Interview with Dr. István Sebestyén

In the past, we have used this blog as a platform for discussing topics which are relevant to the field of telecommunications such as new trends in the market and innovative technological developments. Now we would like to use our blog in order to introduce you, our readers, to the IMTC members. We believe that this will enable you to better understand who we are and what it is we do at IMTC. And what better way to do so than with a series of interviews with IMTC members.

This week, we spoke to Dr. István Sebestyén, Secretary General of Ecma International. István joined Ecma after working for 21 years in the field of standardization at Siemens where he served as Director of Standards specializing in Multimedia and Enterprise Communication networks. Previously he had worked in various standardization bodies such as ITU, ISQ, DIJ and the IMTC of which he was also the president.

Hello István. I know that you hold close to twelve patents. Could you tell us a bit about them?

Yes with pleasure. I did the patents when I was at Siemens and when I noticed that patenting in standardization (especially on multimedia standards) was becoming a frequent occurrence. Filing for patents is a bit like betting on the future of technology since you file patents based on anticipation. Whether or not your bet was a good one doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that it is very easy to get a patent. I hope its different today. Anyway, when I filed for those patents it was a defensive move on behalf of Siemens and they own the patent, not me personally.

As a former president of IMTC, how important are the IMTC activities for the industry?

They are very important for the industry, as they cover marketing, education and interoperability testing. Those things are usually not done by Standardization Bodies. IMTC hosts interoperability testing events and demonstrations throughout the world in order to better the services offered to end users. It is an important function which enables manufacturers and service providers working on novel products to ensure the quality of their future products. In addition, the scope of the interop testing offered by IMTC is something that no company could perform on its own.

Currently, you are the Secretary General of ECMA International. Can you tell us more about it? What is the difference between organizations like IMTC and ECMA?

The difference is exactly what I have outlined above. We set standards, but we do not do deal with other aspects such as education and marketing. That’s the main difference, we focus on the standards themselves, IMTC focuses on all the rest.

Looking at the video conferencing industry today, can you give us a prediction for the future of video communications? How will the video conferencing world look in 5 years’ time? What will it look like in 2025?

I have no idea! There are many different possible scenarios. We may continue on with what we are doing today, only with faster and better media coding, more integration with the web, etc. The problem is that we have no standards, except for basic internet standards, and that everything goes through downloading and updates like Skype. But where are we headed? I really can’t say.

No one can predict the future of telecommunications, but we at IMTC like to try. Be sure to come back next week for another interview with a different IMTC member.

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