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INTERNATIONAL MULTIMEDIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONSORTIUM (IMTC) HONORS ITU-T FOR ITS ROLE IN CREATING FIRST DIGITAL VIDEO TELEPHONY STANDARD

IMTC Leadership Award Presented at Fall Forum 2000 to ITU Standardization Expert Groups led by Drs. Sakae Okubo and Norman D. Kenyon

SAN RAMON, CA and GENEVA, Switzerland, December 19, 2000 – The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. (IMTC), an organization that facilitates development of interoperable communications products and services based on open standards, recently presented its Leadership Award to the former International Telecommunication Union (ITU) CCITT Specialists Group on Coding for Visual Telephony and Systems Group (1984-1990). Presented at the recent IMTC Fall Forum 2000 in San Antonio, Texas, the award recognizes their work developing the first digital video telephony standard.

Matt Collier, president of the IMTC and Vice President, Global Business Development Polycom, Inc., said, “This award was given to the ITU for its historic role in setting a video codec standard (CCITT H.261) and a system standard (CCITT H.320, CCITT H.221, CCITT H.243). These ITU standards have become the common root for other successful multimedia codec and systems standards, including the second generation of ITU-T conversational multimedia systems (H.323, H.324), but also for ISO/IEC JTC1 MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 systems and media codecs.”

Although the award was presented to the ITU Specialist Group, the IMTC recognized outstanding contributions by the Special Rapporteurs Dr. Sakae Okubo, a Fellow Researcher of Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan, for his efforts on Q3/XV Visual telephone systems including videoconferencing and videophone and Dr. Norman D. Kenyon for his innovative work on the Q4/XV Harmonization of audiovisual systems. Each received an individual IMTC Leadership Award.

Dr. Okubo said, “I’m honored by this industry recognition that I gratefully share with my colleague, Dr. Kenyon, and each member of the ITU Groups. The members contributed their time, expertise, skill and insights to developing this technical standard that has become an essential building block for the international telecommunications industry.”

Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, Member of the IMTC Board and the Chief Engineer, Head of Multimedia and Application Standardization, Enterprise Systems, Siemens; AG, accepted the Leadership Award in San Antonio and later presented it to Houlin Zhao, the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunications Standardization Bureau (TSB), during ceremonies at the ITU Study Group 16, Multimedia Services and Systems meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Sebestyen said, “I’m particularly pleased that the ITU standardization experts were recognized for their efforts. Their truly pioneering work made the first multimedia communication over ISDN possible and they introduced certain technical solutions that were later taken over and successfully utilized in such ‘remote’ standards and applications as digital television or DVD.”

Mr. Zhao expressed his thanks on behalf of the ITU-T to IMTC for the unusual gift, which shows a valuable recognition by the telecom industry of the ITU-T's contribution to the technology development in this area. Global acceptance of the standard clearly demonstrates the importance, value and worth of our toil in the past, today and as we go forward seeking new technical standards. Mr. Zhao also expressed his appreciation on the fruitful and efficient cooperation between ITU-T and IMTC for the last decade and he would encourage the two sides to continue their relationship.

About the IMTC
The IMTC is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging and facilitating the development and implementation of interoperable multimedia teleconferencing solutions based on open, international standards adopted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the IETF, ETSI, and other organizations. The IMTC is also involved in developing and testing IP and circuit switched networks as well as hosting multimedia interoperability testing events and demonstrations throughout the world. Over the past three years, the IMTC has hosted more than 40 interoperability events to test Voice over IP products and services (H.323, SIP), H.320, H.324 and T.120, for compatibility with each other. The San Ramon, Calif.-based consortium comprises more than 150 member organizations from around the globe. Membership is open to any interested party, including vendors of audio, document and video conferencing hardware and software document, and video conferencing hardware and software; communications companies teleconferencing service providers; end users; academic institutions; government agencies; and non profit organizations. The consortium’s Web site address is http://www.imtc.org.

About ITU
ITU is an intergovernmental organization within which the public and private sectors cooperate for the development of telecommunications and the harmonization of national telecommunication policies. ITU’ work has provided the essential background that has enabled telecommunications to grow into a US$1 trillion industry worldwide.

The global standards-setting work of the ITU aims to foster seamless interconnection of the world’s communication network and systems. Now, as the worlds of telecommunications, information technology, broadcasting, consumer electronics and content provision rapidly converge, ITU is being called upon to forge new standards which promote the interoperability of equipment from these once-disparate realms and facilitate the development of a new world of multimedia-based communications.

International standards-setting activities represent a global collective effort amounting to several hundreds of millions of dollars every year. ITU makes a vital contribution to this process through an open, worldwide membership and a collaborative, impartial approach.

Essential to the smooth functioning of the world’s fast-expanding communications networks, globally agreed, globally accepted standards allow all nations to benefit from access to leading-edge communications and provide a basis for commercial application of technological advances on a global scale.

ITU is charged with coordinating the development of the systems and technologies that constitute the emerging global information infrastructure. Areas under study include broadband ISDN, Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks and ground-breaking technologies related to new multimedia systems, including special protocols and signal processing systems, high-speed modems, digital subscriber line systems (xDSL) and new types of multimedia terminal.