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 Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meeting in Geneva, 30 April to 11 May, ITU-T Study Group 16 – ITU’s lead study group on multimedia coding, systems and applications – in collaboration with the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC29 Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) - agreed to the development of 3D extensions to the Primetime Emmy award winning H.264 and the new High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. Further, building on the HEVC collaboration under the JCT-VC (see previous story), SG 16 also agreed to a Call for Proposals for Scalability Coding Extension to the new video codec.

In addition SG16 has approved the first ITU-T Recommendation on digital signage: ITU-T H.780, Digital signage: Service requirements and IPTV-based architecture. It is the first in a series of ITU-T standards aiming to stimulate the roll-out of digital signage technologies. Centrally-managed, large-scale networks of high-definition digital displays are of key value to companies in targeting and engaging with consumers, as well to municipalities and governments in communicating vital information to the public. The proprietary nature of current digital signage solutions not only restricts the integration of applications across different networks and vendors, but also makes solutions more expensive and can be prohibitive for small and medium enterprises. ITU International standards are therefore required as the common platform to unlock the industry’s multi-billion dollar potential.

The meeting also saw various new and updated voice and image coding standards entering the approval process. The complete list of results can be found here.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:37:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 18, 2012

ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization and Development Sectors (ITU-T and ITU-D) are organizing an ITU Forum on Conformance and Interoperability for the Americas and Caribbean Region in Brasilia (Brazil), 12-15 June; aiming to assist the region in its development of ICT conformance and interoperability programmes.

It is particularly important to instill a culture of conformance and interoperability testing in developing countries, as the wide-spread adoption of international standards can quickly translate into marked interoperability improvements and rapid expansions of regional ICT markets.

Conformance with ITU’s international standards maximizes the probability that an ICT vendor’s products will interoperate with those of other vendors. ITU’s Conformance and Interoperability (C&I) programme targets the increased adoption of ITU standards, and thus increased ICT interoperability, through the application of four key pillars:

  • Conformity assessment, evaluating products’ degree of compliance with ITU’s standards
  • Interoperability events, analyzing the ability of different vendors’ products to interoperate
  • Capacity building events, educating policy-makers and businesses on the importance of conformance and interoperability testing
  • Creation of conformance and interoperability testing centres in different regions of the world

The ITU Forum in Brasilia will show the progress of the ITU Conformity and Interoperability programme and assist the Americas and Caribbean region in its implementation of the four pillars. Conformity assessment, accreditation and certification are key to increase the probability of interoperability. They are also key elements towards achieving the desired level of connectivity and ‘usability’ of services for end-users and to comply with the mission of ITU to connect the world. Capacity building refers to education on the essentiality of conformity assessment, certification and accreditation based on international standards, adoption of test suites and will mobilize the political will necessary to implement them effectively. Furthermore, regional conformance assessment testing centres will form part of a global network of such centres, mandating the strictest adherence to best-practice guidelines on their construction.

For more on the upcoming ITU C&I Forum, including a draft program, see the event’s homepage here.

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Friday, May 18, 2012 8:16:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T has established a new Focus Group on Smart Cable Television (FG SmartCable). FG SmartCable
aims to map the Smart Cable Television landscape and thereby provide the foundations for ITU-T’s future standardization work in this regard.

Information and communication technology (ICT) is enabling the provision of innovative audiovisual experiences over cable networks; from ultra-high definition and 3D television to cable-based video
communication and telepresence, interactive home environment control/monitoring, and improvements to broadcasting technology itself.

The group will in particular analyse the system requirements and capabilities to support Smart Cable Television, and identify study areas to support the development of Smart Cable Television standards development in ITU-T.

The first meeting of FG SmartCable will be at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, 19-21 June 2012. The deadline for submission of input documents is 11 June 2012, and the meeting is open to all interested
parties from ITU Member States. Remote participation will be provided and registration for both on-site and remote participation is available at http://www.itu.int/reg/tsg/3000409.

ITU-T Study Group 9
– Television and sound transmission and integrated broadband cable networks – is the parent group to FG SmartCable.
The group will cooperate and collaborate with other ITU Study Groups, and other standardization communities active in the field including universities, research institutes.

For more information on FG SmartCable, please see the group’s webpage
here , or contact the group’s secretariat at tsbfgsmartcable@itu.int

 

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Friday, May 18, 2012 8:01:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 14, 2012

The ITU Standardization Sector’s alliance with Academia Session will be held on 16 May 2012 (13h30 – 14h00) and will provide an overview of ITU-T initiatives to engage universities and research institutions in the development of international ICT standards.

This session will focus on the new membership category as well as other initiatives to engage academia including Kaleidoscope academic conferences, international events bringing together universities, industry and research institutions to share knowledge and identify emerging ICT developments.
By welcoming academia to its meetings as fully-fledged members or by consulting with universities on future trends in standardization, ITU has acknowledged the important role of academia in the development of ICTs.

ITU’s membership of 193 member states and over 700 private-sector entities represents an extraordinary opportunity for academics to bring their ideas to life through standardization, raise the profiles of their institutions and uncover potential sources of future funding. Since introducing an “Academia” membership category in ITU at the start of this year, 40 academic institutions have joined. By participating academia can gain global recognition and play a formative role in determining how their innovations are reflected in standards and public policy.

WSIS Forum 2012, jointly organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP, is a platform for key global players in the field of ICTs to network, discuss and exchange on future ICT developments and applications, as well as to engage in new partnerships. Hosted in Geneva by ITU from 14 to 18 May 2012, the forum will offer participants a series of high-level panels, a ministerial round table, facilitation meetings, thematic workshops and knowledge exchanges, as well as an exhibition. The celebration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day will take place during the Forum, on 16 May 2012, the same day of the ITU and Academia Briefing Session. The draft agenda is available at: http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2012/Agenda/DraftAgenda.aspx
 

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Monday, May 14, 2012 11:10:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Monday, May 14, 2012 10:11:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU Workshop on “Making Television Accessible – From idea to reality” hosted and supported by Nippon Hôsô Kyôkai (NHK), Tokyo, Japan, 28 May 2012

On-line registration


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Monday, May 14, 2012 10:08:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ITU has established a new Joint Coordination Activity on Child Online Protection (JCA-COP) to coordinate the COP work across ITU’s sectors and Study Groups as well as cooperate with outside stakeholders engaged in COP. ITU-T Study Group 17 is the parent group to JCA-COP, and will leverage its well-developed network of ICT security stakeholders to harmonize these different elements to ensure a unified approach to the creation of global COP standards.
 
JCA-COP is chaired by Ashley Heineman of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), USA.
 
In keeping with its Terms of Reference, JCA-COP will coordinate the COP work already underway within ITU-T (particularly that of SGs 2, 9, 13, 15, 16 and 17), and will liaise with ITU-R, ITU-D and ITU’s Council Working Group on COP.
 
JCA-COP seeks to study and understand the composition of the COP ecosystem as it relates to the most relevant stakeholders, and technical, legal or regulatory questions. It will act as the first point of contact for any organization interested in ITU-T’s work on COP, and will also actively pursue means of collaborating with external bodies working in the field.
 
JCA-COP’s internal coordination mandate is thus accompanied by an external research and outreach capacity; to be carried out in a globally-inclusive manner. Cooperation and collaboration with external bodies is always crucial to ITU-T’s standardization work, and it will ensure that ITU’s forthcoming COP standards are agreed, and consequently implemented, on an international basis.
 
More information:

   •   SG 17’s homepage
   •   The brand-new JCA-COP homepage
   •   ITU's Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, the ITU Secretariat framework for COP activities across ITU-T, ITU-R and ITU-D.

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Monday, May 14, 2012 8:09:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 10, 2012
ITU is inviting applications for the post of Study Group Engineer, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), at ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The successful candidate should have at least five years of experience in the field of telecommunication technologies and services, including at least two at the international level.  Expertise on service definition, numbering, naming, addressing requirements and resource assignment including criteria and procedures for reservation and assignment would be an advantage. In addition knowledge of tariff and accounting matters (including costing methodologies) for international telecommunication services and study of related telecommunication economic, accounting and policy issues would be an advantage.

Standards from the ITU are at the heart of modern information and communications technologies (ICTs). For more information see: http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/info.
 
The Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) provides essential logistical support to ITU-T’s 10 Study Groups including electronic working facilities and meeting management. It also manages promotion, workshops, membership, documents, finance, the website etc. It is the body responsible for providing cohesion to ITU-T’s standards making process.
 
An attractive package of salary (approximately 115,509.- USD - 154,159.- USD without dependants or 123,747.- USD - 165,818.- USD with dependants  [Net of Tax]) plus international allowances and benefits is offered (subject to eligibility).
 
The closing date for applications is 9 July 2012.
 
A detailed vacancy notice and application form including remuneration can be downloaded here. Applications using the form must be sent to recruitment@itu.int or by post to ITU Human Resources Administration Division, Place des Nations, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland. Applications must reach ITU by the closing date.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012 3:25:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A joint ITU-WHO workshop on “e-Health standards and Interoperability” at ITU headquarters in Geneva, 26-27 April, gathered experts from the healthcare and ICT communities to discuss means of leveraging today’s advanced communications capabilities to achieve more efficient, cost-effective and equitable health services worldwide.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) opening the event: "With a growing, ageing, population in the 21st century, it is clear that one of the areas where ICTs can help make the greatest difference is in the provision and delivery of healthcare. ICTs are now understood to play a pivotal role in increasing efficiency and quality in delivery of health care, and reducing risk and suffering, particularly among the most vulnerable communities in developing countries. However, in e-health unfortunately standardized solutions are rare. Interoperability is a key determinant of e-Health’s efficient and equitable rollout. This is not an area where we can afford to have costly squabbles over proprietary technologies. International standards will bring down costs, increase access, and improve efficiencies."
 
The workshop showcased innovative healthcare technologies and policy frameworks already in force, and pointed to areas where interoperable ICT standards could further stimulate such innovations’ development and implementation.
 
The workshop hosted a lively exchange of ideas and brought healthcare and ICT experts together to form the relationships certain to underpin the development of next-generation healthcare services. The workshop’s closing session focused on the future of e-Health standardization which, judging by the volume of input received from attendees, represents the beginnings of what is sure to be a very fruitful collaboration between ITU and WHO. It was suggested at the event that ITU and WHO provide a platform to lead these discussions, with the participation of the key e-health stakeholders.
 
At the event, the following actions were suggested to the various stakeholders:
 
Suggested ITU-WHO actions:

- Joint policy brief on the essentiality of standards and interoperability to the exchange of medical data, as well as outreach activities to educate policy-makers and business leaders on the relevance and application of e-health standards
- Creation of an e-health Working Group to advise ITU and WHO on steps to be taken in the future
- Collaborate with other Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) to create an information portal detailing all available healthcare standards and best practices in their application
 
SDO actions:

- Coordinate with the new HL7 initiative on mobile e-health
- ITU and HL7 to develop a specification for the use of ITU-T X.1303 CAP specification within HL7 to deliver health warning messages
- Consider effective cost models for e-health standards licensing
- Collaborate in the development of a common e-health standards roadmap; ensuring no work is duplicated, and encouraging a converged view on the structure of data and information in the e-health context
 
Points of relevance to the technical community (drawn from ICT and healthcare sectors):

- Address interoperability challenges impeding the development of an open, global infrastructure to enable the exchange of health information
- Begin development of an e-health standards ecosystem by addressing the required functional features of e-health technologies, while at the same time allowing these systems enough flexibility to evolve in line with the development of new technologies or best practices
- The imperative to e-health that is Quality of Service (QoS)
 
More information on the Workshop’s objectives: here
The Workshop’s programme (with speakers’ biographies and presentations  attached): here.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012 9:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |