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CTOs call for action to streamline global standardization landscape

Geneva, 8 November 2010 - A group of twenty-three leaders from the information and communication technology (ICT) sector and senior management of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) met for the second annual meeting of Chief Technology Officers (CTO) in Paris. They agreed on a set of recommendations to modernize the current ICT standardization landscape and set priorities for new issues in standards work.

The CTOs reaffirmed that standardization is one of the essential building blocks of the Information Society and of the global ICT networks that power trade, commerce, sustainable development, healthcare, education, literacy, and entertainment. Today, standards are not only the technical blueprints necessary for interoperability and connectivity within global information infrastructures. They are also tools with significant public policy and economic consequences.

Faced with an ever-growing number of standards bodies and consortia, the CTOs called for immediate steps to streamline and modernize the standards landscape and endorsed the need for a new approach, based on collaboration, cooperation and coordination, to improve the efficiency of standards work, reduce duplicating and conflicting standards and promote a seamless, interoperable future global communications network. As a result of the review, the CTOs initially identified, in addition to ITU, a number of regional and national standards bodies that are key standardization organizations. It was recognized that additional work is needed to further develop the concept into multi-dimensional ecosystems for different markets and technologies, pre- and post-standardization, and appropriate links and cooperation among the different bodies, given the technological convergence that is taking place.

At the opening of the meeting, Mr Jean-Philippe Vanot, Deputy CEO Orange FT Group, welcomed the progress made by the ITU and UNESCO-led Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which is promoting the adoption of broadband-friendly practices and policies to enable the entire world to take advantage of the benefits offered by broadband.

Malcolm Johnson, the recently re-elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: “The full benefits of the information society cannot be realized without interoperability of applications, devices and services based on global standards. The advice of the CTOs is very important if ITU is to continue to meet this objective.”

Interoperability, competition, innovation, and infrastructure development that address user needs on a timely and cost effective basis is important to all countries, including developing countries. The CTOs discussed the ITU Conformance Assessment and Interoperability Programme and expressed their concerns that the programme should not increase costs or delay deployment of infrastructure. Specific recommendations were made for future ITU interoperability events, such as those recently held in Geneva and Singapore.

The CTOs also reviewed the implementation of actions decided at their first meeting held in Geneva in October 2009 and addressed a number of emerging issues and their impact on standardization, such as future networks and services, broadband, infrastructure for telemedicine and e-health, monitoring and mitigating climate change, and better early warning and disaster relief applications and services.

A renewed call for increased contributions to the ITU-T Voluntary Fund on Bridging the Standardization Gap was seen as a means to help developing countries obtain the necessary capability to participate effectively in global standardization work.

The CTOs appreciated the establishment of the ITU-T Focus Groups on Smart Grids and Cloud Computing in response to their recommendations, as they will play an important role in addressing the standards needs of emerging products and services.

The CTOs were also supportive of further work on intelligent transport systems (ITS) to include standards that will help reduce driver distraction and improve road-user behaviour, and called for greater awareness of how ITS can increase the capacity of existing transport networks and so reduce the need for expensive new networks.

CTOs urged ITU-T to:

  • take a leading role to collaborate, coordinate and cooperate with other bodies developing standards for future networks
  • to produce specification releases in the fixed networks
  • continue its work in promoting the development and use of early warning and disaster relief applications and services
  • continue to take a leading role in the United Nations Digital Healthcare Initiative


ITU will host the next meeting of CTOs from leading companies of the ICT industry, representing major telecom operators and manufacturers as well as software vendors, in October 2011 in Geneva to coincide with the 40th anniversary holding of ITU TELECOM WORLD.

CTOs or equivalents from the following companies participated at the meeting: Alcatel-Lucent, Mr Didier Berthoumieux; China Unicom, Mr Fan Zhang; Cisco, Ms Monique Morrow; Ericsson, Mr Jonas Sundborg; Freescale, Mr Ken Hansen; Fujitsu Mr Kazuo Murano; Huawei, Mr Wang Xuemin; KDDI, Mr Shigeyuki Akiba; KT, Mr Doo Whan Choi; Microsoft, Mr Daniel Reed; NEC, Mr Hidenobu Harasaki; NSN, Mr Sigurd Schuster; NTT, Mr Naohide Nagatsu; Orange FT Group, Mr Philippe Lucas; Psytechnics, Mr Paul Barrett; RIM, Mr Atul Asthana; Telecom Italia, Mr Stefano Nocentini; Telefónica, Mr Cayetano Carbajo; Telkom South Africa, Mr Richard Majoor; Telstra, Mr Hugh Bradlow; Ukrtelecom JSC, Mr Viktor Pinchuk; Verizon, Mr Leslie Martinkovics; ZTE, and Mr David Huo. Vodafone was not present but contributed.

The official communiqué from the meeting can be found at: www.itu.int/ITU-T/tsb-director/cto/.


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