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Multimedia ready for "quantum leap" to join NGN

IMTC-Forum sets stage for making multimedia communication as significant application over Next Generation Networks -Experts view state of multimedia standardization - Expanding market calls for new technologies and tools

San Jose, Calif., May 18, 2004 - The Multimedia industry appears to be set for the next great step in the development of this expanding communications sector. The agenda of the IMTC Spring Forum 2004 being hosted from today to Thursday this week at Sony Electronics in San Jose, California, shows that preparing for the Next Generation Networks will be one of the main challenges for the multimedia community. Some 100 engineers, managers and researchers got together for this three day Forum organized annually by the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium to take stock of current trends in the field.

"This IMTC Forum will cover a wide area of topics in a very short time, starting with a revision of the current state of multimedia standardization where we still experience in the area of Intellectual Property Policy and practice severe deficiencies urgently requiring remedy," said IMTC President Dr. Istvan Sebestyen at the opening of the Forum, which will last until Thursday, May 20. He added, that " the main thrust of our conference, however, will be on preparing our industry for the Next Generation Networks. Our products have consistently shown significant growth-rates even in times of generally stagnating markets, but now it is time to prepare for new technologies, networks and tools, providing easier access to a broader set of users, thus throwing multimedia communications open to the millions of internet and mobile communications users worldwide." As Dr. Sebestyen pointed out, the Multimedia Telecommunications community appears to be particularly well prepared for this as he said, it is most fortunate that NGN looks at multimedia as one of its main application areas. Several NGN concepts have originated in 2G-3G mobile networks, which in many cases have gone far beyond what has been available on wire-line networks. " Multimedia on converged fixed and mobile networks is today's major issue in NGN standardization", he said, adding: "This IMTC Forum is providing an overview of present and future multimedia technologies to prepare IMTC and our members for the hard work that lies ahead."

After Dr. Sebestyen's opening remarks the Forum took off with a presentation on "to be determined" by Pete Ludé, Senior Vice President of Sony Solutions Business in the United States, a 25-year veteran in the broadcasting and media industry currently responsible for IP-based communication technologies in the B2B marketplace. The following session "Where are standards going in the communications area" looked at new standards relevant for multimedia such as the H.350 standard adopted last year as well as taking a critical look on recent developments in standard setting, where the feeling prevailed that traditional standard setting bodies still face difficulties in coping with the complex issues of multimedia telecommunications technologies.

Over the next two days, the IMTC Forum will also look at the role of SIP and H.323 in multimedia and on how to make multimedia ore mobile. The final day of the Forum will mainly focus on reports from the Consortium`s highly successful activity groups, including a report of the recently activated Historical Archive on Intellectual Property Rights and an update on the results of the Packet Switched Streaming Group.

The 2004 IMTC Forum, which is being hosted by Sony Electronics in San Jose, California is being endorsed by Frost and Sullivan Consulting, the Interactive Multimedia and Collaborative Communications Alliance (IMCCA), the OSGi Alliance, a nd Wainhouse Research.

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 20 interoperability-testing events to test H.323, H.324, SIP, T.120, H .320, and Voice over IP products and services with each other. The IMTC Board of Directors includes representatives from Cisco Systems, Dilithium Networks, Emblaze Systems, France Telecom, Level 3 Communications, MediaDigm Technology, Nextreaming Corp., Nokia, Nortel Networks, Polycom, RADVISION, Siemens AG, Sony, and TANDBERG. The San Ramon, California-based consortium comprises approximately 70 member organizations from around the globe. Membership is open to any interested party, including vendors of audio, document, and video conferencing hardware and software; academic institutions; government agencies; and non-profit organizations. "The IMTC is making Rich Media happen Anywhere, Anytime." Further information on IMTC can be found at http://www.imtc.org.

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