Bellevue, Wash. ” Sensing a new opportunity for wireless in machine to machine designs, T-Mobile USA, Inc. has developed what it says is a first-of-its-kind embedded SIM (subscriber identity module). One of the first customers for the wireless M2M device is control networking provider Echelon.
No larger than the size of a head of a pin, the embedded SIM is designed to withstand challenging environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and motion to deliver reliable wireless connectivity, ideal for vehicle telematics and smart grid infrastructure solutions where environmental factors may reduce reliability and increase maintenance costs of removable SIM-based solutions.
The embedded SIM preserves many of the benefits of a GSM-based SIM solution (authentication, encryption and storage), but at a fraction the size of the traditional SIM found in a mobile phone.
In addition to the much smaller size, the embedded SIM differs from current SIMs in that it's fabricated as an integrated circuit rather than as a larger plastic module with discrete elements.
It is designed to be hard-mounted onto M2M modules, accelerating deployment by allowing customers to go directly from the factory to the field without having to provision and manually insert a SIM card.
Among the first to implement the embedded SIM into its M2M systems is Echelon Corp. The companies have formed an alliance to accelerate the adoption of the smart grid in the North American market by reducing the cost of communicating smart meters using Echelon's Networked Energy Services (NES) system over T-Mobile's GSM cellular service.
“M2M services are experiencing impressive growth, and we've predicted that the US enterprise M2M cellular service market will reach nearly 20 million connections by 2012,” said Steve Hilton, vice president of Yankee Group's Anywhere Enterprise research group.