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Telecommunication Standardization Sector 

 April 2011  
 App Challenge targets climate change - Cash prize for most innovative concept
ITU has launched a Green ICT Application Challenge to find the best and most innovative idea for a climate change focused app. The winning concept will be awarded USD10,000, thanks to challenge sponsors Research in Motion (RIM) and Telefónica.

As well as the cash prize, the winner will be invited to present their concept to a prestigious audience at ITU’s Green Standards Week in Italy in September. In addition, the winning app may be developed and showcased during a side event to be held at the COP-17 climate change talks in South Africa in December.

Full press release

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 ITU agrees options for measuring international Internet traffic flow
A document agreed at a recent ITU meeting gives developing countries tools that will allow them to negotiate better rates for Internet connectivity (IIC). Agreement was reached at a meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 3 and following an ITU-T Workshop on IP traffic flow measurement.

The agreement was a breakthrough following many years of negotiation (see here for some historical background).

The agreed document is a supplement to Recommendation ITU-T D.50 which recommends how those involved in the provision of international Internet connections negotiate and agree to bilateral commercial arrangements enabling direct international Internet connections that take into account the possible need for compensation between them for the value of elements such as traffic flow, number of routes, geographical coverage and cost of international transmission amongst others.

Specifically the supplement focuses on how IP traffic flows can be measured at different points, including at Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) at interconnect points. The ability to manage this without a change to BGP was one point of contention. The agreement also acknowledges that that traffic flow can be measured via BGP without any change to that protocol as well as there are a variety of ways that traffic flow can be measured.

The agreement is also considered a step forward in fulfilling the mandate given to ITU in Resolution 101 from last year’s Plenipotentiary conference. The Resolution asks ITU to “…continue the study of international Internet connectivity as an urgent matter, as called for in § 50 d) of the Tunis Agenda, and to call upon ITU-T, in particular Study Group 3 which has responsibility for Recommendation ITU-T D.50, to complete as soon as possible its studies that have been ongoing since WTSA-2000.”In June 2004 an amendment to ITU-T Recommendation D.50 was made to set out general considerations for parties to negotiate Internet interconnection. These considerations can be used to assist two parties to an interconnection agreement to negotiate in a more harmonized way. The latest agreement builds on this.

The area is a key concern for ITU as it was mandated by WSIS to examine the topic.

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 3D hot topic at ITU and MPEG meetings
ITU was, pleased to host a meeting of the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) in parallel with the ITU-T Study Group 16 (Multimedia) meeting. Through MPEG, the ITU and ISO/IEC have formed the Joint Collaborative Team on video coding (JCT-VC) working on the successor to H.264 (also standardized as ISO/IEC 14496-10, or MPEG-4 AVC), the Emmy award winning video coding standard.

There was a demonstration of emerging 3D TV technologies such as autostereoscopic displays (similar to that used in the new Nintendo 3DS but on a larger scale). This new technology allows for 3D viewing without glasses.

Current extensions to the widely used H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec are deployed in Blu-ray 3D discs that provide a stereo 3D experience, and also in the "frame-compatible" stereoscopic 3D video used in emerging broadcast applications.

The successor to H.264 – working title HEVC – is work in progress with approval expected in early 2013. Experts say that at the time H.264 was first approved there was no real market demand for 3D and so 3D support was essentially put into the standard later as a work around – even though it provides excellent levels of quality. Discussions continue on which kind of native support for 3D could eventually be incorporated in HEVC.

This work is complementary to that of ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector which is focusing on a framework for 3D TV broadcasting systems.

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 Standards need to protect children online
Standardization experts are being asked to examine security-related guidelines/standards on child online protection issues.

The latest Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) meeting invited experts in ITU’s security standardization group (Study Group 17) to examine issues including:
  • The development of interoperable standards and related recommendations to protect children online. The aim would be to develop a widely shared approach which could be promoted across the whole industry.
  • Evaluating what options and possibilities exist for real global coordinated and consistent action to protect children online. Attention should be given to the elaboration of those capabilities (e.g. watch and warning and incident management) that would facilitate the gathering of threats and information sharing among different players.
  • Identifying the commonalities that span the different industry sectors (broadcasters, Internet, mobile) with the purpose of developing Codes of Conduct, or code of practices to help ITU Member States collaborate more effectively with the private sector/industry.
  • Establish cooperative arrangements between government and the private sector/industry for sharing information and developing specific capabilities aimed at mitigating the risks and extending the potential of ICT usage by children.
ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative was launched in November 2008 as a multi-stakeholder effort to bring together partners from all sectors of the global community to ensure a safe online experience for children everywhere.

SG17 is expected to play a major role in technical aspects on COP, given that security, cybersecurity and identity management are already now being recognized as key fields of potential interest. Several SG17 work items (in ITU parlance Questions) are relevant, and experts from membership are encouraged to contribute.

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 MPLS-TP: The facts
With ITU’s recent announcement on an OAM standard for MPLS in transport networks generating claims from the Internet Society that it will jeopardize the Internet, counter claims and much press coverage it seems the right time to set the record straight.

The technology at the heart of the debate is operations and management (OAM) for Transport MPLS. MPLS-TP refers to an adaptation of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)'s MPLS protocol for telecom networks. MPLS can carry packets of different types, allowing telecom operators to offer private connections as well as IP services.

ITU-T Study Group 15 working on MPLS-TP voted 25, February 2011, to proceed with its own OAM solution, rather than only working with the IETF on the development its preferred OAM solution. This step was taken since, despite the agreement between the two organizations to work together, the OAM solution being developed by the IETF does not satisfy the requirements of some members of the ITU.

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 Take part in the World Standards Day 2011 poster competition!
A competition open to all has been launched to design a poster for World Standards Day, 14 October, on the theme, “International Standards – Creating confidence globally”.

The competition is being held by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), which comprises the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The designer(s) of the best poster will win 1 500 Swiss francs, with the three runners-up receiving 500 Swiss francs each. compete, designers should send their entries in .jpg or .png format to the following e-mail address:

Submissions will be accepted until 30 April.IEC, ISO and ITU representatives will choose the finalists. The shortlisted entries will be published on the WSC Website. The general public will choose the winning designs. Each finalist entry will have a Facebook “Like" button. The entries to receive the largest amount of Facebook “likes” will win the competition. Voting will open on 5 April and close on 30 April. IEC, ISO and ITU will announce the winners shortly after. People can follow the World Standards Day poster competition on Twitter and Facebook.

The WSC partners comment, “We hope to see your inspiring creations that will no doubt establish fruitful conversations between individuals, businesses and organizations across the globe about the role of standards in increasing global confidence.”

Any questions about the competition should be sent to:, Twitter or Facebook.

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 New joint standards initiative on intelligent transport systems - Leading organizations pool resources to address bottlenecks
Leading global standards organizations ITU and ISO have announced the creation of a partnership in the burgeoning field of intelligent transport systems (ITS).

Industry experts who gathered for the recent ISO/ITU/IEC Fully Networked Car event at the Geneva Motor Show agreed that the next twenty years will see a huge shift towards ITS. Today’s communications capabilities give the potential for vehicles 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, minimize their carbon emissions and provide multimedia communications

Full press release

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 First meeting of new Internet of Things group
The first meeting of ITU’s Global Standards Initiative on the Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) will take place 9-13 May in Geneva. IoT is the realization of the idea that anything can be connected at anytime from any place. The concept of connecting any kind of object to the Internet may be one of the biggest standardization challenges yet.

ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) and its membership are at the forefront of standards development in the field. The presentation here highlights some of the work so far.

With the benefit of integrated information processing capacity, many products will take on smart capabilities. They may take on electronic identities that can be queried remotely, or be equipped with sensors for detecting physical changes around them. Embedding intelligence in to our environment in this way will stimulate the creation of innovative products and new business opportunities.

The success of the Internet of Things depends on the existence and smooth and interoperability of global standards.

IoT-GSI will provide a single location for information on and development of IoT standards. This new Global Standards Initiative will give greater impetus and coordination to existing work and provide a common working platform by collocating meetings of IoT-related groups to develop the standards necessary for global IoT deployment. Taking into account the work done in other standards development bodies will also be crucial. Indeed this has already been a strong focus of work to date and ITU is actively seeking the participation of these entities in order to work towards a truly global solution.

For additional information see or contact

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 Cloud progress comes with call for greater interoperability
ITU’s Focus Group on Cloud Computing met in April with increased industry support for standards to support worldwide interoperability. Cloud security was also a key topic on the agenda of the group and especially relevant given that subscribing to a cloud model involves complete outsourcing of services and data. The meeting identified these two topics, intercloud relationships and security, as important study items for ITU-T to take forward.

The Focus Group met at the same time as Google vice president, Vint Cerf addressed US National Institute of Standards and Technology's third cloud computing workshop in Gaithersburg, US telling them that cloud interoperability and security remain serious concerns (see here).

Industry experts forming the Focus Group have completed a survey of standards organizations focusing on cloud and begun the process of identifying gaps that can be filled and where that work can be done. The meeting also saw the appointment of a new Vice-chairman: Olivier Colas, Microsoft.

Technical Specifications from the Focus Group are expected by end 2011. The group has identified 15 active organisations in Cloud Computing and established official liaisons with other SDOs including ISO, DMTF, CSA, NIST. The Focus Group has identified several work items to be developed within ITU-T including; the cloud ecosystem; security; cloud architecture; cloud networking; inter-cloud relationships; eco-friendly cloud; accessibility; cloud terminal and cloud management.

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Updated : 2011-04-28