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An interview with Mr.Chaesub Lee Director of the Standardization Bureau of ITU’s Telecommunication

An interview with Mr.Chaesub Lee Director of the Standardization Bureau of ITU’s Telecommunication

1-Lte Magazine (Khaouja): Welcome Mr.Chaesub Lee.

At Rabat, March 30th, 2016 , during  the preparation of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly Meeting , organized by ITU with  ANRT support , you set among their objectives , working on the new  themes like Big data and the internet of Things . Precisely for this purpose how ITU intends to work with multiple organizations and forums that have been also created for standardization in these new areas?. Indeed, by now we are witnessing the emergence of associations to take care of standardization work as the IP forum and others. How ITU cooperates with these forums to save time because as they say « We are in a period where small organizations aren’t disrupted by the larger ones  but the faster ones ».

Mr.Chaesub Lee (ITU): The modern standardization ecosystem is a complex one, with many specialized standards bodies playing complementary roles. Around 10 per cent of ITU standards are common or aligned texts with ISO and IEC. Our standards experts also participate in other bodies in addition to ITU and this is one of our strongest tools for cooperation.

The Internet of Things (IoT) was one of the topics in focus at the 19th meeting of the Global Standards Collaboration (GSC), a high-level gathering of ten of the world’s leading ICT standards bodies, hosted by ITU in Geneva, 15-16 July 2015. The next GSC meeting will be held 26-27 April 2016 in India, hosted by TSDSI, where ISO and IEC will be welcomed as new GSC members.

Today we are faced with the challenge of addressing the standardization requirements of the many vertical industries applying ICTs as enabling technologies. This is particularly evident in the field of IoT, where IoT platforms are being developed independently, according to the specific needs of each sector. ITU is working to mitigate the risk of data ‘silos’ emerging in different industry sectors.

The top priority of the new ITU-T Study Group 20 – “IoT and its applications including smart cities and communities” – is to bring greater cohesion to IoT standardization by providing government, industry and academia with a platform to enhance cooperation in IoT standardization. Study Group 20 is building on over ten years of ITU-T experience in IoT standardization. We are developing international standards to enable the coordinated development of IoT technologies, including machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and ubiquitous sensor networks. A central part of this study is the standardization of end-to-end architectures for IoT, and mechanisms for the interoperability of IoT applications and datasets employed by various vertical industries.

In 2015, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation (GTARC), and one of the main aims of this MoU is to build greater cooperation in the development of IoT standards.

With respect to disruption, our work with open-source communities has begun very organically in certain areas, with prime examples found in our work on software-defined networking (SDN) and 5G networking architecture. We are looking at what more we can do to assist the collaborative work emerging between telecoms and open-source communities, helping to manage the disruption of ‘softwarization’ and the increasing influence of open-source developments.

2- Lte Magazine (Khaouja):  Question concerning dialing: today we are witnessing the increasing data traffic compared with voice traffic. Are we thinking of setting up a new way to provide telecom networks of users addressing? Where we are with ENUM defines a method to enter the country code according to E.164 in the Internet domain name system. Always with this development considering how about coordination with ICANN on these issues in relation to telecommunications networks of users addressing?

Mr.Chaesub Lee (ITU): The ITU membership has yet to explore new ways of user addressing, but any potential innovations in this field will be brought to ITU for consideration and the principles underlying our standardization process will ensure that any innovation to be adopted internationally will have the consensus of the ITU membership.

ENUM delegation for Geographic Country Codes is now following the procedure described on the ITU website at http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/inr/enum/Pages/procedures.aspx.  ITU members recently held discussions on carrier ENUM for international IMS interworking. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in ITU-T Study Group 2 (Operational aspects) to contribute their views on the elements of this topic related to national implementation and requirements.

ITU has been keeping contact with ICANN on the issue of the possible mapping of the ITU-T E.164 numbering plan into the DNS, paying due regard to the provision of all-numeric domain names by TELNIC, the domain name registry operator for .tel gTLD. ICANN was represented in relevant sessions of the meetings of ITU-T Study Group 2 in May/June 2014 and January 2016.

3- Lte Magazine (Khaouja):  In the past, the ITU has played an important role regarding international pricing (accounting, pricing studies …). Why did ITU neglected this aspect? is it the liberalization of telecommunications?Furthermore, how the ITU could help to resolve current conflicts between OTT and telecoms operators, regarding the use of certain free applications such as international calls ?

Mr.Chaesub Lee (ITU): ITU provides a neutral platform to debate these issues and reach international agreement by consensus. ITU members are increasing their engagement with the work of ITU-T Study Group 3, which looks at policy and economic aspects of international communications. Debating the economic impact of OTT services is a key area of work to ITU-T Study Group 3 and the increasing interest in this group’s work offers evidence of the importance of these conversations.

As you say, costing and pricing dynamics have changed considerably with the transition to packet-based communications, but the much talked-about ‘conflict’ between telecoms and OTT players is perhaps not as clear-cut as it is sometimes portrayed to be. OTT players and telecoms companies are seeing significant benefits in working together to find mutually beneficial agreements with respect to pricing. It is important that these communities continue to open new lines of communication to understand each other’s business and reach deals of common benefit.

Regulators have a key role to play – which they have taken up in ITU-T Study Group 3 – in ensuring that innovations in the OTT space do not leave consumers without adequate protection. New ways of calling should offer the same fundamental privacy protections as traditional calling procedures, and this is an important aspect of debates ongoing in ITU-T Study Group 3.

Some countries are well equipped to welcome OTT services, and others are just starting out when it comes to understanding their economic impact. Peer-learning is crucial and ITU’s contribution is to provide a platform for this peer-learning.

4- Lte Magazine (Khaouja):  In response to the proliferation of cloud platforms with their bouquet of services. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and ISO have worked together to publish three standards by the end of 2014, ISO 17788 , ISO 17789 and ISO 27018 sets the safety rules to be applied to public cloud providers to ensure the protection of personal data, ensure transparency and comply with their regulatory obligations. But a great expectation manifests for the adoption of a standard for cloud performance commitments (draft standard ISO 19086) so when the publication of this standard will happen?

Mr.Chaesub Lee (ITU): Since announced those three standards, ITU and ISO/IEC JTC1 collaboration work has been finished. So it is now under ISO/IEC JTC1 responsibility.

5- Lte Magazine (Khaouja):  ITU recently received the prestigious Emmy Award for the ITU T standard H.264, used today in video compression. How ITU enjoyed this distinction?

Mr.Chaesub Lee (ITU): In addition to the Primetime Emmy award for ITU-T H.264 video coding, ITU has received another two Emmy awards for loudness metering in audio broadcasts and the digital video format that bridged the analogue and digital worlds and provided the basis for all television formats.

These Emmy awards are well-deserved recognition for our members’ crucial technical work. They raise the profile of this work, making more people aware of what ITU is all about.

Standardization experts offer critical support to ICT innovation. They go about their work quietly in the background, and we could think of these experts as the unsung heroes of technological progress. Their work is highly appreciated by the ICT community but consumers are often not aware of the importance of this work, or the many hours that engineers have dedicated to the development of the fundamental standards that ensure the seamless operation international communications networks.

6- Lte Magazine (Khaouja):  The original goal of standardization at the ITU aimed to ensure interoperability of telecommunications networks and make it compatible for telecom equipment in worldwide. The standardization process is becoming increasingly complex, how ITU is  keeping up with all these changes?

Mr.Chaesub Lee (ITU): It is becoming increasingly difficult to isolate technical issues from non-technical issues. ITU’s technical work must be complemented by debate around policy and regulation.

ITU’s unique public-private partnership of members is working to strengthen the ties between ITU’s economic and policy deliberations and its technical standardization activity. We are innovating to provide ITU’s standardization expert groups with economic and policy baselines to be considered in the development of new technical standards.

These efforts address concerns that technology too often races ahead of policy, with the result that governance frameworks fall out of step with market realities. Challenges to fair market competition may arise as a result, and legislation may no longer afford adequate protection to consumers.

It is important to remember that debates at ITU are reflective of debates ongoing in the industry – where debate is challenging in the industry, debate will be challenging in ITU. Our principles ensure that no one voice dominates, and that all positions are considered. If debate is challenging, that is all the more reason to support the continuation of that debate in ITU. The solutions found have the consensus of governments and ICT industry players, giving us an equitable basis to move forward.

Lte Magazine: thank you very much, Mr.Chaesub Lee, for agreeing to answer our questions

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