japan, services based on ITU IPTV standards are deployed and boast several million subscribers. A test service is being conducted in Singapore, and there is interest in setting up test beds in India and Canada.

Speaking at the event, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré said: “ITU IPTV standards are the result of detailed international discussions which have included many developing countries. These talks take into account various aspects of technologies, including IPRs, maturity, stability and market adoption, leading to standards that provide for high quality and low cost. Since ITU IPTV standards are based on mature technologies, decided by consensus, interoperability is easier to achieve among different vendors.”

David Wood, European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Head of New Technology: “IPTV has been around for some time but it hasn’t been the success that people hoped. The principal reason is that there have been a lot of IPTVs − which means you don’t have the benefits of a large market and the benefits of open markets and competition. What we have now is a common standard which everyone can build equipment to, and this should really make IPTV much more successful in the future.”

Further IPTV ITU Interop events are planned for Singapore, 23-24 and 27 September, and Pune, India 14-17 December 2010.

Photos are available at: www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/sets/72157624558743282/.

Video footage of the event is available at: www.eurovision.net/wf/detail.php?item=501636 (raw footage for Eurovision members) and YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dg8maOi9sY (event highlights)

ITU-T IPTV newsfeed: www.itu.int/ITU-T/newslog/CategoryView,category,IPTV.aspx

For more 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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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 6:57:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard is the title of a new book detailing ITU-T’s widely adopted, and Primetime Emmy award winning H.264 video codec.

ITU-T H.264 is fundamental to a growing range of markets such as high definition broadcasting, internet video sharing, mobile video and digital surveillance.

Author - Iain E. Richardson - explains some of the details of the book in this webcast (registration necessary) - http://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/21438.

The H.264 Advanced Video Compression Standard reflects the growing importance and implementation of H.264 video technology. Offering a detailed overview of the system, it explains the syntax, tools and features of H.264 and equips readers with practical advice on how to get the most out of the standard.

It provides:
•    Examples and illustrations to explain H.264 technology in an accessible and practical way.
•    Basic video coding concepts, video formats and visual quality.
•    Details on how to measure and optimise the performance of H.264 and how to balance bitrate, computation and video quality.
•    Analysis of recent work on scalable and multi-view versions of H.264, case studies of H.264 codecs and new technological developments such as the popular High Profile extensions.

"[This book] unravels the mysteries behind the latest H.264 standard and delves deeper into each of the operations in the codec. The reader can implement (simulate, design, evaluate, optimize) the codec with all profiles and levels. The book ends with extensions and directions (such as SVC and MVC) for further research."  Professor K. R. Rao, The University of Texas at Arlington, co-inventor of the Discrete Cosine Transform.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010 1:05:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 05, 2010
The call for papers for this year’s ITU-T Kaleidoscope conference has closed with 115 papers submitted. The review process of the papers is now underway with the 128 members of the Technical Programme Committee due to inform authors of accepted papers by 30 July.
 
65 per cent of submitted papers relate to Track 1: Technology and architecture evolution. 42 per cent come from India, with the majority of other papers submitted from Colombia, USA, Italy, Japan, Brazil and Germany. 78 per cent of the authors are from academic institutions with the remainder from the private sector.
 
The 2010 ITU-T Kaleidoscope academic conference: Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services, is the third in a series of peer reviewed academic conferences that aim at increasing the dialogue between academia, research organizations and experts working on the standardization of telecommunications and ICTs. Technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society, the event will take place at the Sinhgad Technical Education Society, Narhe Campus, Pune, India, 13 – 15 December 2010. Accepted papers will be made available through the IEEE Xplore repository of academic papers. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers. Young Author Recognition certificates will also be issued.
 
Beyond the Internet? − Innovations for future networks and services will highlight multidisciplinary aspects of future Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) including future services and applications as well as social and economic impacts. The focus is on innovative technologies and on examining the fundamental networking design principles of the Internet.
 
In addition to an exhibition by local universities, keynote speakers and invited papers, ITU Kaleidoscope 2010 will host Standards Corner, a series of standardization tutorials, and Jules Verne’s corner, a special space for science fiction writers and dreamers.

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Monday, July 05, 2010 3:43:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |