ITEA without frontiers
At the recent ITEA Symposium, Italtel was able to present the results of an initiative, Athos, for which the company has been project leader
On 10th October, the most important representatives of the software industry in Europe met in Amsterdam on the occasion of the annual ITEA (Information Technology for European Advancement) Symposium in which Italtel, a founding member of the consortium, took part. In particular, in the special session dedicated to presenting projects, Italtel exhibited the results of the Athos project, an idea which they came up with and have led since its outset.
"ITEA is a European R&D programme, dedicated to developing complex software systems for distributed multimedia services and distributable information," affirms Maurizio Pignolo, in charge of the international research group projects in Italtel, who took part in the Symposium together with Maurizio Decina, a member of Italtel's board of directors and Cefriel's former scientific director. "The objective of the programme, which leading companies in the world of telecommunications such as Alcatel, Nokia, Siemens etc. and the European Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises are taking part in, is to increase European competitivity with respect to the USA, by creating the software infrastructures needed to build and develop complex software systems," Pignolo continues.
Every year ITEA evaluates research projects which provide the bases for a new generation of products, systems and services, and singles out the most suitable partners to realise them. To date, ITEA has coordinated the investment of more than 5,000 years in research and development activities and has forecasted another 10,000 for the next five years. 36 projects have been approved to date (14 of which have since been completed), whereas 20 others are due to start up by the end of 2002.
In Symposium's Exhibition section, Italtel was able to present the results of the Athos project, which was completed in August this year. Italtel took part in the initiative as the project leader, thus acting as a reference point for the other companies that have taken part in the research (amongst which, for example, the France Telecom laboratories). "Athos (Advanced platforms and Technologies for the Offer of communication Services) is a project that was founded two years ago with the objective of defining and developing an evolved software platform which allowed rapid and simple deployment of integrated communication services (telephony, data transport and VoIP). Indeed, today it is very important to provide this type of service in a short amount of time and ensure, especially in VoIP telephony, a high quality of service (QoS) standards." "The research results were presented at the Symposium through a demonstrator, connected via Internet to the Milan laboratories, which uses software components developed both by Italtel and their partners," Pignolo specifies. "These components make up the basis for making products for evolved telecommunications software platforms such as the Italtel iMSS solutions".
"Taking part in the Symposium and presenting the Athos results are an important achievement for Italtel, also because they have helped to consolidate the visibility of our company on an international level," Pignolo affirms. "What's more, thanks to ITEA and the coordinated research activities, Europe is about to obtain important results in the software systems field."
Currently Italtel is also involved in other international projects coordinated by the Medea+ consortium which together with ITEA is part of the global Eureka scheme. Created in 1985, upon the initiative of 17 countries, Eureka is the most important pan-European programme as regards support to market-orientated industrial research and development initiatives. Italtel has been an active part of the Medea+ consortium since it was set up at the beginning of 2001 with the aim of promoting the development of microelectronic technologies and they are currently involved in two specific projects: Uniaccess and Scuba. These projects concern interconnecting private and public multi-service networks on IP infrastructure both in a wired (the first) and wireless (the second) environment. As far as Uniaccess is concerned, as well as following technological developments, Italtel has also taken on a primary role in the consortium. "Italtel's laboratories have recently been fitted out to make the European test plant for the Medea+ Uniaccess project," Pignolo explains. "Italtel has the task of setting up and coordinating all the intermediary checks concerning the integration of the various partners' connected projects, amongst whom ST Microelectronics, Philips, Infineon".
And for the future? Among other things, three new projects which Italtel is involved in are currently being outlined at ITEA.
"A first initiative concerns studying the problems of security on VoIP networks," Pignolo concludes. "The second will study ways of guaranteeing end-to-end quality of service, while the third project deals with developing efficient over Ethernet IP solutions for diffusing multi-media information by wide band." But to evaluate the results of these initiatives, you'll have to wait another couple of years.