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TSB Director's Corner

Malcolm Johnson, TSB Director
Malcolm Johnson was Re-elected Director
of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2010. He took office on 1 January 2007.
In my last year as Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) of ITU I am proud to be able to reflect on the many great achievements of ITU-T in the years since I was first elected to this post in 2006.
 
Highlights have included accepting a Primetime Emmy award in Hollywood for the video codec standard ITU-T H.264, the WTSA-08 with its many firsts, and the landmark World Conference on International Communications (WCIT’s) revision of the important global treaty, the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) in 2012.
 
Since 2006 ITU-T has gone from strength-to-strength in meeting the demands of the ICT industry and the increasingly wide participation in the work of the Sector. We have been able to reverse the downward trend in membership and especially noteworthy are the number of academic institutions that have joined the Sector and become active in its work.
 
The development of technologies that increase the capacity of transport and access networks has long been an area in which ITU leads. The new standards have focused on ways to keep operational and capital expenditure low. They have provided the means to migrate to packet-base technologies, and standards for optical transport and access networks have played a major role in the growth of the Internet. These are not the standards that grab the headlines but they are at the heart of the ICT networks that underpin our increasingly digital lives.
 
Of the headline grabbers, G.fast is a technology that will bring fibre like speeds over the traditional copper wiring that still connects many homes and offices around the world. The new video codec standard ITU-T H.265 made headlines around the world and looks set to be another game changer in the video world. Also making international news was ITU’s spearheading of a worldwide move to universal chargers that can be used with a variety of ICT devices. The global savings in terms of e-waste enabled by this standard are potentially enormous, as are the greenhouse gas savings facilitated by the reduced power use. Sometimes it is the simplest solutions that are the best!
 
An important milestone for global e-health standardization has been achieved with a new standard, Recommendation ITU-T H.810, which will better enable interoperability between e-health devices. Intelligent transport, an area which has shown great promise but little progress, is finally gaining some traction with the vehicle manufacturing industry now part of the process. Indeed the challenge of integrating the needs of the vertical sectors will be one of the major issues facing ITU-T in coming years. For example, to make effective, implementable standards for e-health we need the participation of the medical profession; for e-banking we need the banks, and so on. This is why WTSA-12 set up the Review Committee to analyze how to create a better standardization environment for everyone.
 
I am proud to have been Director of the TSB during a period when the industry and ITU-T has faced such a massive transformation. The geographical scope of the organization has greatly increased with the participation now of many developing countries, resulting in more emphasis on meeting their specific needs. If ITU is to achieve its mission – to Connect the World – then this is imperative.
 
I look forward to my last 12 months in TSB during which I hope we will build further on these achievements and provide a solid foundation for my successor at the beginning of 2015.
 


Malcolm Johnson
Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau

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