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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 June 2010  
 ITU Group to offer global view of cloud standardization
A new ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing has been formed to enable a global cloud computing ecosystem where interoperability facilitates secure information exchange across platforms. The group will take a global view of standards activity in the field and will define a future path for greatest efficiency, creating new standards where necessary while also taking into account the work of others and proposing them for international standardization.

Cloud computing speeds and streamlines application deployment without upfront capital costs for servers and storage. For this reason, many enterprises, governments and network/service providers are now considering adopting cloud computing to provide more efficient and cost effective network services.

A first brief exploratory phase will determine standardization requirements and suggest how these may be addressed within ITU study groups. Work will then quickly begin on developing the standards necessary to support the global rollout of fully interoperable cloud computing solutions.
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 ITU introduces smart grid standards initiative
Some of the world’s biggest ICT companies have tasked a new ITU group with identifying standards needs for the world’s new Smart Grid deployments, which will bring the benefits of digital technology to the existing electricity network.

The Smart Grid will consist of solutions based on both current and future telecommunication technologies for command and control, metering, and charging. ITU’s new Focus Group will explore these requirements and corresponding standards needs. Further, the idea that Smart Grid principles could apply to the telecommunication system itself could be a topic for discussion.

Many governments have earmarked significant portions of their stimulus packages for Smart Grids. In the United States, for example, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has allocated USD 4.5 billion for investments in the Smart Grid. In Europe, the European Parliament has approved an agreement reached by the EU Institutions on a package of legislation to liberalize energy markets, including electricity and gas directives, which require EU member states to ‘ensure the implementation of intelligent metering systems’.

The Focus Group on Smart Grid will survey existing national standards initiatives to see whether these can be adopted at an international level, and will also perform a gap analysis to identify new standardization requirements that will then be taken forward by relevant ITU-T Study Groups. This exploratory phase will be relatively short before work starts on the development of the standards necessary to support the global rollout of Smart Grid technologies.

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 The future of Ethernet transport
ITU-T and IEEE will hold a joint workshop - The Future of Ethernet Transport - in Geneva, 28 May 2010. The workshop is the fifth in partnership with IEEE and follows two Kaleidoscope events and two workshops in the field of access and transport technologies.

Much work has been done in both organisations to progress Ethernet, developed as an enterprise technology, into a network provider technology or service. The event will focus on opportunities for further collaboration. Long-recognized as the ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade technology. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

Ethernet services are becoming popular because they allow carriers to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. Ethernet allows users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and emerging 100Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, as a transport technology Ethernet provides reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers. And as operators look to NGN and the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet is seen as the best fit, especially given the rise of such services as IP VPNs, VLANs and dedicated Internet access.

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 Report on ITU work on conformity and interoperability
The recent meeting of ITU’s Council saw a report from Malcolm Johnson the Director of the TSB on progress made in implementing work on conformity and interoperability testing as requested by Resolution 76 in 2008 (WTSA-08).

Johnson went on to define various actions, starting with a pilot version of a conformity database which is under development in line with a proposal put to Council-09 and taking account of advice provided by the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) and ITU-T’s Joint Coordination Activity on Conformance and Interoperability Testing (JCA-CIT). He said that the database would only record information provided by companies on conformity of their products to ITU-T Recommendations. Companies input the data into the database themselves. Following the advice of TSAG, access to the database is password protected (TIES) during the development phase.

The second action detailed by Johnson is the establishment of a calendar of “informal” interoperability events, some in partnership with interested SDOs/forums/consortia. The first such interoperability event is to take place on 20-23 July 2010, in Geneva to test ITU-T’s standards for IPTV.

The third action, Johnson said will be the implementation of human resources capacity building events. He said that ITU-T’s secretariat, the TSB and the BDT, are preparing a programme of such events. TSB and BDT are also working together to assist in the establishment of test facilities in developing countries. Discussions with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have already begun and a pilot project has been conducted in Tanzania.

Johnson concluded by confirming that TSB is committed to consulting and collaborating with all ITU-T membership to ensure the successful implementation of Resolution 76.

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 Databases gives SANC/ISPC access
The International signalling point codes (ISPCs) and signalling area/network codes (SANCs) that facilitate all telephone calls are now available to members in an online database.

Previously up-to-date information was only available to subscribers to ITU-T’s freely available Operational Bulletin.

The database provides easier access to the information and also presents it in a machine-readable form.

An ISPC is used in association with signaling system seven (SS7), and acts in a similar way to an IP address in an IP network. It is a unique address for a node to identify the destination of a message.

The action was taken following a request by ITU-T Study Group 11.

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 Study Group 17, work in progress and new work
The recent meeting of ITU-T’s, Study Group 17, saw record attendance with a much increased number of delegates from developing countries. Among the work areas that achieved significant progress at the April meeting were directory services, IdM, and IPTV security.

A key standard (ITU-T Recommendation) on IdM was approved. The Baseline IdM Terms and Definitions is considered one of the basic texts for IdM and provides a solid basis for ensuring interoperability between various emerging IdM solutions.

Also in the field, EVCert, an important tool in the fight against spam is considered likely for first stage a pproval (consent/determination) at the next meeting of SG 17. EVCert is a product of the CA Browser Forum and is a digital certificate based specification combined with an array of processes and protocols for significantly enhanced organization/provider trust and related transport layer encryption. Approval as an ITU standard (ITU-T Recommendation) will push EVCert forward as the principal global specification for organization/provider trust. EVcert enables special features in web browsers or other compliant programs. The standard also has the backing of the Liberty Alliance federated trust organization.

New work is considered in several new areas:
  • Work will start to develop a new standard outlining the basic rules necessary to build national revenue assurance protection systems. The proposal to start the work notes that last year fraud in telecommunication networks decreased revenue of telecommunication companies by 12-15 per cent.
  • A new work item on reducing spam in mobile networks focusing on SMS/MMS was proposed and agreed.
  • In the area of cloud computing work will progress in two new areas. Firstly the collection of security requirements and a proposed framework outlining the cloud based telecom environment. In addition security guidelines for cloud computing will be developed to help service providers deploy cloud computing.

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 Addressing security challenges on a global scale: Workshop
ITU-T’s Study Group 17 will hold a workshop Addressing security challenges on a global scale in Geneva, 6 (afternoon)-7 December 2010. The event will focus on how ITU and other standards developing organizations (SDOs) address the main challenges of information and communication security.

A call for abstracts with a deadline for 15 June 2010 has been issued with suggested topics including:
  • Emerging applications of PKI
  • Collaboration for ICT security standardization
  • Developing countries challenges
  • Cloud computing: Threat or opportunity
  • The cloud in the telecom space
  • Identity in the cloud
  • Smart grid security
  • Assurance, making cybersecurity measurable
  • Identity management (IdM)
  • CIRTs, sharing of information
  • Security awareness
  • IPv6 Security
  • Telebiometrics standardization
  • Meeting regulatory obligations
The workshop is also expected to provide a good opportunity to overview new areas of security studies including Smart Grid and Cloud Computing.

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   Cybersecurity Information Exchange Framework (CYBEX): Update
April’s meeting of ITU-T’s cybersecurity group (SG 17) saw a presentation on progress on the six months of work on the Cybersecurity Information Exchange Framework (CYBEX).

CYBEX imports more than twenty best of breed standards for platforms developed over the past several years by government agencies and industry to enhance cybersecurity.

These platforms capture and exchange information about the security "state" of systems and devices, about vulnerabilities, about incidents such as cyber attacks, and related knowledge "heuristics." The Framework pulls these platforms together in a coherent way to provide for 1) “locking down” on-line systems to minimize vulnerabilities, 2) capturing incident information for analysis when network harmful incidents occur, and 3) facilitating evidence for enforcement action if necessary.

The presentation noted a close collaborative relationship with the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) - a global organization for coordination and co-operation among Computer Emergency Response Teams.

A wiki-based initial compilation of discovered CIRTs and related agencies and bodies to the SG17 website at:

See previous newslog entry for more information on CYBEX.

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  Fully Networked Car has an Electric Future?
The Fully Networked Car@Geneva Motor Show concluded in Geneva, March 4 with participants calling for better cross-sector standards collaboration in order to facilitate the rollout of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “There is a will from manufacturers to implement these technologies but thus far no real breakthrough in terms of standards needed to roll this out on a global scale. Global car manufacturers don’t want to create different versions of this technology for every different market. They don’t want regional or national standards, they want global standards and ITU and its World Standards Cooperation (WSC) partners ISO and IEC are willing and able to provide these for this global partnership.”

New services and applications may be the selling points that will win car makers an advantage in the depressed market. “Today's communication capabilities give cars the potential to foresee and avoid collisions, navigate the quickest route to their destination, make use of up-to-the-minute traffic reports, identify the nearest available parking slot, alert the emergency services, monitor air pollution, minimize carbon emissions, and provide multimedia communications,” said Johnson.

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 ICT Events Calendar
TSB, ITU-T’s secretariat has published an online calendar of ICT events.

The calendar is a resource for all visitors to the website and aims to track ICT events around the world which may be of interest to ITU members and others.

New events should be sent to

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Updated : 2010-05-24