Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Echelon to use a first-of-its-kind embedded T-Mobile SIM

T-Mobile USA, Inc. has developed what it describes as a first-of-its-kind embedded subscriber identity module (SIM).

The SIM is designed to withstand challenging environmental factors like temperature, humidity and motion to deliver reliable wireless connectivity, ideal for vehicle telematics and smart grid infrastructure solutions.

T-Mobile USA said the embedded SIM, slightly larger than the head of a pin, will be built of silicon rather than plastic, making it very durable, since too much heat, vibration, or humidity can damage traditional SIM cards.

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 metres using Echelon's Networked Energy Services (NES) system over T-Mobile's GSM cellular service.

As part of the agreement, Echelon will utilise a first-of-its-kind embedded T-Mobile SIM within a cellular radio module to enable all the Echelon smart metres on a given low voltage transformer to communicate back to the utility over the smart grid.

Echelon, which has shipped more than 100,000 of its smart metres to U.S. utility owner Duke Energy and more than 1.6 million worldwide, said the partnership with T-Mobile would provide a cost-effective communications tool for the metres. Its metres reportedly cost about $100 apiece excluding installation.

The partnership’s wireless technology will be deployed on low-voltage transformers, which typically provide electricity connections to between four and 10 homes or businesses. Data provided from the transformers to a central collection point at the utility will allow the power provider to easily pinpoint problems in the network and reduce cost and duration of power outages.

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