We encounter ITU's international standards every day without knowing it. A hidden part of the information and communication (ICT) networks and devices we all use every day, ITU standards are rarely perceived by users but vital in enabling the interconnection and interoperability of ICT equipment and devices manufactured by hundreds of thousands of different companies around the world. ITU standards provide developers with a global market, enabling economies of scale in production and deployment that translate into benefits for users in both cost and functionality.
An estimated 95 per cent of international communications traffic runs over optical transport networks built in conformance with ITU standards. ITU standards define the Terabit-capable Optical Transport Network as well as advanced broadband access technologies such as 40-Gigabit-capable Fibre to the Home (NG-PON2) and G.fast, a standard taking broadband access speeds over traditional telephone wires beyond 2 Gigabits per second (Gbits/s).
Video will account for over 80 per cent of all Internet traffic by 2020. The majority of this video traffic will be coded using international standards developed in collaboration by IEC, ISO and ITU. This collaborative work has been honoured with two Primetime Emmy Awards, the first in 2008 in recognition of ITU H.264 'Advanced Video Coding' and the second in 2018 in recognition of ITU H.265 'High Efficiency Video Coding'.
High priority has been assigned to ITU-T standardization work on the non-radio elements of IMT-2020 (5G) systems. Software-driven network management and orchestration continues to transform telecom operations. ITU-T's 5G work is supporting this transformation with the development of new standards for networking innovation, the evolution of the transport network, and environmental sustainability.
More than 50 cities worldwide are measuring their progress using 'Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities' based on ITU standards. ITU-T standardization work for the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities supports interoperability and efficient data processing and management. This work continues to build collaboration between standards developers and city leaders, helping smart city innovators to innovate efficiently and at scale.
Standards need standards-making bodies. ITU's Telecommunication Standardardization Sector (ITU-T) plays a crucial role in defining the core transport and access technologies that underpin communications networks around the world. Today's advanced wireless, broadband and multimedia technologies are all powered by ITU standards.