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Question 21/16

Question 21/16   Multimedia framework, applications and services
(Continuation of Questions 21/16, 22/16 and 24/16)


The standardization work in Study Group 16 has resulted in the definition of a number of multimedia systems. ITU T H.610 defines a multiservice system architecture and customer premises equipment architecture for the delivery of video, data and voice services across a VDSL access network to an in-home environment, and the H.700-series defines a family of IPTV protocols. As broadband services over various access technologies have evolved and given that the desire for the delivery of multimedia services to the home has gained attention from service providers, home networking architectural issues and their impact on broader communications must also be considered. With the fast development of smart buildings, smart communities and smart cities, requirements for visual surveillance and related applications and services are fast growing. Definition of requirements, architectures and protocols in support of massive successful commercial deployment of visual surveillance is crucial for this Question. To echo the growth trend in intelligent multimedia services and applications, this Question will focus on architectural and protocol issues for typical intelligent multimedia services and applications such as video contents search, multimedia services and applications for intelligent transportation systems, etc. Furthermore, there is a wide range of fast emerging multimedia services other than traditional multimedia conferencing, which are to be dealt with inside and outside ITU. For example, cloud computing will give rise to new forms of multimedia services and applications since the large computing power embodied in clouds will enable support of rich-media functionalities on thin client devices and attract a large number of users and revolutionize the way people use multimedia services and applications. To cope with these new multimedia services, requirement analysis and definition are important and should be a key area for this Question. There is a need for globally standardized multimedia applications and services, which will fully meet evolving user needs and guarantee the compatibility of multimedia systems and terminals on a worldwide basis.

The objective of this Question is to ensure that the work of multimedia standardization takes place within an architectural framework that promotes integrity of system design, scalability of solutions, reuse of system components, and consistency with the architecture of the broader telecommunication network. Additionally, this Question will study a consistent approach for various generic multimedia applications and services taking into consideration the increasing technical development and convergence of the telecommunication, television and Internet fields and to apply it specifically to the applications and services developed by Study Group 16. The Question can be viewed as addressing multimedia services and applications for "e-everything".

This Question will also address some functions in multimedia service systems that improve service delivery and service implementation are sometimes independent of a particular system and can be provided by common entities or stand-alone systems. Deep-packet inspection (DPI) is one of this functions since DPI can inspect a packet or flow and then identify service/applications types to make identification, control and statistics for various possible applications, to guarantee bandwidth consumption efficiency or quality of experience (QoE) of the subscribed services, etc. Another case is of network-based multimedia delivery functions, which can be used to accelerate media distribution by more efficiently delivering media flows for e.g. IPTV, telepresence and videoconferencing, Internet video, other OTT video services, visual surveillance, and e-learning.

Study items

Study items to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • identify multimedia services and applications that are studied by ITU and other bodies and produce a map of their interrelationship;
  • update the service description methodology in the ITU-T F.700-series to better reflect evolving network services, emerging multimedia services and generic applications;
  • coordinate the work on multimedia architecture with related work being performed in other SDOs and industry forums for home networking, visual surveillance, DPI, user data exchange, content delivery and other broader telecommunication issues;
    consideration of intelligence in multimedia services and applications, aiming at developing architectures and protocols in support of intelligent multimedia systems;
  • identify the services and applications to be explored by Study Group 16 and define their respective scopes, requirements and contribute to the development of technical specifications;
  • study of cloud computing-based multimedia services and applications by identifying requirements, defining architectures and developing underlying protocols;
  • study of service-agnostic network-based multimedia delivery function deployed in the network (for content distribution, caching, storage and delivery). Define mechanisms for the exchange of media control messages that control media flows;
    study service-agnostic multimedia inspection functions to identify service/application types;
  • study service-agnostic multimedia discovery and selection function that are needed to advertise complex descriptions of available services, while customers use this function to compose complex queries to locate a particular network service or service provider from a huge number of accessible services and service providers;
  • study service-agnostic, context awareness adaptation. Multimedia service systems are required to be aware of and adaptive to frequent changes in the environment, such as variable bandwidth, transport delay, device capabilities and instability, etc. when the user accesses the system from different sites/stratuses of network;
  • study transcoding amongst different media formats for audio, video and other data (in coordination with the media coding Questions);
  • study Media streams transport: generic formats and encapsulation methods of various media streams for the purpose of transport over heterogeneous networks (in coordination with relevant IETF WGs such AVT Core);
    study other service-agnostic multimedia functions over NGN and other networks;
  • considerations on how to help measure and mitigate climate change.


Tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • documentation of architectural assumptions made by previous works on multimedia standardization (H- and T-series Recommendations) and production of the scope, use cases, and requirements capture for the services and applications under Study Group 16 responsibility;
  • study the requirements for and, if needed, create F-series Recommendations to cover new applications and services; e.g.:
    • retrieval services, including interactive audiovisual and multimedia services;
    • distribution services, including broadcasting services;
    • e-commerce services or applications;
    • real-time collaboration services;
    • visual surveillance services and applications;
    • intelligent multimedia services and applications;
    • cloud-computing-based multimedia services and applications;
  • develop a generic home network architecture, including security and visual surveillance
    coordinate with ITU-T Study Groups 9, 12, 13, 17, and other study groups and focus groups to advance multimedia services and applications related work;
  • enhancement and maintenance of Recommendations ITU T F.700-703, F.720, F.721, F.723, F.724, F.731-733, F.740-743, F.750, F.761, F.746, H.610, H.611, H.621, H.626, H.627;
  • identification of requirements for service-agnostic multimedia service functions;
  • develop service-agnostic architecture specifications, such as the inspection technology, inspection policy, delivery function, network topologies, robustness, etc.

An up-to-date status of work under this Question is found in the SG 16 work programme (



  • F, G, H, I, Q, T, V, X, Y-series Recommendations under the responsibility of SG 16
  • ITU-T J.160- and J.170-series


  • All Questions of Study Group 16

Study Groups:

  • ITU T SGs 2, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 17 for multimedia-related studies, NGN, IPTV and architectural Questions
  • ITU T SG 5 for ICT and climate change issues
  • ITU R SG 6 for multimedia-related studies and broadcast services and applications

Other Bodies:

  • 3GPP, 3GPP2, OMA, WAC, GSMA RCS for mobile multimedia services and applications
  • Architectural groups within regional telecommunications standardization bodies (ATIS IIF, ETSI TISPAN)
  • IETF for Internet services (particularly the Real Time Application Area, Transport Area, and Internet Area)
  • W3C for Internet multimedia services and applications
  • DMTF for cloud computing related multimedia services and applications
  • IMTC for interoperability
  • Broadband Forum for home network issues and other E2E IP/MPLS network issues
  • ISO, IEC, OASIS and UN/ECE for the MoU on electronic business
  • ISO/IEC JTC1/SCs 25 (Home networking), 29 (MPEG)
  • OMG Telecom Domain Task Force