About the HATS Forum
What's New
Introduction of HATS
Role and Mission of the HATS Forum
 HATS Forum Activities
What are interoperability tests of telecommunication equipment?
necessity of interoperability
Major Equipment Tested for Interoperability and number of equipment
HATS Forum Activities and Flow of New Product Development
Activities of Test Implementation Liaison Committee
interoperability test results
 Demonstration Committee
 Relatated Organization, etc
"Overview of HATS"
Seminar on ITU-T hot topics for Standardization (Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2 September 2009)
Result of HATS Interoperability Event on NGN supported by ITU-T
Report of HATS Interoperability Workshop on NGN supported by ITU
HATS Interoperability event on NGN supported by ITU and APT

Chairperson’s message: looking back 30 Years of HATS

  The true value of terminal equipment gives the most of its ability by accessing to the telecommunication network, while the ability is limited when it’s used as standalone devices. Thus, terminal equipment should need interoperability assurance for its users in the market. The assurance was guaranteed by Nippon Telegram and Telephone Public Corp., state-own carrier of Japan until 1985. The liberalization of the telecom industry in 1985 called for the assurance in the new environment  of network composed by competing telecommunication service providers. This trend was also along with significant change in telecommunication technology, which was Digitalization. As digitalization makes it possible to deliver diverse types of information systems, many countries competed to develop technologies to realize convenient services over ISDN. While ITU-T is the body responsible for creating global standards for telecommunication technology, each country is allowed to adapt its own specification based on the ITU-T standards to construct communication systems suited to the market of each country. This situation motivated the need of establishing interoperability assurance body in the country. The HATS Forum was established for the mission of assuring such interoperability and started its first tests in 1988. In its early years, these tests were done by gathering experts under the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT), and continued the activity for 12 years. Related to the governmental reforms in 2000, the secretariat was moved to CIAJ and the activity was continued in further changing digital network environment. I have been a member of the Forum since 1985, when it was still under the direct jurisdiction of the MPT. I have served as the Chairperson to conduct the HATS interoperability tests after it was moved to CIAJ. During my tenure, the HATS Forum has made a number of interoperability tests with a diverse array of terminal equipment and services came up in the market. Since entering the 21st century, the evolution of telecommunication technology has accelerated even further along with the changes of society. The telecommunication infrastructure has shifted to the Internet. Telephony-based services have also been improved in competitive environment, and they are likely to shift to Internet based technology in the near future. Such converging technologies will produce even more diverse and further advances. Global interoperability test based on the HATS experience is currently being worked on in the ITU. Assuring interoperability will be even more important in order for new technologies to be supported in the market. The lessons learnt for 30 years of the HATS Forum would play significant role of the advancement of future telecommunication technologies. Lastly I am looking forward to your participation in our interoperability assurance activities.

Introduction of HATS

  The HATS Forum (Harmonization of Advanced Telecommunication Systems) was established in 1988 by MPT, now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). Its objective is to confirm the interoperability of advanced telecommunications equipment and ICT systems connecting to telecommunication networks. Users, manufacturers and telecommunication carriers exchange information, work in cooperation to discover interoperability issues, deliberate testing methodologies, and conduct the interoperability tests with the relevant parties providing the actual equipment. This framework promotes the smooth dissemination of ICT systems and/or services and solutions.

  For each round of interoperability tests mentioned above, the HATS Forum establishes a guideline for the target equipment as well as relevant standards and recommendations. Based on this guideline, multiple manufacturers interconnect their devices and/or customer premises equipment via the network to test and confirm interoperability.

  Such HATS activities are contributing to the global community of telecommunications as well as internet societies. Through the HATS interoperability tests, ambiguous descriptions used in standards/recommendations, which was the cause of many interoperability issues, have been identified and submitted to the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) in Japan which has a role of upstreming telecoummnication standards/recommendations, which in turn, provides the information as feedback to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

  When the HATS Forum was established, interoperability tests connected equipment via ISDN, but since then, the scope has grown to cover equipment designed for LAN and Internet connectivity, as well as multimedia terminals. Today, the scope includes equipment which connects to the Next Generation Network (NGN).

Greetings from HATS

Tadao Saito, Chairman, HATS Forum

  Assurance of the device connectivity is a vital issue to transfer information from a transmitting device to a receiving device via networks. In the case that the devices and the networks are operated by a single entity, it would be simple to assure the connectivity. Until 1985 in Japan, it was done by a single management and operation by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation. However, due to the liberalization of the telecom networking business, the environment of its market was dramatically changed by competitive developments of networking devices and the rapid deployment of the new technologies. For such evolutions, the assurance of the device connectivity and interoperability is required in association with a lot of device manufacturers and telecom operators.

  The evolutions have a wide variety because various communication methods have been developed based on new technologies. The ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) was a significant new technology at the time when the HATS Forum was established in 1988. After that various devices have become common such as videophone, inter LAN connection, IP camera, etc. From its founding, the HATS Forum has had a mission of clarifying the requirements for assuring interoperability in the backdrop of such changes in the industry. We have been contributing to societies through our activities of achieving actual interoperability tests so that users can purchase equipment without anxiety about their usability.

  In order to assure the interoperability, it is essential for devices to conform to a standard. Indeed, products that conformed to ITU Recommendations are expected to have interoperability particularly among developing countries. In ideal condition, interoperability is realized if the products conform to the Recommendations. In reality, products are developed based on the Recommendation considering actual use environment. For such an adaptation, the Recommendations include variety of options and parameters. These parameters and options have to be properly selected to realize products having connectivity and interoperability. Standards which specify parameters and options are called downstream standard. The importance of downstream standard should be understood for assuring connectivity and interoperability.

  The recognition for these downstream activities are insufficient worldwide and misunderstanding that the interoperability is assured by only conforming to ITU Recommendations is widely spread.

  ITU had once used the word “ITU mark” in the beginning of the 21st century, so the understanding of that ITU Recommendations assure interoperability was spread as the result. HATS has a quarter century experiences of the interoperability testing of devices which conformed to ITU Recommendations. HATS has improved such an understanding and gained recognition of its views including the downstream activities by presenting our efforts and achievements in various occasion in ITU. The realization of the interoperability is a worldwide issue and a global challenge today in the era that most people in the world possess telecommunication devices even in developing countries where the penetration of telecommunication was very low in the past. HATS hopes to contribute to network evolution in the world with advanced interoperability through its experiences and know how. Lastly, we appreciate your sincere and continued supports for HATS.

“A message from the Standardization Division, Global ICT Strategy Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (A Special Member of HATS Forum)”
(December, 2015)

  HATS Forum has been operated actively to assure the interoperability of communication devices for a quarter of century since 1988 at its establishment. In the meantime, the life of people has been varied significantly by penetrations of various communication devices such as multi-media terminals, internet-connected devices, etc.  It is obvious that the HATS Forum has been contributed to the developments of industry through its activities to support ICT markets. As well as its continuous activities of seminars related to interoperability and exhibitions in CEATEC, that has become now the greatest exhibition in Asian region, since its establishment, through the activities to deal with optical access devices and Power Line Communication devices, participations to C&I (Conformance and Interoperability) events held by the conjunction of APT (Asia-Pacific Telecoummunity) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union), HATS has extended its framework of the activities and gathered expectations from countries in Asia-Pacific region as well as the internal in Japan. 

  Recently IoT (Internet of Things) supported by new technologies such as big data and cloud computing has been close-up as the infrastructure of information and telecommunication services, and then the ICT council, the advisory body of MIC (Ministry of Internal affairs and Communications) has launched the discussion for its effective usage. Therefore it is no doubt to be international issues to assure interconnectivity and interoperability of IoT devices and gateways, and the role of HATS as a platform of testing interoperability based on International Standards and Recommendations will be expanded more and more.  MIC respects such activities based on private enterprises like HATS Forum and expects the further success of HATS activities.

Note:It's being corrected about transcription in the text with the thing "HATS promotion meeting" changed to "HATS forum" on May 1, 2019.

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