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Mobile phones go Multimedia

IMTC tests confirm future multimedia applications - Packet Switched Streaming offers new opportunities to news vendors and network operators

San Ramon, CA - 19 April 2002 - Mobile phone users can expect exciting new multimedia offerings from the next generation mobile networks. These offerings could include newscasts on demand or in real time using the techniques of Packet Switched Streaming (PSS) to avoid time-consuming downloads. This is the outcome of a test series carried out by an Activity Group of the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC), an industry organization operating at the cutting edge of high-tech applications for mobile networks. The successful completion of a test cycle investigating new avenues in mass communication in wireless networks has just been announced by IMTC.

"This constitutes a decisive advance in the development of wireless multimedia standards for the next generation mobile networks," says Adi Plaut, Chairman of the IMTC Action Group. "You will be able to watch the highlights of the sports event you missed, get an update on latest political or economic developments, or watch the latest in entertainment, independent of time or location. For news vendors such as TV stations a service for such on-demand content-services could offer a whole new line of business," Mr. Plaut added.

The tests carried out at Siemens AG in Munich in March this year confirmed that the technology needed for such advanced multimedia applications for future mobile phone networks is already fully available and the software needed is well in place. Nine companies participated at the test series in Munich: Emblaze Systems (Israel), Hantro Products Oy (Finland), Hutchison Mediator (USA), Mobixell Networks (Israel), Motorola (USA), PacketVideo (USA), Royal Philips Electronics (The Netherlands), Serome Technology (Korea), and Siemens AG (Germany).

The next testing phase which is to be completed in August this year will cover additional PSS-features. For this series of tests, the group expects additional companies to participate, Mr. Plaut explains: "Of course the entire industry benefits from our work, since it validates the international standards and leads to the interoperability needed for successful mobile media service development. But it is also clear that those who take part in testing and development will have a competitive advantage over others who get into the game later."

Key phase in interoperabilty testing
The outcome of the March test series marks the successful completion of a key phase in interoperability testing for the development of wireless multimedia standards for next generation mobile networks. The tests were based on the Technical Specifications 26.233 and 26.234 from the "Third Generation Partnership Project" (3GPP), which specify the technical details for streaming multimedia content over the emerging 3G wireless networks.

The program began with offline file exchange and virtual streaming tests conducted over the internet and culminated in the live "face-to-face" testing event in Munich. The test program included streaming servers, multimedia terminals, and content creation tools. Offline file exchange was used to test raw codec bitstreams, the 3GPP/MPEG-4 file format and packetized bitstreams. Interactive streaming sessions were also tested, first using a virtual (Internet) connection, and then live at the Munich event. Contents from various streaming servers was streamed to various clients in all possible combinations, allowing instant evaluation by all participants.The process is used to improve both interoperability, i.e. the compatibility of all components engaged in the system, and the end user experience. More informaion on the PSS Activity Group can be found here.

About the IMTC
The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC) is an industry-leading non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, encourage, and facilitate the development and implementation of interoperable multimedia conferencing solutions based on open international standards. The IMTC hosts interoperability testing events and demonstrations throughout the world. Over the past three years. The IMTC has hosted more than 60 interoperability testing events to test T.120, H .320, H.323, H.324, SIP, and Voice over IP products and services with each other. The IMTC Board of Directors includes representatives from Avaya, Cisco Systems, Forgent, France Telecom, Intel, KPN Telecom, Nokia, Polycom, RADVISION,Ridgeway, Siemens AG, Sony, TANDBERG, Telverse, and WorldCom. The San Ramon, California -based consortium comprises more close to 100 member organizations from around the globe. Membership is open to any interested party, including vendors of audio, document, and video conferencing hardare and software; academic institutions; government agencies; and non-profit organizations. The consortium's Web site address is http://www.imtc.org.

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