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 Monday, August 13, 2012

ITU Council has endorsed “ICTs and improving road safety” as the theme for 2013’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day acknowledging that information and communication technology (ICT) standards have the potential to significantly reduce driver distraction and road accidents.
 
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) aims to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. It takes place on 17 May every year, which is the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.

Given the critical need to filter the provision of information in such a way that it does not distract drivers’, ITU-T’s Focus Group on Driver Distraction (FG Driver Distraction) has been bringing together experts from government agencies; standards development organisations; academic and research institutes; and the automotive, telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors since the beginning of 2011.
 
Open to participation by all interested parties, including non-members of ITU, the group is essentially undertaking the groundwork required to launch ITU-T standardization activity in the field of driver distraction.
 
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Intelligent transport systems will enable vehicles to communicate to optimize the flow of traffic, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, increase safety, and significantly improve the driving experience. With the advent of the Internet of Things there is the potential of a ‘fully-networked car’ that can save millions of lives.”
 
ITU standards will fight driver distraction in two complementary ways:
 
Standards will define a communications interface to the vehicle allowing drivers to interact with external devices and applications through the vehicle’s user interface. In this scenario, all driver interaction with ICTs is channelled through a centralized point of control able to manage the degree of distraction experienced by the driver.
 
ITU's international standards will also aid application developers, network providers, device manufacturers and Driver Vehicle Interface (DVI) designers in building systems that minimize the distraction and cognitive workload demanded by in-vehicle ICTs. Such standards will provide guidance on ergonomic design principles and requirements for safe interaction with applications, and will define the functional requirements of systems managing distraction and cognitive workload.
 
For more information on FG Driver Distraction, please consult the group’s webpage here...

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Monday, August 13, 2012 8:36:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A recent ITU workshop in Lao PDR has offered a number of actionable suggestions to extend ITU’s efforts to bridge the standardization gap. Notably participants called on ITU to assist governments of developing Asian countries in establishing national and regional “standardization secretariats” to oversee the development of countries’ standardization capabilities and to ensure all regions an equitable representation in international standardization processes.

Held in Vientiane, 30-31 July, the workshop was ITU’s first event in Lao PDR and attracted over seventy participants, including representatives of Lao’s key trade partners such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. The event was organized in association with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Lao PDR and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of the Republic of Korea, with the generous support of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

ITU was urged to assist countries in their establishment of standardization secretariats, to aid in the development of policy and regulatory frameworks conducive to the rollout of broadband and Next-generation Networks (NGN), and to offer guidance in the spectrum planning required to support mobile broadband and the shift from analogue to digital television.

Environmental protection and sustainable development also featured prominently in the workshop’s discussions and, to address these concerns, the region’s countries were encouraged to form an Asia Pacific ‘regional group’ within ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change).

Specifically, the regional group will highlight e-waste as a major concern to the naturally-rich region, and will play a role in the development of guidelines to developing nations on the implementation of ITU-T’s ‘green ICT’ standards.

The regional group will also respond to the region’s rapidly growing use of mobile telephony,  requesting ITU guidance on the regulatory aspects of human exposure to the radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RFEMF) produced by mobile-telephony installations. This concern is one common to a number of developing countries, and is addressed by the new Recommendation ITU-T K.91 - Guidance for assessment, evaluation and monitoring of the human exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields.

More information on ITU’s Bridging the Standardization Gap programme here.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012 1:56:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Recent ITU meetings addressed the challenges facing African countries in the measurement of Quality of Service (QoS)/Quality of Experience (QoE) parameters for voice, 3G and Internet mobile networks – nearing completion of guidelines for a QoS regulatory framework for ICT services. The meetings also addressed environmental concerns associated with ICT development, such as the growing e-waste challenge, the measurement of human exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF EMF), and the need to develop a sustainable means of extending telecoms-network coverage to the rural areas of developing countries.

The four ITU events were held in Cotonou, Benin, 16-20 July, hosted by Benin’s Autorité Transitoire de Régulation des Postes et Télécommunications (ATRPT):

Workshop on practical measurement of QoS/QoE parameters for regulatory compliance; and Meeting of Africa Regional Group within ITU-T Study Group 12 (Performance, QoS and QoE)

The workshop was attended by over 80 participants from 21 African countries, gathering representatives of ministries, regulators, operators and vendors to discuss QoS/QoE aspects of Africa’s expanding mobile networks.

The Africa regional group within ITU-T Study Group 12 (SG 12) advanced its draft guidelines for a QoS regulatory framework for ICT services, which are intended to supplement existing ITU-T recommendations on QoS. Nearing this task’s completion, the group indicated that it will now direct its attention to ‘QoE web browsing’ under Question 13/12, and the ‘Roadmap for Interconnection of Packet-based Networks’ under Question 12/12.

Workshop on Tackling Climate Change and SAR Measurement; and Meeting of Africa Regional Group within ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change)

The workshop was attended by over 70 participants from 21 African countries, discussing the application of ITU-T’s ‘green ICT’ standards and the measurement of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of RF EMF produced by mobile-telephony base stations and devices.

The Africa regional group within ITU-T Study Group 5 (SG 5) highlighted energy efficiency, e-waste reduction and issues related to climate change as its priorities for 2013. The meeting also reviewed its advanced-stage work on a number of guidelines under preparation:

  • Information guide on human exposure to RF EMF   
  • Methodology for the measurement of GSM Base Station compliance with RF EMF exposure limits
  • Technical requirements and management methodology of a fund to facilitate a sustainable e-waste management system in developing countries
  • A sustainable solution to extend the coverage of telecommunications networks to rural areas in developing countries

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012 1:48:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A new group has been established to investigate academia’s approach to ICT standardization, with a view to increasing the weight assigned to the subject in academic curricula. It will also aim to identify ITU-T action to aid its academic membership in this endeavour. Comments are welcome on the Draft Terms of Reference for the TSB Director's Ad Hoc Group on Standards Education, available here. Proposed revisions should be sent to tsbtsag@itu.int by Wednesday 15 August.

The Ad Hoc Group will include representatives of ITU-T, academia and other standards development organizations (SDOs) interested in collaborating to advance standards education worldwide. Participation is open to all interested parties, including non-members of ITU, free of charge.

In this context, “standards education” relates not to technology-focused topics, but rather to education on the importance of standards to the ICT sector, and by extension, to the operation of businesses and economies at large. ICT today underpins almost all commercial activity and it is essential that we familiarize students with ICT standards development processes, standard strategy planning, and business case studies demonstrating the importance of international standards to industry.

A tentative work plan for the group includes; performing a “gap analysis” regarding ICT standardization courses currently offered by universities; gathering information on standards education programs from relevant external groups; developing course or curricula “templates” to be used by academia in constructing standards-education offerings; and identifying strategies to facilitate the adoption of credit-eligible courses in undergraduate and graduate programmes.

The group’s first meeting will take place during the Joint ITU-GISFI-DS-CTIF Standards Education Workshop, 8-9 October 2012, Aalborg University, Denmark.

For more information, please see the Ad Hoc Group’s webpage here.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:27:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 30, 2012

All interested parties are invited to participate in the second meeting of ITU-T’s Focus Group on Smart Cable Television (FG SmartCable) in Boulder, USA, 20-21 September 2012, hosted by Cisco Systems. The deadline for contributions to this meeting is 13 September. The meeting is open to participation by all interested parties, including non-members of ITU, free of charge.

 

FG SmartCable is on course to mapping Smart Cable TV’s standardization landscape; gathering experts from government, industry and the standardization community to determine the field’s interoperability shortfalls and standardization gaps, and thereby provide the basis for future ITU-T standardization work in this regard.

 

At the same venue, 17-19 September, Cisco Systems will host a number of “rapporteur group meetings” for participants in the work of FG SmartCable’s parent group, ITU-T Study Group 9 (Broadband cable and TV).

 

FG SmartCable’s first meeting in June, well attended in Geneva and remotely, decided the group’s management team and initial work plan.

 

In broad terms, the group will examine: the use cases and requirements of Smart Cable TV applications, advanced transport technologies including cable-related aspects of Machine to Machine communications (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT), secure content and application delivery, user interfaces and accessibility, and multi-screen and mobile device applications.

 

For more information on FG SmartCable’s structure and working methods, please visit the group’s webpage here.

 

To participate in the group’s work, please contact ITU-T’s FG SmartCable Secretariat at tsbfgsmartcable@itu.int.

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Monday, July 30, 2012 5:19:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 26, 2012

The ITU, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC) have published three new reports analyzing the potential use of submarine communications cables to monitor the environment and provide disaster warnings. The reports provide an examination of the project’s engineering and legal considerations, and offer a “strategy and roadmap” to move the agenda forward.

 

The reports are freely available on ITU’s website...

 

Equipping ‘repeaters’– instruments amplifying optical signals, placed an average of 100 km apart on a submarine communications cable – with climate-monitoring sensors could make the telecommunications network part of a real-time global ocean-observation network.

 

An Engineering Feasibility Study (Peter Phibbs and Stephen Lentz, Mallin Consultants Ltd.) investigates the technical feasibility of the project, outlining the requirements of a “green repeater” equipped with scientific sensors to provide decades-long time series of the rate and degree of climatic change. Concluding that it is possible to equip repeaters with a modest number of low-power scientific instruments, the report finds that the project’s principal engineering challenge remains the construction of green repeaters with a reliability and longevity equal to that of robust communications cables.

 

Opportunities and Legal Challenges (Kent Bressie, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP.) analyzes the project’s legal considerations; noting that commercial telecommunications and scientific applications of submarine fibre-optic cables have traditionally operated independently of one another, and that the convergence of these applications presents a scenario not easily fitting within the jurisdictional categories established by international law.

 

Finally, a Strategy and Roadmap (Rhett Butler, University of Hawaii) takes into account the scientific, business, engineering and legal considerations of this ambitious project; offering a United Nations “strategy and roadmap” to advance the agenda led by ITU, WMO and UNESCO-IOC.

 

The reports’ conclusions will provide fuel to discussions at an upcoming workshop on the subject, 20-21 September, hosted by ITU, WMO and UNESCO-IOC. The workshop is part of the second ITU Green Standards Week in Paris, 17-21 September, an event gathering players from all industry sectors to determine how ‘green ICT’ standards can effect economy-wide improvements in environmental sustainability.

 

More information on the 2nd ITU Green Standards Week

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Thursday, July 26, 2012 12:10:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

10 September 2012 is the submission deadline for academic papers discussing ICT’s role as an essential tool in “Building Sustainable Communities”. Kaleidoscope 2013 will be held at Kyoto University, Japan, 22-24 April, and a prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers, which will also be considered for publication in a special edition of IEEE Communications Magazine.

 

Kaleidoscope events are peer-reviewed academic conferences with the aim of increasing dialogue between academics and experts working on the standardization of ICTs.

 

Kaleidoscope 2013 is being organized by ITU with the technical co-sponsorship of IEEE ComSoc and the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE) of Japan; with financial support from Telkom SA; and in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan, Waseda University, the Institute of Image Electronics Engineers of Japan (I.I.E.E.J.), and the European Academy for Standardization (EURAS).

 

Additionally, Kaleidoscope 2013 recently announced the membership of its Technical Programme Committee, and has attracted two new partners from Japan: the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT), and the Telecommunications Technology Committee (TTC). Research in Motion (RIM) has also offered its support for the event, donating two Blackberry Playbooks as awards for the best papers produced by those eligible for Young Author Recognition Certificates (presented to authors under 30 years old).

 

The aim of the event, detailed in April’s announcement of Kaleidoscope 2013’s theme, is to identify emerging ICT developments able to effect the socio-economic change needed for communities to meet the challenges posed by the new millennium. Sustainable communities will be those that prepare as well as they can for future challenges, and this will require a careful balance of human-centric technology and sound ethical values.

 

ICT standards will be key to enabling the co-evolution of technology and sustainable communities. Developing these standards will require concerted global efforts by stakeholders across industry sectors. Kaleidoscope 2013 therefore promotes collaboration in this regard and will highlight the multidisciplinary nature of future ICTs.

 

Visit the event’s webpage here...

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Thursday, July 26, 2012 9:28:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |