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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 November 2010  
 ICT as an enabler for smart water management
A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report provides an overview of the innovative role that information and communication technologies (ICT) play in smart water management. The report also surveys current and forthcoming standardisation work in the field of smart wa­ter management.

Economic growth, seasonal climatic conditions and rising population are all affecting avail­ability of water resources. Moreover, a number of effects linked to climate change, such as lengthy droughts and extreme weather events, are worsening the situation. Water short­ages are at the core of many of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), one of which is to reduce by half the number of people without safe access to water by 2015. According to the UN World Water Development Report, by 2050, at least one in four peo­ple is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of freshwater.

Technologies such as semantic sensor web, remote sensing with satellite and geographical information systems can be used innovatively by water authorities to obtain information in real time about water use, to track and forecast the level of rivers and to identify new sources of fresh water. With the impact of climate change, sole reliance on historical hy­drologic weather patterns is no longer a viable forecast for water authorities. The availabil­ity of information about current conditions in a particular situation on a timely basis is cru­cial for decision making in water resource management. For instance, flood water man­agement is a dynamic process, changing daily, weekly or monthly, depending on weather conditions and how ecosystems respond to climate variability.

ICT provides a unique opportunity for water stakeholders to obtain information in near real time about a number of physical and environmental variables such as temperature, soil moisture levels, rainfall, and others through web enabled sensors and communication networks, and can thus have accurate information about the situation at hand (without physically being there) for their forecasts and decisions. Smart metering technologies can also provide individuals, businesses and water companies with near real-time information about their own water use, thus raising awareness about usage, locating leakages and having better control over water demand.

The Report can be downloaded from a dedicated website which provides additional sources of information and an overview of ITU-T Study Groups with standardisation work related to water.
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 ITU Contribution to Guardian blog
Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Malcolm Johnson, has be­come a regular contributor to the Guardian’s Low carbon ICT blog.

Two articles to date:

Time to recognise the power of ICT for environmental change

We need a level playing field to measure carbon emissions from ICT

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 Undersea cables for climate monitoring
A new ITU-T Technology Watch Report highlights how submarine cables can be used as a real-time global network to monitor climate change and to provide tsunami warnings.

Future generations of cables and associated components could have the capacity to di­rectly measure climate variables, such as water temperature, salinity and pressure on the ocean floor. All this could be achieved over long periods of time at low cost.

Despite a wide range of tools to monitor oceans, oceanographers cannot measure water variables at the sea floor. Using Submarine Communications Networks to Monitor the Climate highlights how new and old submarine telecommunication cables could fill this gap.

The report, by Yuzhu You of the Institute of Marine Science, University of Sydney, Austra­lia invites ITU experts to study the topic further, particularly with a view to identifying ar­eas for standardization.

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 CTOs call for action to streamline global standardization landscape
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.

    Full press release
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 Climate change group meets this week in Geneva
ITU-T’s Study Group 5 on environment and climate change meets this week in Geneva and has seen record levels of attendance and contributions; including 11 new countries participating for the first time.

The group, which recently adopted the universal mobile phone charger, is working on – among other things – a set of methodologies for ICT companies to measure their carbon footprint, and to estimate the considerable saving in global green house gas emissions that can be achieved through the use of ICTs.

Also on the table at that this meeting are several proposals relating to electromagnetic fields (EMF) issues. EMF was the subject of a new Resolution at the recent Plenipotentiary Conference tasking ITU to increased its work in the area. This meeting will see a new ITU-T Recommendation on “Monitoring of the EMF level” put forward for consent (first stage approval). The proposed standard will give guidance for monitoring of EMF and provide the general public with clear and easily available data concerning EMF levels.

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 Workshop on accessibility identifies priorities for international standardization
An international workshop on accessibility has identified priority areas where the develop­ment of International Standards could ease the lives of the estimated 650 million people worldwide with some form of accessibility problem.

The workshop “Accessibility and the contribution of International Standards” was organ­ized on 3 to 5 November 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland, by the World Standards Coopera­tion (WSC), which is the focal point for strategic cooperation set up by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A core objective of the workshop was to lay the groundwork for a road map of future initiatives on accessibility standards and related support for these standards, with the involvement of the key stakeholders.

After three days of input and discussion, the recommendations were viewed as highest priority for consideration by the WSC organizations:
  • Establish a "Strategic Advisory Group on Accessibility” between the WSC organizations
  • Develop a common accessibility policy between the WSC organizations
  • Encourage national members of the WSC organizations to actively promote the im­plementation of accessibility standards
  • Strengthen WSC organization linkages with the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and with disabilities organizations Revise ISO/IEC Guide 71: 2001, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities, to ensure consistent concepts in the area of accessibility
  • Identify accessibility-related content in proposed new standards of the WSC organi­zations
Key stakeholder groups participating in the Geneva workshop included disability organiza­tions and consumer groups, governments and regulators, product designers, manufactur­ers and industry addressing accessibility needs, and standards developers from around the world. Under discussion were the current and future needs in the field of accessibility, as well as the possible contributions international standardization can make in facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.

Among those attending the opening plenary were: Wan Hea Lee, on behalf of Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Convention for the rights of per­sons with disabilities; Imed Eddine Chaker, International Disability Alliance, represented through the Arab Organization of Disabled Persons, Chairman of the Tunisian National Un­ion of the Blind (UNAT); Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, Unit for the Integration of People with Disabilities, and Joan Durocher (USA), Executive Director, US National Council on Disability.

   For more on this story
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 Call for Abstracts issued for The Fully Networked Car@Geneva Motor Show 2011
The sixth Fully Networked Car@Geneva Motor Show will take place 2-3 March 2011.

A call for abstracts has been issued with authors encouraged to submit presentations on a variety of topics including the environmental impact of electric vehicles; wireless systems and, a key focus this year, managing driver distraction.

Texting, making calls, and other interaction with in-vehicle information and communica­tion systems while driving is a serious source of driver distraction and increases the risk of traffic accidents. Standards and design guidelines for these systems and devices, whether portable or fixed in the vehicle, can contribute to decreasing driver distraction, allowing the driver to focus on the road ahead.

Held during the Geneva International Motor Show, The Fully Networked Car is in a unique position to engage the ICT sector with the motor industry. For the sixth year running, the event will bring together key players involved in the development of technologies and standards, as well as other major industry representatives.

International standards organizations, ITU, ISO and IEC host the event bringing together key players involved in the development of technologies and standards, as well as other major industry representatives.

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