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 Address for the 12th APT Standardization Program Forum
 Bangkok, Thailand  12 March 2007 
Ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues,

Thank you for inviting me here. It is an honour and a pleasure for me to join with you at this Twelfth APT Standardization Program Forum. This is my first mission as Director of ITU’s Standardisation Bureau since I was elected last November. Greetings from the new Secretary-General Dr Toure and all the elected officials, in particular Mr Zhao my predecessor. I hope to build on his close relationship with you. I am very pleased that attendance at ASTAP is my first mission because I appreciate very much the contribution countries of this region make to ITU-T and I hope that will continue and grow. I hope we will see more Sector Members joining from this dynamic region.

It is very important that our Regional Offices have close a relationship with the regional organisation, and that is clearly the case here, helped no doubt by the proximity of the two offices! I would like to thank the Head of our Bangkok office, Dr Kim for arranging this visit for me and for all her efforts and those of her team in this region.

APT has a difficult challenge to meet the needs of its diverse membership – ranging from huge Indeed, I am proud of the links that have already been established between ITU and APT, thanks to our regional office being based in Bangkok, and the efforts of our staff, and the staff of APT here. I know that APT has taken a leading role as the regional platform for harmonizing telecommunication standardization in the region. So please accept my congratulations for this. Harmonization in the increasingly complicated world of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is no simple matter.

I would like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts with you on future directions for the ITU-T in terms of standardization.

One of the major issues that we as an international standards organization have to deal with is extending the benefits of our work and the opportunities for participation to a wider audience. This is part of bridging the so-called standardization gap. I can assure you that it is something that I take very seriously. Indeed, I am mandated to do so by our members, as outlined in Resolution 123 from the recent Plenipotentiary conference. We will be putting a great deal of effort into researching new tools which will allow remote participation and holding more workshops in developing countries to push the message that the standardization process is open to developing countries and it is important for them to take part. It’s important to note, however, what has already been done to facilitate easier access to our work by developing countries.

I have in the past put a lot of effort into encouraging regional preparations for ITU conferences and this has become very successful. Countries can now participate in the development of regional proposals and have their name on the document, even if they do not have the resources to attend the meeting themselves. Focus groups provide another way for non-members to participate; currently we have a number of active Focus Groups on topics including IPTV and identity management (IdM). Events, especially workshops, are increasingly webcast live and something that is not so commonly known is that chairmen of any ITU-T meeting can invite a non-member to attend as an individual expert. I believe this provision could be used more often to enable participation by researchers, universities, or start-up companies.

In terms of technology, for many, the changes that are sweeping through the ICT industry can be summed up in one word: convergence. And one phrase that we often see to describe this convergence is the ubiquitous network. This is the concept of being able to seamlessly connect anytime, anywhere, by anything and anyone. To some this may present a standardization nightmare. But it is something that the standards community is willingly embracing. Witness the work on next generation networks (NGN) and on RFIDs. Without standards in these areas the growth of these technologies will be severely handicapped.

For services in NGN, IPTV looks to be a key driver. And work here is off to a strong start in ITU-T. The IPTV Focus Group is open to all and so I would encourage you to participate if you aren’t already doing so. Details can be found on the ITU-T website.

Since I started work as TSB Director in January, work has begun in a number of new areas. Just last week in Geneva, we held a workshop on the fully networked car, which was extremely successful with nearly 200 participants. Earlier in the year we held a meeting to explore better collaboration between ITU-T and universities. Additionally, this year, we have set up a Focus Group on a key area of cybersecurity – identity management (IdM). A global IdM solution will help diminish identity theft and fraud. It’s an important area and one in which I am happy and proud to see ITU-T taking a lead.

Indeed, cybersecurity is a key area for ITU-T. We have been working in the field for a long time with added impetus following the last world telecommunication standardization assembly (WTSA) in 2004, when ITU-T held a very successful Cybersecurity Symposium.

Looking to the future and to borrow the Olympic motto, trends are towards “faster, higher, stronger”. The next generation of the most popular broadband enabler, VDSL2, was standardized last year in ITU-T. VDSL2 will push today’s copper-based networks to the limit. Increasingly, we will see their replacement by fibre to the curb, home or office. We only have to look to Asia to see the beginning of this trend. Similarly, today’s 2G mobile networks will be superseded by 3G and we will see more speed in non-cellular wireless technologies such as WiMax.

ITU-T will continue to be at the heart of the research and innovation process in the ICT field. I would like to invite you to become involved in these studies if you are not already. Again, all the details can be found on the ITU website (www.itu.int).

To conclude, I am delighted to say that we enjoy cooperation with organizations, governments, regulators and industry throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I look forward to continuing the good work of my predecessor Mr Houlin Zhao in progressing this collaboration and exploring new ways to engage all players of the APT region in the standardization fields of the future. I very much hope this can be extended to all the countries in the region. My mission is to make ITU-T relevant to the full ITU membership. As I mentioned we will be holding more regional workshops, in particular on the subject of bridging the standardisation divide, and I very much hope that it will be possible to organise such an event in this region in the near future.

I wish you all a productive and informative meeting.

Thank you.

 

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