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ITU to start work on standards providing interoperability for telepresence systems

Telepresence is, broadly speaking, next-generation videoconferencing that also takes into account a user’s position, actions and voice to render as close as possible a representation of a real life meeting. Many products exist today that, although based on established protocols including ITU–T H.323, lack interoperability because of proprietary extensions. Telepresence represents an important evolution of the videoconferencing market. Standards providing interoperability between systems are seen as a key way to drive the market. The trend is expected to accelerate, as mainstream video applications begin to offer telepresence features.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, commented: “We don’t expect each end of a phone call to be dependent on the manufacturer of the phone being the same. The same should be true for telepresence. Anyone who has used a telepresence system will testify to its remarkable quality, it truly is the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting. However, proprietary solutions have stifled the market. ITU’s standards initiative will allow us all to profit from this remarkable technology.”

Specifically, the new work will focus on standardizing full interoperability between telepresence systems, including facilitating the coherent presentation of multiple audio and video streams so that participants show correct eye contact and gestures, to give a more real life-like experience.


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