ITU IPTV IPv6 Global Testbed enables reliable, accessible broadcast of disaster relief event

ITU-T standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) were used last week to live-stream an event targeting the development of infrastructure to support people with disabilities when disaster strikes.

The “Asia-Pacific Meeting on Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction: Changing Mindsets through Knowledge” was held in Sendai, Japan, 22-23 April, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

The elderly and people with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the impacts of natural disasters; a concern of particular relevance to the Asia-Pacific region. Seeking global input to address this issue, the event assembled top-tier representatives of governments, private-sector players, consortiums including the Japan DAISY consortium, and United Nations agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The meeting was broadcast with closed-captioned live-stream video, delivering excellent quality enabled by core ITU standards including Recommendation ITU-T H.721’s IPTV terminal for Video on Demand (VoD) and Linear TV, ITU-T H.762’s Lightweight Interactive Multimedia Environment (LIME) for interactive IPTV services, and ITU-T H.264’s video encoding. As has become custom, the infrastructure underlying the live-stream was provided by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)Hokkaido Television Broadcasting (HTB) and OKI using the ITU IPTV IPv6 Global Testbed. The closed-caption service was developed by ASTEM and ITU-T H.264 real-time video encoders were provided by NTT Electronics (NEL). Ateneo de Manila University, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Republic of the Philippines and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), also members of the Testbed, participated in the event remotely via IPTV.

The meeting closed with an outcome document titled the “Sendai Statement to Promote Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction for resilient, Inclusive and Equitable Societies in Asia and the Pacific”.

The resilience of ICT installations in the face of natural disasters is a subject currently under investigation in the ITU-T Focus Group on Disaster Relief Systems, Network Resilience and Recovery (FG-DR&NRR). The group’s studies will form the basis for subsequent standardization work in ITU-T Study Groups, coordinated by ITU-T Study Group 2 (Operational aspects).

ITU-T Study Group 16 (Multimedia) is at the forefront of global standards development for multimedia systems, coding and applications. It is responsible for highly acclaimed standards in areas such as speech, audio and video coding; telepresence and conferencing systems; IPTV; digital signage; and e-health – making the group the lead ITU-T Study Group in improving the accessibility of audiovisual media for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Accessibility work in ITU-T seeks to mainstream the inclusion of accessibility features in ICT policy, technologies and standards. The diverse global membership of ITU has made for a strong platform for accessibility advocacy, successfully securing accessibility a position in the ITU standardization work plan through the standardization work under Question 26/16 and initiatives such as the recently terminated ITU-T Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (FG-AVA) and the new Intersector Rapporteur Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility (IRG-AVA).   

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