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Building the Digital Age

As part of its 50th birthday celebrations in 2006, ITU asked its private and public sector members to vote for the most influential ITU standards. The results reflect the growing importance of multimedia and broadband technologies, with almost 43 per cent of respondents nominating video coding standards like H.262/MPEG2-video, H.264, and the JPEG T.80 and T.800 image coding series. A further 9.2 per cent of respondents chose ADSL, which has become the world's most widely deployed broadband technology.

The H.323 family is also one of ITU-T's best-known and most widely adopted group of Recommendations, covering specifications for Voice over IP including call setup, teardown and forwarding/transfer. Many VoIP systems are based on H.323, and with global IP telephony carrier market quarterly revenues above US$1 billion, work has started on the next generation protocols for multimedia communication.

Supporting the boom in multimedia applications, ITU-T's G.993.2 VDSL2 standard represents one of the major achievements of 2006, supporting 100Mbps upstream and downstream transmission rates - a tenfold increase over ADSL. The technology, which is being adopted by telcos worldwide as part of new 'triple-play' bundled voice and multimedia offerings, effectively brings fibre-like performance to premises not directly connected to a fibre optic network, supporting a huge range of high-speed services like high-definition TV, video-on-demand, videoconferencing, very fast Internet and 'intelligent' voice telephony.

Less well-known, perhaps, is ITU's pioneering work in public key encryption technology, which underpins the identity authentication systems increasingly essential to the online exchange of privileged data. By specifying standard formats for public key certificates, along with a robust certification path validation algorithm, ITU-T Recommendation X.509 has become the default industry benchmark for PKI certificates. Building on this, in 2007 ITU-T's Focus Group on Identity Management (IdM) launched a Global Standards Initiative designed to develop a global IdM framework assuring global interoperability.









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Updated : 2009-11-18