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ITU-T Prepares to Approve H.323v7 in October 2009

February 9, 2009

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Experts in ITU-T Q2/16 met recently in Geneva to make progress on the newest version of the H.323 specification, H.323 Version 7. Revisions to H.323 are relatively minor, as compared to years past. This is due partly because a lot of new functionality is introduced via a "generic extensibility framework" (published in the H.460-series of Recommendations), but also due to the fact that the H.323 standard now stands as a fairly mature protocol that is widely deployed around the world for both voice and video communication.

Nonetheless, there are new enhancements that are being introduced to H.323 that require changes to the base specification. As examples, H.323v7 will allow a calling or called party to advertise his or her name in a multiplicity of languages, allowing the recipient to display the name in the language that is most suitable. New functionality is also introduced to allow for the opening of multicast media streams to for such purposes as music on hold. For video conferencing, new functionality is being added that will allow a video system to be provided with a list of conference names and information necessary to establish a call into those conferences at the push of a button: no more frustration trying to figure out how to get connected into a scheduled video conference.

These are just a few of the new enhancements to H.323. There is also work on-going in other areas that will result in the publication of separate Recommendations, including the areas of NAT/FW traversal and geo-location.

The ITU-T plans to approve several new H.323-related Recommendations and a new revision of the H.323 specification at the meeting in October. If there are enhancements that you would like to see made to the H.323 Recommendation, your contribution to this ongoing important work would be welcome. The next Rapporteur meeting, tentatively scheduled for the end of June 2009, would be an excellent opportunity to submit proposals for H.323v7.