A new consortium has been formed to try to promote the establishment of a standard for exchanging real-time graphics images within teleconferencing products and services. The group – called the Consortium for Audiographics Teleconferencing Standards Inc – starts life with 16 members and was announced at the TeleCon XIII Conference in San Jose, California late last month. It is to be non-profit-making, and includes Northern Telecom Ltd, PictureTel Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, WorldLinx Telecommunications Inc and Xerox Group Communications. The president is to be Edward Burfine, who is vice-president of international sales at Polycom Inc, another of the group’s members. The group feels that standards for sharing graphics have lagged behind those for the real-time video and audio, and that this has inhibited the growth of teleconferencing. It is throwing its weight behind the emerging T.120 specification currently being developed by the International Telecommunications Union-Telecommunications Standardising Sector, which is aiming for a fully-defined specification by the end of the year. T.120 is intended to complement the existing H.320 standard for transferring graphics, by adding features including higher resolution, pointing and annotation capabilities, and more flexibile conference control. With the first meeting scheduled for January of next year, the group says that membership is open to all interested parties; voting membership is to cost $8,000, non-voting membership $5,000, and non-profit making organisations and educational institutions will have a special membership rate of $1,000. The Consortium for Audiographics Teleconferencing Standards is being managed by Interprise Ventures Inc, which has headquarters in San Ramon, California.