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 Monday, August 27, 2012

ITU regrets to announce the death of Professor John Larmouth (1941-2012), a great contributor to the work of ITU-T and a lifelong proponent of the virtues of international standardization.

John embarked on his career in computing at Cambridge University where he earned a PhD in Pure Mathematics and Computing. After another ten years at Cambridge, as a researcher and technical officer involved in the provision of the university’s computing service, John took up a position at the University of Salford, where he founded and directed the university’s Information Technology Institute and retired as Professor Emeritus of Telematics.

Alongside his academic career, John’s active involvement in international standardization spanned thirty four years; beginning in 1978, and leading to his 2001 founding of Larmouth Training & Protocol Design Services Ltd., a consultancy specializing in ASN.1, biometrics, and computer protocol design using ASN.1.

For the past 14 years, John served as a Rapporteur in ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security), playing a crucial role in the successful development and implementation of ASN.1 (Abstract Syntax Notation One), and particularly in the notation’s support for XML (Extensible Markup Language). He worked as the Editor of ITU-T Recommendations and ISO and IECInternational Standards, including ITU-T X.1082, IEC 80000-14 and several standards in ISO/IEC JTC1/SC37 (Biometrics).  He was Rapporteur and Convenor of the joint work on ASN.1, Object Identifiers (OIDs) and associated registration in ITU-T SG 17 and JTC1/SC6.

ASN.1 is a standardized notation used to describe the data structures carried by messages exchanged between communicating parts. Ratified as a standard in 1984, the industry-shaping specification languagetoday boasts a long record of reliability and interoperability, supporting the exchange of information in any form (audio, video and data) and used in applications ranging from telecommunications to parcel tracking, power distribution, banking and biomedicine. The success of ITU-T’s series of ASN.1 standards was in large part due to John’s prowess as a writer and editor of technical standards, with the adoption of this series owing a great deal to his role in increasing the clarity of successive editions.  His book, ASN.1 Complete, is available on the web and in print.

Many standards define certain objects for which unambiguous identification is required. This is achieved through the assignment of an object identifier (OID) to an object by a Registration Authority, making the assignment available to all interested parties. The naming structure is a ‘tree’ structure that allows the identification of objects in a local or international context, without being limited by registration authorities or the number of objects they can register.  John’s leadership in this effort included authoring the 2010 ITU Handbook on Object identifiers (OIDs) and their registration authorities.

John is survived by wife, Carol, and twins, Sarah-Jayne and James.

John will be sorely missed by all those who have had the pleasure of working with him. Those who wish to offer their condolences to John’s family are encouraged to do so in this Condolence Book.


Monday, August 27, 2012 9:48:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Innovation-stifling use of intellectual property to be tackled

Geneva, 6 July 2012 – In light of recent patent disputes that have caused shipments of goods to be impounded at docks and the worldwide increase in standard essential patent (SEP) litigation, ITU will host a high-level roundtable discussion between standards organizations, key industry players and government officials at ITU headquarters in Geneva, on 10 October 2012.

The ITU Patent Roundtable will address the worldwide surge in patent litigation and the growing lack of adherence to standards bodies’ existing patent policies. Topics include potential improvements to existing policy frameworks, entitlement to injunctive reliefs, and definitions of what constitutes a royalty base.

Discussions on the relevance of current arrangements based around reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) patent policies will be a key focus. RAND-based policies have thus far been an effective way of managing natural tensions between patent holders, standards implementers and end-users. However, the definition of what constitutes ‘reasonable’, and whether or not holders of SEPs are entitled to injunctive relief are now emerging as major points of contention.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:26:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paris meeting to accelerate work on ‘green ICT’ policies and standards
Geneva, 01 August 2012 – ITU’s second annual ‘Green Standards Week’ (GSW), to be held in Paris from 17-21 September, will stimulate the creation of international ‘green ICT’ standards with a view to further expanding the capabilities of information and communication technologies to boost environmental efficiency across all industry sectors.

Organized by ITU and TechAmerica Europe and hosted by Microsoft, it will gather policy makers, regulators, private sector entities, research institutes and standards development organizations (SDOs) to discuss the standardization of ICT from an environmental perspective. A High-Level Segment featuring key industry and government figures will discuss the role of global standards in spreading access to green ICT, as well the development of new standards that reflect the interdependence of industry sectors.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3:23:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |