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THE INTERNATIONAL MULTIMEDIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONSORTIUM HOSTS LARGEST IMTC INTEROPERABILITY EVENT TO DATE
300 Engineers Representing 98 Companies Test IP Communications Products over Next Generation Voice/Video/Data Converged Networks at
IMTC SuperOp! and TAPI Bake-Off Events
First-Time Participation from ETSI, IMTC iNOW! and IMTC Conferencing Compatibility Program Results in Broadened Focus of Event
SAN RAMON, Calif.
September 20, 1999
The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC) announced today the completion of the industry’s most comprehensive interoperability testing event to date for providers of multimedia conferencing and communications products and services.
More than 300 engineers representing 98 companies from around the globe met in Honolulu, Hawaii last week to test diverse multimedia products for compatibility and interoperability at the annually co-located IMTC SuperOp! and TAPI Bake-off events.
During five days of rigorous, scheduled testing, IMTC members comprising more than 125 working teams tested the compatibility and interconnectivity of standards-based products and services for IP telephony, data conferencing (T.120) and videoconferencing via ISDN (H.320), Internet, LAN (H.323) and POTS (H.324).
This year’s SuperOp! event also marks the first participation and testing by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) TIPHON (Telecommunications and Internet Protocol Harmonization Over Networks) group, a non-profit organization dedicated to producing telecommunications standards and facilitating interoperability between IP and switched circuit networks, and with which the IMTC has a formal liaison relationship.
Also, the recently formed IMTC iNOW! Activity Group, dedicated to enhancing and furthering real world gateway-to-gateway and gatekeeper-to-gatekeeper interoperability and enabling voice and fax service over IP networks, participated in the IMTC SuperOp! event. Participation by both groups is testament to the expansion and broadened focus of the event to incorporate the voice/video/data convergence technologies.
In addition, the IMTC conducted trial testing of the IMTC Conferencing Compatibility Program, a rigorous set of tests that provide vendors and end-users with a greater level of assurance that their multimedia conferencing solutions are interoperable at the application layer with those from other vendors. All IMTC Conferencing Compatibility Program test sets are developed by IMTC activity groups with input from member companies and approved by the IMTC general membership.
"SuperOp! is truly unique in that the event facilitates the face to face meeting of IP communications engineers from around the globe -- often competitors – enabling them to work together to identify, define and solve interoperability issues for the benefit of the marketplace," said Matt Collier, president of the IMTC and vice president of global business development of Polycom, Inc. "The record attendance demonstrates the critical role the IMTC plays in the multimedia communications industry."
Organized by the IMTC, SuperOp! is designed to enable users of IP telephony and multimedia communications technologies to hold multimedia communications sessions over a mixture of Internet, LAN/WAN and ordinary (POTS) and digital (ISDN) telephone lines. Telecommunications facilities provided by GTE, LAN infrastructure provided by 3Com Corporation, and network servers provided by Microsoft were shared between the two events.
Interoperability is particularly important for voice/video/data convergence, which involves multiple sites, multiple networks and multiple users with communications equipment from multiple manufacturers. For example, a "conference call" today might include two parties with fully functional audio, H.320 video and T.120 data and application sharing, two parties with only audio and H.324 video, and two parties on the Internet with audio and H.323 video. This scenario requires interoperability to ensure a basic level of connectivity across equipment from all participating manufacturers -- so participants in the session are able to communicate with each other. In order to facilitate this interoperability, just some of the SuperOp! testing scenarios included:
A point to point H.323 video conference within and across multiple gatekeeper zones
An H.323 multimedia conference via an H.323 gatekeeper and an H.320 gateway
An H.323 multimedia conference with T.120 (data conferencing) via a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) across multiple gatekeeper zones.
An H.323 multimedia conference with T.120 (data conferencing) via an MCU, H.323 gatekeeper and H.320 gateway.
An H.320 multimedia conference with T.120 (data conferencing) via an MCU.
An H.320 multimedia conference with H.243 Chair Control
A multipoint T.120 data conference
A T.120 data conference within a videoconference
A point to point H.324 multimedia conference
A point to point H.324 multimedia conference with T.120 (data conferencing)
In order to maintain an open forum for evaluation, discussion and resolution, individual test results are not disclosed. This enables competing companies to share important information and data that would normally be proprietary and confidential, for the benefit of the entire industry.
Conducting testing under the auspices of the IMTC provides the only vendor-neutral environment for companies to pinpoint areas where differing interpretations of any ambiguities in the international communications standards may exist. Since 1996, the IMTC has hosted more than 40 interoperability events around the globe to test T.120, H.320, H.323 and H.324 products and services for compatibility with each other.
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 – particularly the multimedia teleconferencing standards adopted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The San Ramon, Calif.-based consortium comprises more than 140 member organizations from around the globe. Membership is open to any interested party, including vendors of audio, 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.
1999 SuperOp! Participants
Acer Advanced Labs
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Data Connection LTD
Delta Information Systems, Inc.
elemedia (Lucent Technologies)
Genesys Telecommunications Labs, Inc.
IBM Networking Hardware Division
Institute for Information Industry
Madge Networks LTD
Motorola India Electronics
NEC Europe LTD. CCRLE Heidelberg
Oki Electric Industry co. LTD
Philips Videoconferencing Systems
Ridgeway Systems & Software LTD.
Siemens AG ICN WN CS
Siemens AG ICP
Siemens Information and Communication Networks
Smith Micro Software, Inc.
Sorenson Vision, Inc.
Symbol Technologies, Inc.
ULB (Brussels University)
VCON Telecommunication LTD
VocalTec Communications Ltd.
White Pine Software