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IMTC Leads Way to Converged Multimedia Services on Next Generation Networks

H323 provides basis for multimedia growth on the Web - New Forum receives enthusiastic industry reception - E-mail subscriptions grow to almost 600 in only three months

San Ramon, 19 August 2002. - "The world is quickly converging to the era of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) where voice, video, and data services are installed onto IP networks in an integrated manner - in other words 'beefing up' existing, 'classical' voice services and introducing new multimedia services we could have only dreamed about several years ago" - said Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, President of the International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium (IMTC), parent body of the H.323 Forum, a recently created body where institutions engaged in multimedia telecommunications R&D can meet and discuss new developments in the application of the so-called H.323 standard.

Dr. Sebestyen carries on: "Home and office telephones traditionally linked to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) are being moved to high-speed IP networks while multimedia applications, such as Video Conferencing and Distance Learning are becoming mainstream services too. We are also witnessing that voicemail, email, and faxes are being processed uniformly by Unified Messaging Systems." Larry Schessel, President of the newly formed H.323 Forum, adds: "The ITU-T H.323 Standard is one of several Voice of IP (VoIP) protocols leading the charge for this widespread migration and still represents the market share leader in the industry. However, information about H.323 in the industry is inadequate, in spite of its widespread use." For this reason, the IMTC launched the H.323 Forum to provide accurate H.323 information and industry meeting place. This idea has received an enthusiastic reception by the industry. The subscription rate to this new body's email list, which was launched during the Spring meeting of the IMTC in Geneva in May this year, is growing fast - reaching nearly 600 people in three months.

"Although just recently begun, the H.323 Forum is aggressively moving forward to fill the industry void", says Larry Schessel. "Since inception, the H.323 Forum already launched its official website (http://www.h323forum.org), now receiving several thousand hits per day. The industry is recognizing the Forum as well, having hosted a session at the recent US "Collaborate East" conference, and planning to host sessions at the upcoming Fall "Voice over the Net (VON)" and "Collaborate West" conferences. Two H.323 Forum only conferences are also planned; one on-line Video Conference discussing H.323 through Firewalls and NATs (Network Address Translation) scheduled for September 18 and a full day conference in mid-November in New York discussing a wide variety of H.323 topics. The Forum is also working on equipment certification criteria by which new or existing products can be measured in a consistent manner. These certification criteria are expected to be available in September this year. The success of the new IMTC launched Forum reflects not only the need for accurate information in the industry, but also the widespread conviction that H.323 is providing a solid basis for the growth of multimedia applications on the Internet."

Companies have a choice of three membership levels for the H.323 Forum. IMTC membership is the most inclusive level, offering both IMTC as well as H.323 Forum benefits. There also exists a H.323 Forum only membership level letting members participate in the certification program, forum events, and the leadership team. Finally there is a non-profit membership level for educational institutions and non-profit organizations. More information on the H.323 Forum can be found on the Forum website at www.h323forum.org.

About the H.323 Protocol
H.323 is the multimedia protocol standard recommended by the International Telecommunications Union. The latest H.323 version 4 enables full real-time voice and video over IP with a large number of additional services. It also improves the integration of the Internet with the Public Telephone Networks. It introduces easy-to-use videoconferencing, as simple as making a phone-call or writing an e-mail.

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 Networks, 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 hardware and software; academic institutions; government agencies; and non-profit organizations. "The IMTC is making Rich Media happen Anywhere, Anytime." The consortium's Web site address is http://www.imtc.org.

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