ITU-T Study Group 16 designed H.320, H.321, and H.322 (the first generation of Multimedia Systems and Terminals) through 1992, followed by H.323, H.324, and H.310 (the second generation) in 1996. Experience with these systems and the advancement of technology, together with the advent of the NGN and the proliferation of various new kinds new device like smartphones and tablets, creates an opportunity for a new generation of multimedia telecommunication systems offering more integrated features, greater extensibility, and more flexible growth paths for the future. We also observe that while multimedia is in the heart of NGN, so far not much attention was given to the specification of multimedia systems and terminals – a task that clearly falls under the responsibility of ITU-T SG 16.
The Advanced Multimedia System (AMS) will drive the development of a third generation multimedia terminal and system architectures able to support emerging, media rich applications that go beyond the bounds of traditional call-based communication platforms. These applications include highly converged media applications involving multiple personal and public devices, enterprise systems and network services in support of communications, collaboration and entertainment. Specifications arising from this project will enable the development of the terminals and systems, and also inter-communication between systems so applications involving multiple devices and mobile systems can be supported.
The goal of the AMS project is to create a new multimedia terminal and systems architecture that supports distributed and media rich collaboration environments. Earlier interactive multimedia protocols added media to call-based communication establishment protocols enabling multimedia telephony. In contrast, AMS is envisaged as an environment in which a user has many AMS-enabled devices including portable wireless, home entertainment and computer-based devices and is offered many applications and services that are either peer-to-peer or network-provided. The user coordinates activities across all of these environments using the modes that best fit personal and business situation, needs or desires.
An AMS project description has been created and SG16 gathered requirements for the new system. Currently, experts are investigating an architecture for this new system, along call flows and a new JSON-based signaling syntax to support AMS. It is expected that the core AMS system architecture and interfaces will be defined, while applications (such as voice, video, file transfer, and application sharing) will be developed in parallel, thus providing some checks and balances to ensure that the core system sufficiently meets the needs of a variety of applications. At the same time, there is a strong desire to ensure that the complexity of any one component is minimized in order to ensure the highest degree of interoperability and to enable concurrent, independent application development.
The Recommendation number H.325 has been reserved for the main specification that will result from this project. It should be noted that the intent is of producing one or more H-series Recommendations for the expected AMS protocols.