The International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium (IMTC) is an organization conisiting of several companies interested in real-time, rich-media communications. Rich media includes voice and one-way (or two-way) data and one-way (or two-way) video. Members of this community include Internet application developers and service providers, teleconferencing hardware and software suppliers and service providers, telecommunications service providers and equipment vendors, end users, educational institutions, government agencies and non-profit corporations.
The IMTC initiated formal standards initiatives and testing programs (aka Plug fests) to improve interoperability of the products and services in the ecosystem.
From the mid 1990s, as the rich-media communications concept extended beyond traditional switched networks to include Internet Protocol (IP) networks, the IMTC acted as an industry convergence point for Voice, Data, and Video over IP. At that time IMTC's efforts resulted in the promulgation of the ITU-T H.323 (packet-based video) standard, agreement on the initial Voice over IP (VoIP) Implementation Framework, and the first integrated interoperability tests involving the ITU-T T.120, H.320, H.324, H.323 standards and emerging IETF requests for comments (RFCs) such as session initiation protocol (SIP).
Today, the IMTC retains its focus on addressing rich-media deployment obstacles and interoperability in wide area and enterprise networks. The initiatives IMTC sponsors now include 3GPP, packet switched streaming techniques, enterprise network address translation and wireless/mobility. Its efforts enable service providers and vendors to create more compatible rich-media products, applications and services, which in turn facilitate the widespread adoption of the offerings by protecting end-users' capital investments and meeting usability expectations.
In the mid/late-1990s IMTC released a Voice over IP Implementation Agreement, which specified dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) data transfer and reproduction, and IP-specific needs such as directory services and dynamic IP address resolution mechanisms to support multi-party voice and voice-band calls over IP networks.
Test suites and procedures developed by the IMTC in the late 1990s demonstrated the viability of connecting gatekeepers, gateways, proxies, MCUs, endpoints and network components into integrated rich-media sessions and interoperability and interworking between IP networks and switched-circuit networks including H.323, SIP, the iNOW! Profile, and the T.120, H.320, H.324 M, H.248/Megaco, and H.450 protocols.
More recently IMTC has begun to highlight the interoperability of multimedia offerings for mobile phone users. These offerings are based on the 3GPP specifications for streaming, and interacting with, multimedia content (such as newscasts) on demand and in real-time over 3G wireless networks. They support offline file exchange (which involves raw codec bitstreams, packetized bitstreams and the 3GPP/MPEG-4 file format) and virtual streaming over the Internet and include streaming servers, multimedia terminals and content-creation tools in the value chain.
The IMTC also follows a defined consensus decision-making process. Specifications and recommendations that require product development work, and issues which commit the IMTC to a specific course of action, are balloted within the membership for majority approval. All members are encouraged to participate, voice opinions and help resolve issues. This reflects IMTC's strong commitment to an inclusive, open structure and a "make things happen" environment.