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ITU calls for interoperable telepresence standards

The telepresence industry needs to develop a set of unified standards for interoperability in order to help drive the market for video conferencing forward, says the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The ITU has announced that it wants to help different telepresence companies work together to allow the market to grow. Currently video conferencing services are broadly divided between older standards and the “evolution” of telepresence, with many products based on established communications protocols lacking interoperability due to proprietary extensions.

Whilst Cisco, one of the largest developers of video conference technology, has been working on interoperable standards for some time, the ITU has called for the industry as a whole to work together to prevent proprietary systems from becoming commonplace in the market.

“We don’t expect each end of a phone call to be dependent on the manufacturer of the phone being the same,” says Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau. “The same should be true for telepresence.”

“Anyone who has used a telepresence system will testify to its remarkable quality…however, proprietary solutions have stifled the market. ITU’s standards initiative will allow us all to profit from this remarkable technology.”

According to the ITU’s press release, their standards initiative will be focused upon improving interoperability between telepresence technology from different manufacturers. It aims to make sure that multiple video and audio streams can be presented coherently so that eye contact, gestures and other aspects of a life-like, face-to-face experience are conveyed properly even when set-ups differ on each side of the conversation.