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Progress on the Advanced Multimedia System

September 7, 2008

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ITU-T Q12/16 met the last week of August to make progress on the Advanced Multimedia System (H.325), the next-generation multimedia communication system that will enable users to communicate using a multiplicity of communication modes across any number of independent devices.

H.325 is expected to a significant step forward in terms of capabilities provided to the user. H.325 is expected to be widely deployed in every network where one might traditionally use a voice telephone, including PSTN or VoIP. While H.325 might be viewed as a VoIP system, since it will enable voice communication over IP, H.325 will just as easily enable video, application sharing, file transfer, or any other kind of application to be used for a much richer communication experience.

As with the past several meetings, the experts in this new IP-based multimedia communication system worked on requirements and scenarios, as well as terminal and system architecture. During the last meeting at the end of June, the experts made progress primarily on the terminal architecture and this most recent meeting was more focused on network architecture.

H.325 will be used in any environment where a communication system might be employed today. One solution given specific treatment at this most recent meeting is the "home network." Experts looked at system developed by NTT wherein users were able to use a residential gateway and UPnP in order to enable communication on a number of home network devices. Much of that technology, or at least ideas that are proven workable, may be employed by H.325 as the work is progressed.

H.325 will enable much more than just the residential gateway devices, though. In fact, it is fully expected that the same devices in the home can be used in conjunction with a mobile communication device. Exactly how the mobile phone, home network appliances, and residential gateway devices will interact in order to enable seamless communication needs further study.

Nonetheless, the momentum is strong and this most recently meeting was a very good success. The path is becoming clearer, though there is still much work to do. The experts are now fleshing out the terminal architecture, network architecture, and information flows that will define this next-generation system.

More importantly, there appears to be a growing consensus that change is necessary in order to advance the state of communications, as the current set of capabilities available today is insufficient to meet the needs of tomorrow. Users expect more capabilities and a more dynamic system with ever-increasing functionality. H.325 aims to do just that, stepping far ahead of where SIP is today.