Demand is growing for solutions involving machine-to-machine communications, often referred to as M2M. As one of the world's leading suppliers of SIM cards, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has already established a superb position in the market with its specialist SIM solutions. With an eye to taking the next strategic step in this business sector, G&D has now embarked on a collaboration with two of the key manufacturers of M2M modules: SIMCOM and u-blox. These companies have incorporated special SIMs – developed by G&D for the M2M market – as an integral part of several of their products.
“We see tremendous potential for growth in the M2M market. G&D is working closely with a number of module manufacturers and network operators to help achieve breakthroughs for M2M technology in as many fields of application as possible,” explains Dr. Klaus Vedder, Head of the Telecommunications division at G&D.
One example is the Swiss module manufacturer u-blox, which has integrated G&D's VQFN8 SIM with activated phone number in its ready-to-use u-blox C16 GSM/GPS reference design for telematics applications.
The Shanghai-based company SIMCOM has so far integrated G&D SIM cards in two of its modules, one example of which is the SIM5218, which can send and receive data via UMTS, HSPA and EDGE. It also incorporates a GPS receiver for telematics applications.
The modules that form the centerpiece of any M2M application have virtually the same architecture as that of modern cellular phones. But there is one essential difference: they are integrated in a variety of applications and work to ensure, for example, that readings are automatically transmitted to a back-end system. Some of these applications place high demands on the modules’ SIMs, which is one of the reasons G&D began developing SIM cards for the M2M market at such an early stage. Today, G&D's M2M portfolio features a broad range of highly durable and long-lasting SIM cards suitable for use in temperatures ranging from minus 40 to plus 105 degrees Celsius.
According to studies by analyst firms such as the market research company Harbor Research, the M2M market represents “one of the greatest growth opportunities in the history of the business world”, largely because the potential applications of M2M technology are so varied. They range from applications in vending machines – designed to report the machine's current inventory level to headquarters – through to gas, electric and water meters that automatically send consumption readings to utility companies. M2M communication also forms the basis of the emergency call function that is now gradually being incorporated in vehicle electronics.